Evaluating Girls’ Education During Conflict

Currently there are 3.7. million children out of school in Afghanistan, 60% of whom are female. Girls continue to be among the most marginalized and vulnerable across the country, and are often the last in their household to be provided with livelihood and education opportunities. As a result of the protracted conflict, rigid and conservative socio-cultural norms, and limited education facilities, girls continue to be denied education opportunities. 

As part of DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge, programs such as STAGES have been introduced to provide remote and marginalized girls with access to community-based education (CBE) opportunities. STAGES currently provides community-based schools for over 10,000 girls from grade 1 to grade 10 across the country. Furthermore, the project has provided employment and training opportunities to teachers, in an environment where teaching opportunities are scarce. 

Sayara has been working with the STAGES program since 2014, conducting monitoring and verification activities of CBE classes, in addition to implementing the baseline and midline evaluations for STAGES Phase 2 in 2017 and 2018. The baseline and midline evaluations were complex, multi-stage, mixed-method longitudinal studies, following a random cohort of girls throughout their journey in the STAGES program. The evaluation included a series of household surveys, assessment of girls’ life skills and leadership skills, learning tests (EGRA / EGMA), school observation studies, and teacher classroom participatory observations. The evaluation interviewed over 2,400 girls, their male and female caregivers, and influential community leaders and teachers from targeted sites. 

Sayara’s findings contributed to a body of evidence on girls’ education internationally through the Girls’ Education Challenge and DFID. In addition, results provided STAGES implementing partners with a key set of recommendations to adjust their safeguarding approaches, areas of particular focus to improve learning outcomes, and an overall body of evidence on barriers inhibiting girls’ access to education.