Girls’ Education


Educate a girl and she will change the world. By giving her choice over her own future, she can break the cycle of poverty, empowering future generations and transforming entire communities.


In April 2023, UWS and the FCDO (as part of the UK Aid Match Initiative) joined forces to embark on a three-year programme to improve access to gender-responsive education across 211 communities in Nepal and Cambodia.

There are many points in a girl’s education journey, where she may feel school isn’t an option. Our programme provides support at these pivotal moments – from helping girls start primary school, to running evening classes to help adolescent girls to catch up on learning and drop-out interventions to support the transition into secondary education. UWS is working with key stakeholders in seven Cambodian provinces and three Nepal districts to improve gender responsive approaches, gender inclusive teaching practices and school environments.

Education empowers girls to break gender barriers, earn more and marry later. This has a positive ripple effect on communities, future generations and even the environment.


Almost half of countries around the world have still not reached gender parity in the classroom. Improving access to gender-responsive education starts with meeting girls’ hygiene, sanitation and safety needs, but it also includes working with schools and authorities to influence changes to the education system. For example, as part of the programme, we’re training 68 Education Officers to deliver training to over 1,200 teachers in student-centred and gender-inclusive teaching methods.

By facilitating meetings between local authorities and community representatives we’re amplifying community voices and raising awareness of harmful gender norms.

Removing limits on girls’ ambitions and dreams

When families can only send one child to school, often it’s a son who is chosen. And even when they’re able to get to school, girls are being held back in the classroom by damaging gender stereotypes. As part of the programme, we’re running community workshops to support girls and families to challenge gender norms. By establishing mothers’ groups and girls’ clubs, we create spaces for women and girls to talk about the challenges they face and discuss solutions in a welcoming and safe environment. The topics covered in these sessions range from leadership development to menstrual hygiene.

By supporting girls to learn that menstruation doesn’t have to be a barrier to education, their attendance at school increases by one week every month.

Helping more girls stay in school for longer

Girls are at higher risk of dropping out by the time they reach their teens than their male peers. This is largely due to child marriage and the social stigma surrounding menstruation. In Cambodia, 55% of all children will drop out of school before they turn 17 – a figure which is much higher in rural communities where almost half of all women are illiterate, compared to 14% of men. This is why UWS drop-out interventions are a critical element of our girls’ education programme.

Give more girls the power to lead change

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