Around the world, 62 million girls are not in school. Millions more are fighting to stay there. Pakistan has the world’s second largest out-of-school population. According to Government statistics, there are over 6 million children out of primary school in Pakistan, of whom 55% are girls. An additional 2.7 million are out of lower secondary school (59% girls). Older children and youth are the most likely to be out-of-school. The percentage of out-of-school children jumps from 18% for children aged 10 years old to 51% by the age of 15. One in ten girls who are out of school lives in Pakistan.
In March 2015, the President and First Lady launched Let Girls Learn, a global initiative bringing together the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Peace Corps, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as other agencies and programs, to address the range of challenges preventing adolescent girls from attending and completing school and from realizing their potential as adults. The Let Girls Learn global approach centers on three pillars: increasing access to quality education; reducing barriers to success and empowering adolescent girls.
Empowering girls and ensuring them access to quality education has long-term, transformational benefits for their future, for their families and communities, and for Pakistan’s economic prosperity overall. Now more than ever it’s time to Let Girls Learn.
A clear pathway to success is important to convince adolescent girls and their families that education is important for their future. USAID/Pakistan seeks to create a pathway to success for girls through targeted support for adolescent girls aged 13-19 that face financial hardships yet still show academic promise. A key component of the Pathways to Success program will work with vocational training institutions and the communities to build a conducive environment for girls and young women, provide skills training and stipends, and engage the private sector to increase options for employment and entrepreneurship.
Pathways to Success will work with schools and communities to promote work readiness. It will support 4,000 to 4,500 adolescent girls through stipends, scholarships of up to nine months in vocational training institutes and internships at local businesses. This project considers factors using an inclusive design i.e. the one which considers all aspects and stakeholder needs of a program
Pathways to Success aims to expand girls’ work experience beyond the traditional careers for young women in Pakistan, and to provide comprehensive training and assistance to these girls to find worthwhile jobs or start their own small enterprises (individually or in groups). Supportive programs in areas such as life skills (including girls’ rights and civic responsibility), information technology, counselling, mentoring, and other supplementary support will also be provided. Private sector firms will be engaged at the start of the program to help identify skills and training opportunities for the participants including, where possible, company training programs. By engaging communities and the private sector, this program will support a transition to work for girls by providing appropriate work conditions and a supportive atmosphere for recent graduates of vocational institutes.
This full complement of training programs will ensure that participants emerge from the Pathways to Success program with skillsets that make them employable, build their career potential, and diminish negative local attitudes about the role of women in society and in the workplace.
The project will also work with communities and girls in high schools to broaden their appreciation of the world of work and increase their related life skills.
Selection will be based upon merit as judged by school records, test results and as well as financial need as determined by a proven method used in other USAID scholarship programs. The method involves scoping the most financially deserving families and individuals. Once the data is in, a committee selects these potential beneficiaries using pre-qualifiers such as occupation, education, number of income earners per household etc.
Shortlisted candidates for the implementation of training projects for adolescent girls: Let Girls Learn Program have been informed.