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A Village Approach towards Girls Education

place India + 1 more

If it takes a village to raise a child, let’s build one for our girls via hybrid approach

Even with a budget of $27B, India will take 300+ years for gender inequality given its 102m child brides even today with high school dropouts and low learning outcomes. SwaTaleem uses in-person approach and low cost innovative tech to build a thriving ecosystem of girls and their decision makers. High learning outcomes and engaged stakeholders can bring 53m girls out of poverty and early marriage.

HundrED 2024


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED Global Collection 2024

Web presence






Target group
Students upper
April 2023
Girls in school means increasing her school years, decreasing early marriage rates, and building skills to enter the workforce adding $550B to India’s economy. In the long term, we want to create systems that don’t let a girl drop out; empowered communities that function as a collective ecosystem to support girls’ growth. When women see strong role models, they become and raise powerful women.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

India has 53m underprivileged girls (12-18y) living in a 3000y old oppressive patriarchy. Most are first generation learners from lowest castes, religious minorities, low socioeconomic backgrounds, rural and tribal areas. COVID-19 has further led to learning loss, 20m school dropouts and 13m child marriages. We empower girls with a lifespan approach through life skills and long-term support.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

SwaTaleem works with girls, teachers, local women, girl’s parents and government officials through a village approach. We work with a nationwide network of schools with a focus on life skills and English; and we take a lifespan approach towards girl empowerment by creating pipelines and an ecosystem of long-term support. As part of our hybrid model, we build capacities of teachers and local community women to work with girls by creating school clusters. This is coupled with low-tech IVRS technology to engage with girls and parents via a participatory process with teachers co-creating content. We create contextualized in-person and tech-based curricula on life skills and English and added themes of digital & financial literacy, climate change and health. Working with 40,000 stakeholders, our work enhanced English, self-esteem and sense of belonging levels in girls, growth mindset in teachers, increased parent engagement, and decreased child marriage talks.

How has it been spreading?

Since we work closely with the Governments, our advocacy efforts focus on institutionalization of village approach into policy. Our activities have been incorporated in the State annual budget for girls education. SwaTaleem was invited to the United Nations General Assembly, covered by the United National Girls Education Initiative - UNGEI, and was 1 of the 3 organizations from India to be selected by Google for their Women and Girls impact challenge. Our evidence-based contextual work has been presented in several international conferences and we are part of grassroots collectives like the rural collective of India and the Mindfulness Collective. In the next two years we aim to impact 2m stakeholders to further girls education and become pan-India in the next 6 years.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

We do extensive documentation that detail our step by step approach, impact and learnings. We create free to use resources listed on our website and shared on social media, annual reports, newsletters, youtube channels and research papers. We present at 3 conferences every year where we speak to hundreds of people. Other ways are to write to us : we respond in 24 hours to all emails.

Impact & scalability

HundrED Academy Reviews

The impact seems to be have a lot of other benefits to anyone in the ecosystem. Boosting self esteem and having better decision making skills is a necessity to anyone in today's world and a project that aids in such is a significant impact.

Highly scalable given that it has in person engagement along with the Interactive Voice Response System for reinforcement. The idea will also spread across countries and since a research partnership is already established with Illinois, others will follow suite.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

Implementation steps

The Village Approach
We provide access to quality education to girls belonging to marginalized communities with female literacy as low as 32%, by working with local village women, teachers, school leadership, parents and government through what we call ‘The Village Approach’.
The village approach uses in-person and hybrid low cost innovative tech based approaches to create an aware and engaged ecosystem of key decision makers, in addition to improving outcomes for girls at the center. But how does it work?
Teachers and Girls
In person teacher capacity building workshops take place in the beginning of the academic year by our team. We focus on English as a second language and socio-emotional or life skills in the Girls. Additionally, we invest in teacher’s ability to become effective leaders, problem solvers and have improved classroom management techniques.
The teachers go back to their schools and conduct the sessions with the girls and come back the next month to share their learnings and get further training.
Local Village Women
The monthly workshops are supplemented with regular reflection sessions for the teachers at school level by our team members.
SwaTaleem recruits local village women as leaders to assist in school level planning and implementation of the programs. Over a period of time, we also realized that they act as role models for the girls when they see their village women coming to the school and working.
Girls’ after school engagement
In addition to this, we work with the girls both in residential and home spaces through the Interactive Voice Response System or IVRS to continue with program related engagement and ideas.
IVRS is an automated telephony system technology that interacts with callers using pre-recorded audio which assists, directs, or route calls automatically without a live operator. In this context, it can be used efficiently to disseminate content to the girls where they can communicate by using a basic phone.
Parents and Families
In our model, after the girls short messages or nudges are then sent to parents and wardens so they can engage with the girls during the after-school hours.
All stakeholders including Government
Every month, a layer of stakeholders (teachers, parents, government officials, wardens) are provided with summarized progress reports of the engagement and feedback is collected.
Link 1 : List of communication materials
Link 1 : List of communication materials

Spread of the innovation

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