Building on the ‘English and IT for Adolescents’ (EITA) project which began in partnership with BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities) in Bangladesh in 2012, the project has since evolved to ‘English and Digital for Girls’ Education’ (EDGE), and is currently also operating in India and Nepal. Working with partners, EDGE focuses on improving life prospects and building English, ICT and social skills among adolescent girls between 14 – 19 in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Through EDGE, we specifically work with girls who are either currently out-of-school or living in socio-economically marginalised communities to support adolescent girls from marginalised communities to make more informed and independent life choices in order to contribute more fully to the family, the economy and society.
Using bespoke materials, EDGE trains peer group leaders to facilitate after-school clubs for girls within their communities. In these clubs, girls are able to discuss social issues, enhance their English proficiency and learn digital and other skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. In contexts where learners speak only when called on to do so, peer-led clubs ensure voluntary participation and freedom of expression while enabling members to undertake learning at their own pace in an autonomous environment. A peer-led approach means that participants are able to share and learn from each other while also building the leadership skills of a cadre of peer leaders. There is also engagement at community level with parents, community leaders and members and religious leaders. ICT fairs give EDGE girls the opportunity to demonstrate their learning, often to crowds of more than 1,000 people.
Before EDGE I couldn’t even communicate in English but I can now give speeches in English in front of a lot of people.
- Over 14,000 girls have benefitted through EDGE and an impact study shows girls are able to use their personal agency to impact their lives, with examples of girls being able to return to school, delay an early marriage or seek paid employment whilst staying in school as a result of the new skills they have gained.
- 1,200 peer leaders trained in three countries have delivered 531 clubs within their communities to 12,990 marginalised girls around Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
- 17,000 parents, community leaders and employers have attended ICT fairs in the communities in Bangladesh and Nepal.
- 210 hours of materials have been developed which provide access to English and digital skills as well as raising awareness of social issues.
- A recent celebration of EDGE in Bangladesh aligned to International Women’s Day saw engagement with over 38,000 people on Facebook, 33,700 through a syndicated Facebook and Twitter campaign with the British High Commission and coverage in 12 print and two online newspapers.