Adolescence is a time of exploring and harnessing potential, to build a foundation that influences the course of one’s life. Education plays a significant role in the development of adolescents. However in many parts of Pakistan, there is limited investment in the education of girls, with a large number of school going girls dropping out of school after primary or middle education. Early age marriage is a contributing factor in this situation. In Pakistan, many of the girls are married by the age of 19. According to Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (PHDS), one out of six girls aged 15-19 is already married (2006-7). Another cause of limited investment in girls’ education and early marriages is economic dependency of girls.
Adolescent girls do not have the necessary information, knowledge and skills about their reproductive health and rights. They also have limited or no knowledge of livelihood skills that can help them. ‘Aagahi se Agay’ aims to change that by providing adolescent girls with: Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) that teaches girls about personal and social development, preventing health problems, and promoting human rights and equity in gender relations; and Economic Empowerment Modules that helps adolescent girls learn some basic livelihood skills in order to contribute to their family income and also aims to protect those adolescent girls who are at risk of early marriages by limiting dependence on their life partners.
Project at a glance:
- “Aagahi se Agay” is initiated by Rutgers WPF with the support from David and Lucile Packard Foundation in 2009.
- The project aims to develop leadership skills of adolescent girls by providing them Life Skills Based Education comprising of Life Skills, Social Empowerment, Reproductive Health information and Economic Empowerment in addition to regular curriculum.
- The project intends to reach out to 19000 girls students (age 13-17 years) of public and private schools of Districts Gujranwala (Punjab) and Sanghar (Sindh).
- In both districts the project has prepared a pool of 220 trained female teachers by capacitating them on life skills, and economic empowerment modules.
- As future leaders and change agents girls’ students will be spreading the message across within their communities and peers:
- Each girl student is striving to educate minimum 5-7 out of school girls in her community about girls basic health rights and her right to education
- Forming a support group of parents that spreads awareness about girls’ right to education and health, economic independence, and leadership skills
Aagahi se Agay aims to:
- Develop adolescent girls’ life skills to deal with their peers, families, and communities;
- Empower adolescent girls and develop their confidence, leadership and livelihood skills for social and economic independence; and
- Establish networks of support in schools and communities to advocate for improvements in reproductive health indicators and youth, health and education policies
- Increase in number of girls completing their secondary education
- Increase in young girls’ age at marriage and first child
- 80 schools are onboard with an enrollment of 19000 adolescent girl students who are benefiting from life skills and economic empowerment education
- New curriculum on life skills and economic empowerment education has been developed and is currently being taught in schools
- A pool of 220 female educators have been trained on life skills and economic empowerment education
- Adolescent Girls Empowerment Toolkit for peer education and parents’ involvement in girls education was developed and is being currently used by girl students to reach to out of school girls and parents
- 250 girl students have attended advance training on leadership skills through Adolescent Girls Leadership Summit.