It’s 8 March 2017, International Women’s Day. As my colleague David beautifully said: “It’s a day to remember that women are not treated equally to men across the world. It’s a reminder that women worldwide are exposed to shocking abuse from sexual violence and female genital mutilation, to forced early marriage and deprivation of their most basic rights. International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the actions we do every single day to change our present and future, to close the gender gap globally, to have a real egalitarian society, to end discrimination and any kind of violence against women.”
At Aflatoun International we look forward to the day we no longer need this reminder. That is why we focus on gender equality and diversity in our programmes. We also implement programmes specifically with the objective to economically empower girls. Together with Plan International and Credit Suisse’s Financial Education for Girls programme we improve the financial knowledge and life skills of approximately 100,000 girls in Brazil, China, India and Rwanda.
This programme improves the financial knowledge and life skills of approximately 100,000 girls.
As a first step, we carried out a literature review of girls’ economic empowerment programmes
that address financial education, to determine which intervention models are most effective. This is the first time (to our knowledge) that such a review has been undertaken. The key take-away is that – in order to be most effective – programmes targeting financial education for girls must include non-economic elements, such as life skills education, sexual and reproductive health education or other elements which are determined by the context. The most robust programmes were those that contained both social (i.e. life skills) and financial interventions.
The research confirmed clearly that programmes need to address the specific context (ecosystem) of the communities where the programme is being implemented. This review enabled us to come up with a global Theory of Change, and informed our own current research approach around contextual factors that impact on effective programme implementation. We have engaged hundreds of children, teachers, parents and other community members to find out how girls’ acquisition and application of financial and life skills can be enhanced by community buy-in, work on gender norms, career guidance and other interventions.