In 2018, world leaders committed to ensuring that all girls can access 12 years of quality education by 2030. The UK has been supporting girls to access education through the flagship Girls’ Education Challenge programme since 2012. The GEC aims to improve the learning opportunities and outcomes of 1.5 million girls across 15 countries.
Under the most recent window, Leave No Girl Behind, new projects are being implemented which focus on supporting the most marginalised girls who have never attended or dropped out of school due to poverty, motherhood, disability or conflict. In Nepal, Ian Attfield, the Regional Education Advisor for South Asia attended two Leave No Girl Behind launch events in Kathmandu and Janakpur and has shared his experience.
In Kathmandu, the launch aimed to build the legitimacy of the Leave No Girl Behind projects within the local governance context and other activity championing the cause of girls’ education. In line with the Leave No Girl Behind approach, the event focused on how to support the most marginalised girls to access education. In Nepal, girls can be excluded from education due to their caste, a disability or early marriage. The Girls' Voices: Sabita My Story was a powerful example of the barriers girls can face in Nepal when accessing education, but also a reminder of the empowering effects education can have not only on their own lives, but also their families and communities.
In Janakpur, the second launch event was far from Kathmandu valley on the hot plains bordering India, in one of Janakpur’s oldest schools for girls. The Leave No Girl Behind projects in this area are within a context of significant poverty, negative attitudes towards girls’ education and low human development. The support from the Chief Minister shone through at the event, as he launched the province’s initiative around girls’ rights and the transformational potential of girl’s education. Supported by local NGO partners, the event combined music, traditional ceremony, children’s art and drama to reinforce the message of LNGB.
The Chief Minister, Lalbabu Raut, reinforced the message of Leave No Girl Behind, stating "History tells us - countries that respect its women are more developed. A woman leader can & will do better than a man in the same role. This is the logic behind our girls' education campaign”.
Ian Attfield (email@example.com) South Asia Regional Education Adviser, Girls’ Education Challenge