Keeping Girls in School

Keeping Girls in School (and giving boys a better education too!)

Keeping young girls in school is one of the long-term strategies to reducing poverty in developing nations.  It has been said, “if you educate a boy, he will leave the village and find a job in the city, but if you educate the girl she will educate the village”.  Dropout rates for boys can be higher than 50% while rates for girls can exceed 75%!

Flush Toilets with Changing Rooms
For girls one of the biggest factors affecting attendance at school is when they reach puberty and do not have any privacy or a place where they can change their sanitary pads.

So many girls stay home during their periods losing about one week per month.  They end up dropping out of school as they fall further behind in their studies.  To change this, we build new toilet blocks with doors for privacy and include a changing room with sink to be able to clean up when they are having their periods.  Toilets are flush toilets to improve sanitation and remove the odors associated with pit latrines.  UNICEF estimates that the drop-out rate for girls will drop by over 26% with this simple addition.

A solar-powered water well is installed along with a water tower to provide water for the flush toilets and for hand washing stations.

Hand Washing and Sanitation
Many common diseases are transmitted by hand contact, yet most schools do not have any facility for washing of hands. We provide hand washing stations and training to improve sanitation and to reduce absence from school due to diarrhea and common disease. If children learn the value of hand washing it will be carried to the homes and improve sanitation throughout the village.

Menstrual Hygiene Training

Anthill provides training for the girls on menstrual hygiene and gives classes on making their own sanitary pads, since most families cannot afford to buy disposable pads.  Boys are included in this training so that they will be sensitive to the normal cycles that females have.  Classes are given to the teachers and parents about menstrual cycles to encourage them to keep the girls in school. The teacher training is to ensure a learning and supportive environment for girls and boys in school. The community dialogues on girls education is to get stakeholders aware of the benefits of girls education and involved in their children's education, share barriers for collective strategies to address them to avoid girls from dropping out of school.

Lack of Textbooks

P-4 14.5% 6.1% 5.8% 4.3%
P-5 19.6 10.1 13.1 9.3
P-6 24.2 19.9 10.9 22.0
P-7 25.9 30.5 24.5 29.1

Many children drop out of school because they are not having success in learning.  These are grades from four schools for grade levels P-4 through P-7 (in the USA grades 3 through 6)

Anthill provides government approved textbooks as well as supplementary textbooks. After providing supplementary Math textbooks to all students, to take home with them, in one school, test scores jumped by over 30% with several students getting 100% scores in Math. When we provide textbooks we provide training for the teachers to effectively use the textbooks in the classrooms.


Inadequate Facilities

If you compare the enrollment with the number of classrooms in most rural schools you find that the classrooms provided are supposed to hold about 70 students. This is not conducive to learning, nor is the lack of adequate desks. Anthill builds three-classroom blocks that relieve over-crowding and provide enough desks for all the students. Most schools lack a library, or computer room. With the electricity supplied by the solar powered water well, we can provide electricity for computers and even lights for the classrooms.

At one school where we provided the classrooms and textbooks the enrollment in the P-7 class went from 63 the year before, to 111 the year after the classrooms were occupied to 130 this year showing an increase in enrollment of both girls and boys.

Monitoring and Results

Before a project is entered into, one year of test scores are tabulated and three years of enrollment data is gathered.  After the project is completed, and turned over to the school the test scores and enrollment data are collected and compared to the pre-project data.  We look for three things:  declining dropout rate for both boys and girls; improving grades; and increasing enrollment.  These three areas measure our success.  If any of the areas falls short of expectations the Anthill Foundation staff meets with school officials to determine the reasons why and set about to correct deficiencies.

To fund a complete school project the costs will be approximately $65,000 to $185,000 depending on the school's needs.  Anthill Foundation has matching funds for your donations.