Skip to main content

Full text of "ERIC ED472103: Multisectoral Approaches in Advancing Girls' Education: Lessons Learned in Five SAGE Countries. SAGE Technical Report."

See other formats


SO 034 387 

Rugh, Andrea 

Multisectoral Approaches in Advancing Girls* Education: 
Lessons Learned in Five SAGE Countries. SAGE Technical 
Report . 

Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC. 

Agency for International Development (IDCA), Washington, DC.. 



51p.; For SAGE Technical Report #3, see ED 460 210. 

FAO-Q-07- 96- 90 006-00 

Academy for Educational Development, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, 
NW, Washington, DC 20009-5721. Tel: 202-884-8000; Fax: 202- 
884-8400; e-mail:; Web site: 
Reports - Descriptive (141) 

EDRS Price MF01/PC03 Plus Postage. 

^Developing Nations; ^Educational Benefits; ^Educational 
Practices; ^Females; Foreign Countries 

Congo; El Salvador; Ghana; Guinea; International Development 
Education Program; Mali 

Strategies for Advancing Girls* Education (SAGE) is a project 
of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic 
Growth, Agriculture and Trade/Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID) . Five 
countries participated in SAGE: Guinea, Mali, Ghana, El Salvador; and the 
Democratic Republic of the Congo. The project started in March 1999 and ended 
in July 2002. During that time SAGE mobilized local partners and provided 
them with capacity-building technical services to support girls* education. 
They also convened a national and international conference and conducted 
research studies to document the contributions of nontraditional partners in 
supporting girls* education. This report summarizes the experiences and 
lessons learned in using this multisectoral approach. The report describes 
the multisectoral model as it was originally envisioned by U.S. Agency for 
International Development (USAID) and how it evolved into the implementation 
strategy used by SAGE in project countries. The country cases illustrate the 
approach that can be implemented in terms of differing local rationales, 
partners, activities, results, and efforts to promote sustainability. The 
report states that the cases suggest specific lessons about implementation 
and present general conclusions about multisectoral strategies as tools in 
improving the conditions for girls education. It gives guidance and advice 
for making the best use of multisectoral approaches. (Contains 36 
references.) (BT) 

ED 472 103 








Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made 
from the original document. 

ED 472 103 

Multisectoral Approaches in Advancing 
Girls' Education: Lessons Learned in 
Five SAGE Countries. SAGE Technical 

Report No. 4. 

Andrea Rugh 

Academy for Educational Development, 

Washington, DC. 










Office of Educational Research and Improvement 


p This docufTtent has been reproduced as 
received from the person or organization 
originating it. 

□ Minor changes have been made to 
improve reproduction quality. 



• Points of view or opinions stated in this 
document do not necessarily represent 
official OERI position or policy. 

Multisectoral Approaches 
in Advancing Girls’ Education 

Lessons Learned in rive SAGE Countries 

Multisectoral Approaches in 
Promoting Giris’ Education 

Lessons Learned in Five SAGE Countries 
Andrea Rugh 

July 2002 



Produced by the Strategies for Advancing Girls’ Education project 
Academy for Educational Development 
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20009-5721 USA 

Funded under the EGAT/WID WlDTech Activity 
with Development Alternatives, Inc. 

USAID contract no. FAO-Q-07-96-90006-00 





IPorcAvord •••«««««««•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••*•••*•••••••••••••••••••••• 5 

Executive sununary 7 

la lUtlTOd-lXCtlOU a aa aa a a a a a a a a a aaa a a a a a a a a aa aa a a a a a a aa aa a aa a a a a aa a aa a a a a aa aa a a a a aa a a 11 

Background : 11 

Purpose of this report 11 

Report orpianization, audiences and cautions 11 

2 a The multisectoral model 13 

USAID^S£oals and expectations 13 

Evolution of the model 13 

3 a The SAGE project 15 

SAGE assumptions and principles 15 

SAGE project framework and organization 15 

SAGE activities 16 

4a Covmtry cases 17 

Guinea 17 

Mali 21 

Ghana 24 

El Salvador 27 

Conpo 29 

5a Lessons learned 33 

Introduction 33 

Contributions of various sectors topfirls^ education 33 

The mobilization of multiple sectors 37 

Conditions that increase the likelihood of success 38 

Activities that promote £jirW education 39 

Outline of a process for mobilizing sectors 40 

6 a Conclusions 43 

Multisectoral approaches are valid tools for solving complex problems .. 43 
Multisectoral approaches create long-term enabling environments 

at the same time that they produce immediate results 43 

Multisectoral approaches tend to be more effective when implemented 

in certain ways 44 

Guiding principles in implementing multisectoral approaches 46 

Final note 48 

References 49 



Approximately 25 years ago, a small group of people started working in the field of 
girls’ education. At that time, the majority of those working in international 
development efforts had not yet recognized the importance of assessing the equity 
and quality of education from a gender perspective. Fewer even recognized the 
validity of the “gender lens” and how it could help identify both constraints and 
solutions in educational development. 

