‘I used to be self-conscious and hesitant most of the time, but the communication skills that I have acquired from the EDGE club have given me the confidence to speak for myself’
Runa Akter – Peer Group Leader from Radhagonj, Bangladesh
2016 to present
Bangladesh, India, Nepal
British Council, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Voluntary Service Organisation, BRAC, Naandi Foundation, Digital Empowerment Foundation
To improve prospects for 13 to 19-year-old girls in marginalised communities in South Asia, through developing English confidence, proficiency and digital literacy and social skills.
In South Asia gender inequality is starkly evident through the high numbers of out-of-school girls and high prevalence of child marriage, especially in marginalised communities. Girls often have less access to information, education and technology compared to their male peers. The English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE) project addresses these challenges by enhancing participants’ English proficiency, digital skills and awareness of social issues. Through this, we are seen as the partner of choice in South Asia in skill development and women's empowerment.
EDGE programmes currently run in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. It works with local organisations either as funding or delivery partners that are key to the success of the project, such as the Voluntary Service Organisation (VSO) Nepal and Micro:bit Foundation in India and Bangladesh. Core project activities include providing adolescent girls with opportunities to develop their English proficiency, digital skills and awareness of social issues in peer-led after-school clubs. We are developing the capacity of Peer Group Leaders (PGLs) to facilitate English and digital training in these clubs. We are also helping to build trust within the communities to change the perception of the value of girls through community engagement events.
As a result of these activities adolescent girls will be better able to make more informed and independent life choices to better contribute socially and economically. EDGE has reached over 16,000 girls who have attended EDGE clubs. 1,200 PGLs have been trained; 17,000 parents, community leaders and employers have attended ICT fairs and 330 hours of materials have been developed to provide access to English and digital skills as well as raise awareness of social issues.
Data from EDGE club participants show that after completing two thirds of the entire programme they demonstrate significant improvement in English language speaking ability; progression from no computer knowledge to being able to perform basic tasks on computers, and using MS office and the internet for basic tasks. The peer group learning model has also given them improved levels of confidence and self-esteem, and more awareness of social issues that affect their communities.
EDGE contributes to our strategic priorities in South Asia, with a focus on improving educational and economic opportunities for young people. All in-country programmes work closely with local organisations to gain greater insight into community needs. In addition, EDGE has partnered with UK organisations who have showcased expertise in monitoring, evaluation, gender equality and research skills including Leeds University, Research Base and Macmillan publishers. By partnering with us, they have also gained new skills and expertise, reached new regions and gained insights into delivering high quality education programmes in remote and low resource environments.