A new year, a new decade, great new projects!
It’s a new year and a new decade and 60 million girls is looking to the future to find the best way to give children a better chance to learn, to move ahead and to thrive. We know that a quality education has huge benefits, from better earning potential to improved health, gender equality and confidence. Thanks to our volunteers and donors like you, we are doing everything we can to build on our experiences and create positive change in the world.
Every year, 60 million girls funds two or three projects with grants of $100,000 CAD each, partnering with Canadian organizations that know the local communities.
By the end of this year, we will have invested a total of $3.4 million in 20 countries over the last 14 years.
We are proud to tell you about three amazing projects we are supporting in 2020:
- Remedial education for adolescent girls in Liberia with CODE;
- Enhancing the quality of education through teacher training and local language resources for indigenous children in Nicaragua’s Bosawás region with Change for Children;
- Supporting “edupreneurs” (entrepreneurs who work in the education sector) to increase the quality of education in 10 schools with our newest partner, CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) in Ghana.
All three projects address the particular needs of children in remote areas, and all will deploy our innovative Mobile Learning Lab (MLL). This tool allows children, teachers and communities to access high quality learning materials without the Internet.
Experience and leadership
The success of our MLL shows how 60 million girls is becoming a leader in self-directed e-learning for children in isolated, rural communities. The knowledge we have gained through multiple rollouts of this educational technology has helped to perfect the model.
To date, our partners have implemented the MLL in many contexts, from refugee camps to remote indigenous communities. We’ve used the MLL in primary and secondary schools, as well as community centres, for both academic study and to give girls access to issues like sexual and reproductive health. Further, our partners have implemented the MLL as both an after-school program and to supplement in-class teaching. The MLL offers academic content in a fun and interactive way and engages children of all ages.
Given the fact that content can be curated to meet specific needs, communities can also use the MLL to upgrade their knowledge on other issues of interest, such as agriculture and health.
An additional benefit of setting up an MLL with solar panels in communities with limited or no electricity is that, when not charging the tablets, the community can use the excess electricity from the solar panels to create a small business, for example, by charging cell phones for a small fee.
By the end of this year, 83 MLLs will have been implemented in more than 20 countries around the world. This includes 50 that we have funded, and 33 funded by other NGOs. All are based on the model we have developed over the past 5 years.
Partnerships are the key to our success
In November 2019, we held our second Showcase to bring together many of our Canadian partners. This event gave us an opportunity to share what we have learned about MLL implementation. We traded stories and experiences to address common successes, setbacks and solutions.
Going forward, we plan to collect evaluation reports and follow-ups to create a central repository of information on the use of e-learning in remote communities so that the information can be shared internationally.
Thanks to your generous funding, our team is able to find the best projects, work with engaged partners to develop new approaches, and reach out to an international network to share what we’ve learned. Together, we are stronger and, together, we can make a difference.
Looking back to Sierra Leone
Even after a project concludes, 60 million girls keeps an eye on how communities around the world are using our Mobile Learning Lab (MLL). This helps us work with our partners to ensure that communities continue to benefit from the technology. It’s important for us to know that our investments, and your gifts, continue to fulfil a need. That’s why we were so pleased to hear, from our partner, CAUSE Canada, about the deepening community engagement in rural Sierra Leone, where we first implemented the MLL in a 2016/17 pilot project.
At the time, our Evaluation Report on the self-directed learning, after-school program showed that children experienced impressive improvements in both reading and math, along with gains in non-cognitive skills, like intrinsic motivation and self-confidence.
Since then, CAUSE has continued to engage with the communities. It recently presented a demonstration of the MLL to parents, and worked with all stakeholders to find a way to compensate local coordinators. Three of the original villages continue to use the MLL and, when two new communities expressed an interest in the technology, CAUSE moved the MLL to these locations to ensure that it was set up in communities that wanted it.
As a result, 940 individuals (mainly students, but also parents, teachers and mothers’ clubs) continue to actively benefit from the resources available on the MLL.