Twenty-five years ago, some sought to discourage those of us who recognized the 
critical importance of reforming basic education systems fi*om that particular angle, 
the angle of girls’ education. They tried to convince us that girls’ education was 
simply a fad, that basic education was gender neutral, and differentiating between 
girls and boys was unnecessary. 

The good news is that, 25 years later, those who work in international development 
are now convinced that girls’ education is a must. Many believe it is probably the 
single most important investment in international development. It seems all 
development specialists became advocates for girls’ education and recognize its 
powerful impact on other areas of development. Policymakers, researchers, and 
practitioners frequently highlight the benefits of girls’ education. 

These benefits are well known today. They include improving family health and 
nutrition, enhancing reproductive health, increasing family income, improving the 
skills and knowledge of women farmers, enabling women to play a more significant 
role in their communities, increasing political participation, and democratizing 
decisionmaking processes at community and national levels. 

The good news is that credible visionaries and world leaders, such as UN Secretary 
General Kofi Annan, continuously highlight the role and powerful impact of girls’ 
education and describe it as an accelerator of progress and human development. 

What remains to be done is to make it totally apparent that education with a 
“gender lens” benefits girls and boys, and that educational programs without that 
lens will always produce inequitable results and hamper quality. Most importantly, 
what remains to be done is to continue deepening and refining our knowledge of 
the constraints and solutions to girls’ education within the specificity of each 
context. That balance between what we know through our past experiences, and 
what we need to learn while designing and implementing new girls’ education 
initiatives, is a key concept that is necessary to move forward. What is important is 
to keep adding to the strategies that are already known new strategies that will 
allow us to design and implement education programs that will increase the 
enrollment, retention, and achievement of girls within quality education systems. 

This document is about one of these innovative approaches, the multisectoral 
approach to education from a gender perspective, and the lessons learned by 
implementing this approach. 

Senior Vice President 

The Academy for Educational Development 



^ EGAT/WID was formerly the Bureau 
for Global Programs, Field Support and 
Research/Office of Women in 
Development (GAA/ID). 


Strategies for Advancing Girls’ Education (SAGE) is a project of the U.S. Agency 
for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Economic Growth, 
Agriculture and Trade/Office of Women in Development (EGAT/WID).^ The 
project’s aim has been to mobilize broad-based, multisectoral constituencies to 
improve the educational participation of girls. Five countries participated in SAGE: 
Guinea, Mali, Ghana, El Salvador, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The 
project started in March 1999 and ended in July 2002. During this time SAGE 
mobilized local partners and provided them with capacity- building techmcal 
services to support girls’ education. SAGE also convened national and international 
conferences and conducted research studies to inform and document the 
contributions of “nontraditional” partners in supporting girls’ education. This 
report summarizes the experiences and lessons learned in using this approach. 

Much of the evidence comes from project documents and a lessons-learned 
conference held in Elmina, Ghana in May 2002. 

The report describes the multisectoral model as it was originally envisioned by 
USAID and as it evolved into the implementation strategy used by SAGE in 
project countries. The country cases illustrate a variety of ways the approach can be 
implemented in terms of differing local rationales, partners, activities, results, and 
efforts to promote sustainability. The cases suggest specific lessons about 
implementation and present general conclusions about multisectoral strategies as 
tools in improving the conditions for girls’ education. Finally, the report suggests 
some guidance and advice for making the best use of multisectoral approaches. 

There were two main innovations in USAID’s original model: I) the call to involve 
nontraditional sectors (business, media, and religious) in addressing issues related 
to girls’ education, and 2) the commitment of funds primarily to mobilizing 
sectoral partners rather than implementing specific project activities. Under SAGE, 
the two traditional sectors (government and private- voluntary and 
nongovernmental organinzations [PVO/NGOs]) were included with the 
nontraditional partners to achieve more sustainable results. From the start, 
therefore, a significant lesson learned under SAGE was the importance of linking 
these five sectors to form a productive and enduring environment in which to 
address girls’ issues. 

