Making “The Girl Effect” Real: Evaluating Strategies to Help Girls Complete Primary School and Continue onto Secondary School, A Case Study of the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) program in the Nyanza Province of Southwestern Kenya

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2013-04-24

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Abstract

Increasing girls’ education in low-­‐income communities is proven to be one of the most effective ways to alleviate global poverty, yet millions of girls around the world still struggle to complete a basic primary school education. Through evaluation of the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER), an NGO that works in the rural village of Muhuru Bay in southwestern Kenya, this study sheds light on best strategies and methods to help girls complete primary school and continue onto secondary school. Secondary school scholarships are shown to be especially useful in decreasing the high costs associated with girls’ education, decreasing negative cultural attitudes, and encouraging girls from poor households to pursue academic studies. Yet, despite these gains, many girls still lack full parental support and are often unable to pay primary school fees. Pay-­‐for-­‐performance teaching incentives and free exam preparation lessons are also notable successes of the WISER program. The main conclusion of the study, however, is that any girls’ education initiative should be holistic in its approach and should take into account all the broader challenges facing girls. These include issues such as menstruation, sexual violence, hunger, and classroom discrimination. A number of recommendations are provided at the end of the study for how the WISER program could expound upon its success, with the hope that these insights will also be valuable to local leaders, development practitioners, and policymakers interested in using education as a tool to uplift girls in communities similar to Muhuru Bay.

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Gupta, Sadhna (2013). Making “The Girl Effect” Real: Evaluating Strategies to Help Girls Complete Primary School and Continue onto Secondary School, A Case Study of the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) program in the Nyanza Province of Southwestern Kenya. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6780.


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