ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.


Education is a right. It’s the key to a better childhood, and a better future for children, their communities and their countries.

It is the responsibility of the state and a core element of any development policy committed to social justice. Yet for many children worldwide, the right to education remains unfulfilled.

While the global number of out-of-school children declined over the past 15 years (falling from 105 million in 1990), recent statistics show that progress has slowed down since 2005. As of 2012, as much as 61 million children are out of school. 

In addition, cultural  and social beliefs, attitudes, and practices prevent girls from benefitting from educational opportunities to the same extent as boys. In fact, for every 100 boys of out school, there are still 117 girls in the same situation. 


ActionAid's work on education

Over the past 40 years, ActionAid has been working to increase access to quality primary education globally. Our approach has evolved from delivering education services to adopting a rights based approach. Beyond a mere focus on access to education, ActionAid believes in improving the quality of education while amplifying children and young people's voices.

Our three focus areas are:

  1. Promoting rights in schools by supporting active mobilisation enabling citizens to hold the State accountable for providing quality education in a concrete and sustainable manner 
  2. Securing adequate resources for education by equipping citizens with the tools to demand and monitor a just, equitable and effective allocation of resources 
  3. Empowering women and girls through literacy using our Reflect approach to social change

Key to achieving these goals is challenging and transforming the socio-economic and political factors keeping girls out of school, including violence, HIV and AIDS and poverty. 

We work alongside children, parents, teachers, communities, teachers unions, researchers and education coalitions to undertake evidenced-based advocacy and campaigning, to inform innovative community-based interventions and research efforts.  We connect to regional education networks – CLADE, ASPBAE and ANCEFA and the Global Campaign for Education as a founding and current board member.

How we work on Education
  • In 2010, ActionAid, in partnership with the Right-to-Education Project embarked on developing a list of core rights-based indicators on quality education.

  • Investment in a good quality, free and universal public school system can dramatically reduce inequality, and catalyse sustainable and equitable growth. Our work on financing focuses on advocating for a greater share of funds to be spent on education in ways that benefit girls and marginalised children.

  • One of the focuses of ActionAid's current education work is the empowerment of women through literacy.

  • Girls are often discriminated against within school, as well as within the community from teachers, parents and peers.

  • Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria and Tanzania (TEGINT), funded by Comic Relief and the Tubney Charitable Trust, seeks to achieve a transformation in the education of girls in northern Tanzania and northern Nigeria by addressing underlying gender inequalities both in school and in the community.

    Glory Nicodemus, School teacher, UBE Primary School Kabiji, Nigeria
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