SAGE has contributed insight into how multisectoral strategies can most effectively 
be used to serve girls’ education. Specifically, more is now known about how each 
sector can be approached, and about their potentialities and limitations in terms of 
supporting girls’ education. In mobilizing partners to address complex issues, 

SAGE has shown the importance of establishing groups that broadly represent 
national and local stakeholders, while at the same time creating smaller working 
groups that act effectively to execute their decisions. Partners are more likely to 
become engaged if they share the common vision of girls’ participation and feel 
their involvement promotes the declared interests of their group. Once engaged 
they need to be linked productively to others in order to coordinate activities and 
build on the special strengths each contributes. 

SAGE confirms that multisectoral approaches are more likely to positively affect 
girls’ education if certain conditions exist, including dynamic leadership at all levels, 
mutual respect of partners, shared responsibilities, local resolution of problems, 
solutions that fit local conditions and values, good communication, and flexible 
strategies that adapt to new understandings and opportunities. 

Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls^ education 

To prove effective as implementing agencies, multiple sectors and levels need to be 
linked horizontally and vertically to ensure coordination, coverage, and impact. 
SAGE demonstrated that entry into ongoing relationships could happen at almost 
any point (e.g., national, regional, or local) that was convenient in terms of 
mobilizing partners and maximizing results. Pitfalls to avoid were too much 
reliance on outsiders to solve problems, not involving the public sector sufficiently 
to sustain school level initiatives, duplication of effort that wastes resources, or 
gaps that flaw the reform. Positive influences on any part of the system have the 
potential to affect the whole, while remaining constraints can similarly act to 
reduce overall results. 

An important aim of a multisectoral approach is to create an environment where 
progress can be sustained. This is more likely to happen when norms encourage 
girls’ participation, activities are built on structures that continue to exist after the 
project terminates, and capacity- building investments are sustained by tools, 
training modules, and trained individuals that can continue to build needed skills. 
The tools are more likely to prove useful if they have been developed locally and are 
perceived as useful by those who created them. Institutionalized routines for 
meetings, reporting, monitoring, and reflecting also help sustain effective networks 
over time. 

During SAGE mobilization initiatives, local people identified activities they 
believed would promote girls’ education. While most of these activities are not new, 
they gain credibility because local people identified them and invested in them as 
ways of increasing, girls’ participation. They included: mobilizing community 
members and groups to solve problems, establishing new norms of participation 
with support from religious leaders and the media, encouraging active female role 
models through the involvement of women in community organizations and 
providing them leadership training, creating role model calendars, training in 
gender sensitivity, learning to develop and implement action plans, building 
classrooms and latrines, establishing mentoring groups and clubs, and providing 
relevant life skills content in school programs. New to most of the countries, on 
the other hand, was fundraising to support girls’ education and exploring the 
possibilities of income-generating activities to reduce the burden of school costs to 
parents. A number of innovative ideas were also implemented for communicating 
messages about the importance of girls’ education through the media and other 

SAGE experience suggests that a multisectoral model is a valid tool in addressing 
girls’ participation issues, particularly where the barriers to girls’ education are 
complex and touch upon many sectors. When applied effectively, multisectoral 
approaches can both leverage current activities toward greater action and more 
immediate impact, and create the long-term “enabling” environment that can 
sustain progress. Such a comprehensive approach is, of course, demanding. 
Mobilizing multiple sectors, finding die resources to support their activities, and 
developing coordination mechanisms take time and effort. This use of human and 
financial resources must be weighed against the potential of different options. If 
problems can be solved in a simpler way by focusing on one or two sectors, then 
that should be the approach of choice. The advantage of mobilizing multisectoral 
partners is the increased range of issues that can be addressed. The disadvantage is 
that the more sectors involved, the more substantial the energies required to 
mobilize them. 

o 9 


Executive summary 

Future multisectoral approaches can profit from SAGE experience. This experience 
suggests that a number of issues are important: 

■ Developing an initial understanding of the main constraints on girls’ education 
in order to know the sectors that may prove most effective in addressing them. 

■ Focusing on (and measuring) progress in indicators of girls’ education to ensure 
that activities assumed to achieve those goals are effective. 

■ Conducting limited and inexpensive formative experiments (as Guinea did when 
it compared two ‘‘treatments” levels of support) to inform decisionmaking. 

■ Providing relevant and proportional technical assistance that also develops the 
skills of appropriate application. 

■ Keeping progress matrices to know where gaps need to be filled and which 
partners have been selected to cover the gaps. It is important that no gap 
remains unaddressed even when it is difficult. 

■ Issues related to girls’ continuation, dropout, completion and performance 
cannot be fully resolved (no matter what the level of multisectoral effort) until 
public sector partners address these program quality issues more effectively. 

