Education

Education – especially that of girls and women – saves lives, reduces inequality and transforms communities. 

There is no dispute about the benefits of education; a child born to a literate mother is 50 per cent less likely to die before the age of five. Every extra year of education is estimated to increase a girl’s earning power by 10 to 20 per cent. Girls who have completed seven years of education will marry on average five years later than uneducated girls.

Education transforms societies. It challenges inequality and discrimination. And education is often the most effective means of reducing inequality. But more than 150 million children in the world have to work to help their families instead of going to school. And for hundreds of millions of other children, access to education is hopelessly inadequate.

ActionAid believes a good quality, publicly-funded education should be available to all children. We work in over 5,000 communities across the world to help girls and boys get the education they need. By empowering local communities and supporting organisations at all levels, we are working to remove barriers and aim to help all children realise the full potential of education.

For example, our Right to Education project in Nepal has brought together community leaders, teachers, parents and children, to press for higher standards in schools. This has led to the production of school improvement plans that are both understood and widely supported in the community.

In Nigeria, where more girls are denied an education than anywhere else through risk of violence or child marriage, our projects are setting up girls’ clubs and school committees so that girls can demand their right to a quality public education, free from abuse. 

Our education work focuses on four key areas:

Promoting rights in schools
ActionAid supports parents, children, teachers, unions, communities and local organisations to monitor and improve the quality of public education, including delivering the ACRE project (action for children’s rights in education) in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Ghana.

Financing education
In many poor countries, education is chronically underfunded. ActionAid campaigns for a greater share of funds to be spent on education in ways that benefit girls and marginalised children.

Girl’s education and violence
In many societies, girls suffer discrimination at school, through violence and prejudice. ActionAid’s ground-breaking projects in Kenya, Ghana and Mozambique are helping over 10,000 girls stay in school.

Empowerment through literacy
At least five million women have learned to read and write – and many more millions of lives have been changed – through Reflect, our internationally renowned approach to adult learning.         

How we work on Education
  • ActionAid supports parents, children, teachers, unions, communities and local organisations to monitor and improve the quality of public education.

  • In many poor countries, education is chronically underfunded. In all the communities where ActionAid works, we aim to help create a more equal society by breaking down the barriers to good quality, government-funded education for all children. 

  • In many societies, girls suffer discrimination at school through violence and prejudice, which results in lower enrolment rates and under-achievement. This in turn helps to perpetuate gender discrimination, contributing to a continuing cycle of early pregnancy, early marriage and poor health. 

  • Education can transform a society and contribute to social, economic and political equality. One of the focuses of ActionAid's current education work is the empowerment of women through literacy.

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