Overall SAGE countries showed clear evidence that their multisectoral strategies 
produced 1) greater overall consciousness of girls’ issues, 2) more and varied actors 
working on behalf of girls’ education; and 3 ) more strategies addressing constraints 
on girls’ participation. The countries modeled participatory processes that increased 
the capacity of local civil society organizations to solve these and other 
development problems. Their insistence on inclusionary practices gave women and 
girls more decisionmaking power over their own lives, thus encouraging changes 
that may prove even more significant over time. 

The bottom line from SAGE experience is that multiple sectors can be mobilized to 
act on behalf of girls’ education, they can overcome many of the constraints that 
prevent girls’ participation, and they can do so while relying mainly on their own 
resources. This SAGE evidence provides a strong mandate for using multisectoral 
approaches to address many of the complex issues of girls’ education. 





1. introduction 


Purpose of this 

Report organization, 
audiences and 



Strategies for Advancing Girls’ Education (SAGE) is a project of USAID’s EGAT/ 
Office of Women in Development that is implemented by the Academy for 
Educational Development (AED) through a contract with Development 
Alternatives, Inc. SAGE activities address Strategic Support Objective 2 (S02) of 
the EGAT/WID office: “Broad-based, informed constituencies mobilized to 
improve girls’ education in emphasis countries.” The indicator of achievement is 
“Improved rates of girls’ completion of primary school in program areas of 
emphasis countries.” This strategic objective, elaborated in the USAID-fiinded 
Girls’ and Women’s Education Activity (GWEA), called for using a multisectoral 
approach in addressing the issues of girls’ education. SAGE used this approach in 
five selected countries. 

SAGE was initiated in March 1999 and ended in July 2002. During this time a 
program of technical services was designed and implemented in Guinea and Mali 
starting in 1999, and Ghana, the Congo, and El Salvador in 2001. In addition, 
international conferences were convened and research studies conducted to inform 
and document the efficacy of mobilizing traditional and nontraditional partners to 
address the issues of girls’ educational participation. 

This report summarizes the experiences and lessons learned from using a 
multisectoral approach to address girls’ issues in the five participating SAGE 
countries. It is intended as a stand-alone document with summary descriptions of 
project activities in each country complete enough to suggest ideas for those 
wanting to adapt and apply a multisectoral approach in otlier contexts. Most of the 
conclusions are drawn from plenary and group discussions and marketplace 
exhibitions at SAGE’s Lessons Learned Conference, which was held in Elmina, 
Ghana May 6-9, 2002. This conference helped sharpen the focus of SAGE 
activities and differentiate universal elements from those that depend on 
opportunities and constraints in the local context. Background and clarification 
information for this report also comes from SAGE project documents and other 
project experience. A similar and relevant activity was reported on at the American 
Institutes of Research (AIR) Girls’ Education Activity (GEA) Lessons Learned 
Conference in August 2001. GEA in the first phase of GWEA used the 
multisectoral approach in three additional countries, Guatemala, Morocco, and 

This report is not an assessment or evaluation of SAGE, nor is it an end-of-project 
report. It is not a “proceedings” document from the conference in Ghana. It is, 
rather, a document that extracts lessons learned from the rich experience in 
implementing a multisectoral approach in the five SAGE countries. What has been 
learned from SAGE experience is not immutable lessons with no capacity for 
modification or change. Instead this experience provided a more in-depth 
understanding of what seems to work well in the EGAT/WID multisectoral model, 
and why it works even when conditions vary across countries. This report is 
therefore to be regarded as a “taking stock” so future attempts to use this approach 
can benefit from the new understandings and avoid or at least be made aware of its 
potential pitfalls. 

The report has eight sections: 1) this introduction, which provides background on 
the report purposes, organization, audiences, and cautions; 2) USAID’s goals and 
expectation for the approach, its guiding assumptions and principles, and the 
evolution of the model; 3) the SAGE project, its framework, organization, and 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

activities; 4) illustrative cases from five countries participating in the SAGE 
project; 5) findings about lessons learned from the country programs; 6) general 
conclusions about the multisectoral model; 7) suggestions for improvements for 
future activities; and 8) the questions that remain unresolved about the 
multisectoral approach. 

The audiences for this report are expected to be project participants, USAID 
officials, SAGE administrators, development practitioners faced with similar issues 
of girls’ education, and researchers studying the impact of various approaches on 
girls’ participation. In the past researchers and developers have called for more 
candid reflection on project initiatives and impacts. It is hoped that this “lessons 
learned” document will provide information that permits more effective designs in 
the future. 

The models and conclusions drawn from this “Lessons Learned” Report should be 
applied with caution: 1) The “solutions” SAGE implemented to the constraints 
limiting girls’ participation were chosen at the time because of the EGAT/WID 
focus on multisectoral partnerships, as well as for such practical reasons as the 
willingness in these five project countries of local partners to become involved. 
Other options might well have produced the same results. 2) Any initiative, no 
matter how effective in a given context, needs to be adapted to a new context. One 
of the main findings of this report is the importance of flexibility in applying the 
multisectoral model. An adaptation usually works best when local people modify 
the model to fit their own institutional potentialities and contexts. 

2. The multi- 
sectoral model 

USAID’s goals and 

Evolution of the 

In promoting a multisectoral model through its Girls’ and Women’s Education 
Activity, EGAT/WID set as a primary objective the mobilization of broad- based, 
informed constituencies to improve girls’ education. This was to be achieved 
through activities that strengthened the performance of a range of public and 
private sector institutions improved knowledge of girls’ education issues mobilized 
leadership broadened local community participation expanded social support and 
local resources for girls’ education from nontraditional partners strengthened 
teacher performance to improve girls’ primary school participation 

Country coordinators funded by the project were to bring together multiple sectors 
from national and subnational levels and provide technical assistance and other help 
as needed to these participating groups and organizations to solve their own 
problems with girls’ education. 

The multisectoral approach is not new to development nor to girls’ issues. Earlier 
development assistance to education was provided almost exclusively through the 
public sector institutions of education ministries. That proved insufficient as 
attention was turning to girls’ education, so a new model evolved that added 
partners with local impact in the community. At first this was done through 
expanding government interactions with the community, but later it occurred 
through national and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and 
community- based organizations (CBOs), and in some cases international private 
voluntary organizations (PVOs) with expertise in community mobilization. This 
‘‘traditional” multisectoral model of donor support for public and NGO entities 
was the precursor to the GWEA model. 

With pressure building in international forums to achieve Education for All (EFA) 
as rapidly as possible, it again became clear that the slow pace of government 
would not enable developers to meet these EFA deadlines, even with the 
community mobilization efforts of NGOs. The EGAT/WID model was one of the 
responses to this dilemma. It sought to expand the efforts on behalf of girls’ 
education by mobilizing “nontraditional” business, media, and religious sectors in 
support of the traditional public and NGO efforts. The EGAT/WID model was 
predicated on the assumption that to prosper, girls’ education required more 
resources (business), wider communication and advocacy of the importance of 
girls’ education (media), and the crucial support of religious institutions (that were 
assumed to be constraining girls’ education in some countries). What was new in 
this model, as EGAT/WID designed it, was the expressed intent of involving a 
number of sectors and putting financial resources exclusively into mobilization of 
the sectors rather than into the activities that were implemented. The mobilized 
sectors had to find their own resources. 

Under the first phase of GWEA implementation in Morocco, Guatemala, and Peru, 
the original model prevailed that excluded significant interactions with public and 
NGO sectors. The basic idea was that since these two traditional sectors had failed 
to bring about comprehensive change, three new sectors should be brought in to 
fill the gaps. Flowever, it was felt that the impacts would not be as great in several 
countries (Ghana, Guinea, and Mali especially) without significant involvement of 
the government and PVO/NGO sectors. The government provided access to 
schools and school programs and the NGO sector to communities, and both had 
important roles to play in disseminating successful innovations. Consequently, the 
model under SAGE was broadened by engaging these traditional sectors and 

Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

making their inclusion more flexible. Also during the first GWEA phase, the model 
had followed fairly similar steps in each country, usually starting with the 
convening of a national conference followed by setting up some kind of permanent 
national network. By contrast, the SAGE activity usually began by engaging a 
“partner of convenience” with established access to national or local structures that 
made it possible to broaden and intensify efforts on behalf of girls’ education. 
Together these changes completed the model’s evolution from a fairly rigid 
prescription for action into a flexible, pragmatic approach to the accomplishment 
of girls’ education goals — making it more dynamic and responsive to the 
potentialities on the ground. 

While a multisectoral approach in theory has the potential to address a complex 
issue like girls’ education effectively, it is in implementation that the advantages and 
disadvantages emerge and where lessons can be learned about how to use this 



3. The SAGE 

SAGE assumptions 
and principles 

SAGE project 
framework and 

2 See H. Williams (2001) for greater 
clarification of these points. 



The main assumption underlying the SAGE multisectoral model was that its broad 
scope provided the best means of addressing a multifaceted issue like girls’ 
education. Each sector would make distinct contributions by raising public 
awareness of the issues, mobilizing communities to implement solutions, and 
expanding resources that could be devoted to girls’ education. The original EGAT/ 
WID model prescribed a limited number of relevant partners, wliile the SAGE 
model evolved to meet various country conditions as well as the emerging needs 
for effective implementation. 

The principles that guided the new SAGE approach^ were the importance of 

■ Traditional and nontraditional partners in public sector and civil society organi- 
zations in changing the demand and supply of girls’ education 

■ Programs and solutions designed to reflect local realities 

■ Multimethod approaches in implementing locally designed solutions 

■ Local resource development, human, financial, and physical 

■ Capacity strengthening for new and expanded roles of public and civil society 

■ Stakeholders democratically engaged to support the civil, social and economic 
opportunities of girls 

Understanding these expectations helps in drawing inferences about SAGE country 
program lessons and how they may have shaped or been shaped by these 
assumptions and principles. 

The SAGE project framework builds on the assumptions and principles above by 
seeking to 

■ Strengthen public and private sector institutions to promote girls’ education 

■ Improve the knowledge base on girls’ education in order to better implement 
related policies, strategies, and programs 

■ Mobilize national and local leadership to promote girls’ education 

■ Broaden and support local community participation 

The SAGE activity applied this framework at national and local levels by building 
on the experiences of girls’ education initiatives worldwide. To inform its activities, 
SAGE conducted studies and published reports on education quality and best 
practices in promoting girls’ education. It organized national and international 
workshops to bring together policymakers, practitioners, scholars, and girls’ 
education advocates to share experiences and disseminate knowledge and strategies 
for advancing girls’ education. It convened national conferences to mobilize groups 
on behalf of girls’ education, and it conducted capacity- building activities for 
national and local groups to enable them to address relevant girls’ issues. In the 
long term, these activities were assumed to lead to improved rates of girls’ 
completion of primary school in the project areas of participating countries. 

The. main goal of SAGE was to build a conducive and sustainable environment for 
advancing girls’ education in countries of participating USAID Missions. Once a 
country expressed interest, SAGE helped it design an appropriate multisectoral 
program. This normally involved a consultative period, and the drawing up of an 
action plan and program of technical support. The plans were approved by USAID, 
a SAGE office was opened, and a local country coordinator and deputy 
coordinators or program assistants were hired. The country coordinator received 
administrative backup from the central SAGE office and could call for specialized 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

SAGE activities 


technical assistance as needed. The effectiveness of the country programs rested to 
considerable extent upon the creative leadership qualities of the country 
coordinators and their staff 

The SAGE Project was established in March 1999 with start-up activities in that 
year in Guinea and Mali and the convening of three centrally-organized gatherings: 
The Girls’ Education Skills Workshop, A Seminar on the Importance of 
Fundraising for Girls’ Education, and The Forum for Girls’ Education. Year 1 
(March through December) also saw the establishment of a research agenda that 
culminated in several studies by the end of the project. 

The programs in Guinea and Mali continued to be a priority in Year 2 (2000). In 
addition three research studies documented 1 ) the advantages nontraditional 
sectoral partners can bring to girls’ education, 2) specific examples of how 
multisectoral partnerships have contributed to girls’ retention in primary school, 
and 3) two case studies (Guinea and Morocco) to show how the WID conceptual 
model and principles were implemented in two settings. Two conferences were also 
held in coordination with the EGAT/WID Office on issues critical to girls’ 
education: the Symposium on Girls’ Education: Evidence, Issues, and Actions and 
the Colloquium on Girls’ Education: A Key Intervention Against HIV/AIDS and 
its Effects. 

SAGE expanded the programs in Guinea and Mali in Year 3 (2001) and started 
new programs in the Congo, Ghana and El Salvador. Activities continued in all 
countries in the final year (2002) with a special emphasis on ensuring sustainability, 
of ongoing programs and preparing for the Lessons-Learned conference in May 


4. Country cases 

The foUowing section provides summaries of SAGE activities in the five 
participating countries ordered in terms of their longevity in the program: Guinea, 
Mali, Ghana, El Salvador, and the Congo. Five program elements are considered for 
each country: 1) the country context and project rationale for SAGE’s approach, 2) 
the multisectoral partners engaged, 3) SAGE activities, 4) results, and 5) the 
likelihood of sustaining activities when SAGE ends. The intent of this section is to 
provide data on the implementation of a multisectoral approach under varying 
conditions and in varying time frames in order to inform the discussion about 
lessons learned that follows. 


Guinea Indicators 

Life expectancy 
GDP per capita 

Context and rationale for SAGE’s approach in Guinea 

In the last 10 years the government has worked hard with NGOs and commumties 
to build more schools and classrooms nearer to children’s homes in rural areas. As 
part of these efforts the Ministry of Education formed an Equity 
Committee with support from USAID. This committee led a campaign 
to address the educational needs of less well-served groups including 
girls. As a result, the percentage of enrolled girls rose significantly 
while boys’ enrollments also increased. Despite these efforts, 
enrollment and achievement levels of rural girls continued to lag behind 
boys, and girls dropped out at higher rates. 

7.6 million 
46 years 
US$1 ,300 

(Source: CIA World Factbook, 2001) 

Gender gap score^ 21 

Increase 1985-95 3 

Gross enrollment (%) 

1985 1995 

M F M F 

Primary 47 22 63 34 

Secondary 18 7 18 6 

SAGE began work in Guinea in 1999. It based its strategy on the 
assumption that government institutional and financial resources were 
not sufficient to increase school participation significantly, and that 
there were other sources of support in the larger society that could be 
mobilized to expand resources and bring influence to bear on issues of 
girls’ participation. SAGE focused on building the capacities of 
national and local institutions to address these issues. 

SAGE partnerships in Guinea 

(Source: Population Action International 1 998) ^AGE initially subcontracted Plan International to follow on with 

work it was doing with the Equity Committee in the first phase of the 

GWEA project. In that phase Plan had worked to mobilize stakeholders 
around the importance of girls’ education. With SAGE it expanded partnerships 
with national and local organizations and established links between them. The 
national groups included the media, religious leaders, women’s organizations, 
international PVO/NGOs, and donors. Local groups included community and 
religious leaders, women’s groups, business owners, and parents. Important 
sources of support were associations of successful urbanites and emigrants who 
mobilized resources and other forms of support for their villages of origin. 

3 For more complete details about 
SAGE/Guinea see H. Williams (2001). 

^ The “gender gap score” is the 
average difference between GERs for 
boys and girls at the primary and 
secondary levels. 

SAGE activities in Guinea 

At the national level SAGE works with the National Alliance for Girls’ Education. 
This organization, composed of 180 members broadly representing stakeholders in 
the private sector, meets regularly to initiate actions on behalf of girls’ education. 

In September 1999, SAGE convened a National Forum of public and private sector 
groups including civil society organizations to raise the awareness of leaders about 
girls’ issues and the constraints that limited their educational participation. The 
National Alliance formed an Executive Committee of 15 members that works 
actively on its behalf: coordinating its initiatives, serving as a contact point with the 
government, and supporting monitoring activities. The Alliance was instrumental 
in organizing 140 communities across 18 districts to identify and address local 





Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

constraints on girls’ education. It works as an umbrella organization to link the 
local alliances with each other and with national and regional organizations from 
media, business, and government sectors that support them on a continuing basis. 
Members of the Alliance include Muslim and Catholic religious leaders who have 
been actively involved in public awareness campaigns to promote girls’ education, 
thus dispelling misinterpretations of religious teachings that prevent girls in some 
areas from attending school. 

The National Alliance also has a constituent Media Task Force with the agenda to 
communicate messages about girls’ education. These advocacy messages are 
broadcast and/or published by national and regional media partners. This Media 
Task Force, comprised of 12 Alliance members, coordinates the national media 
campaign and volunteers time to help local alliances document their activities and 
results. SAGE worked with the Media Task Force to design and implement a media 
campaign. In June 2001 print, radio, and television media covered festivities held 
for Girls’ Education Day in 23 regions of the country. Stakeholder groups prepared 
messages and programs on local solutions to girls’ educational constraints that were 
broadcast on local radio reaching five target prefectures. SAGE support for local 
planning and advocacy through the SAGE various activities, including media 
campaigns, resulted in girls’ enrollment in one project area, in Kabak, rising from 
47 in 1998 to 527 in 2001. 

Besides assisting in the creation of the National Alliance and the National Media 
Task Force, SAGE supported feasibility studies for and subsequendy helped 
establish FONSEF, the girls’ education fundraising network. FONSEF obtained 
the status of an NGO by April 2001 and raised in one year over $12,500 to fund 
girls’ initiatives. One activity provided 400 school uniforms (made by local tailors’ 
groups) as an incentive for girls in the 19 local alliances established by the project. 
FONSEF with SAGE support held a General Assembly in 2002 to review its first 
year accomplishments. 

At the local level SAGE forged partnerships in communities with the lowest girls’ 
education indicators by conducting focus group meetings with local stakeholders to 
raise consciousness and collect data on local constraints. These consultations led to 
the decision to provide strategic support for the 19 newly formed local alliances. 
Local alliances are composed of elected representatives and key community, school, 
business and religious leaders working to increase the participation of girls. These 
leaders act as community representatives to the National Alliance and the Girls’ 
Education Working Group. The local alliances identified strategies and formulated 
action plans to support girls’ education. SAGE enlisted educational promoters and 
community trainers to take the lead in reforms. Each alliance is located in an area 
where a SAGE partner (World Education, Save the Children, Plan, or the Equity 
Committee) is able to offer support. SAGE selected six pilot communities to 
receive more intensive help. The others take part in SAGE-supported general 
activities that include National Girls’ Education Day, the School-Year Opening 
Ceremony that focuses on girls, and meetings to share ideas for improving girls’ 
education. This two-tiered approach makes it possible to determine what results 
can be expected from different levels of effort. Recently SAGE identified three local 
partner organizations that will provide technical assistance to four pilot local 



Country cases 

To support the commitments of these national and local groups, SAGE conducted 
a number of capacity-building activities including training in the preparation of 
action plans for low-cost solutions to the constraints on girls’ education and 
preparation of a monitoring and evaluation system to track results. SAGE also 
facilitated exchange visits among various local alliances to share information on 
successful interventions. The action plans identified roles and responsibilities of key 
actors and sectors within the community to implement activities on behalf of girls. 
SAGE provided assistance to these interventions. 

SAGE also mobilized and trained 80 local and national religious leaders to promote 
girls’ education through fundraising, sermons, and counseling parents in their 
communities. To improve the school environment for girls, SAGE provided 
training in gender equity, support for girls’ mentoring clubs, and assisted in 
organizing the special days mentioned above to celebrate girls’ education. SAGE 
also provided technical help in developing a female role model calendar for schools 
while a local faculty of education developed guidelines for teachers to use the 
calendars as supplemental teaching aids to illustrate the role model concept and the 
importance of schooling for girls and boys to lead productive roles as adults. 

Results of SAGE activities in Guinea 

Activities initiated by the Guinea government increased enrollments of children 
substantially between 1990 and 1999 (see table, p. 17), since Jomtien. The trend 
continued under SAGE. By 2001 the overall primary gross enrollment rate was 61 
percent and 50 percent for girls. 

SAGE support for training and planning in six (later seven) pilot alliances led to 
such activities as national day festivities to commemorate girls’ education, radio 
broadcasts, consultations with religious leaders, and actions to address other 
specific constraints to girls’ education. Two alliances opened junior secondary 
facilities so girls could continue their studies. In other cases SAGE involvement 
resulted in the construction of schools, classrooms and latrines, the hiring of more 
local teachers, the repair of school roads, and a better image of women through the 
role model calendar. 

Guinea; Major partners and main activities 

SAGE Partners 

■ The Ministry of Education: Equity Committee 

■ The Ministry of Social Affairs 

■ National and local religious leaders 

■ National Media Task Force 

■ La Radio Rurale de Guinee 

■ Local print and radio broadcasting media 

■ Local alliances from 19 sub-prefects 

■ Local NGOs: ARAF (The Association for Research and Literacy Training), 

AS ED, (Association for Disenfranchised Children), Cabinet PIC (Center for 
Performance Improvement), FEG, (The Federation of Guinean Teachers), and 
FAWE, (Forum for African Women Educationalists) 

■ PVOs: EDC, Peace Corps, Plan International and World Education 

■ Local business operators 

B The Chamber of Commerce 

SI FONSEF (National Fund for Girls’ Education) 




Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

SAGE Activities 

■ Built partnerships at the national and community levels 

■ Convened a National Forum on Girls’ Education with participants from civil 
society, public and private sectors, donors, religious leaders, and the press 

■ Assisted the creation of three entities: the National Alliance, a National Media 
Task Force, and Girls’ Education Fundraising Network (FONSEF) 

■ Pro\dded these national groups with technical assistance in management, 
fundraising, and message dissemination 

■ Provided technical assistance to 19 local alliances (with direct assistance to six); 
these are bodies of 20 to 60 people (local community and religious leaders, small 
business operators) that assist local schools 

■ Provided seven local alliances with technical assistance and training in 
fundraising and action planning 

■ Trained religious and media leaders in girls’ education issues 

■ Developed guidelines for the creation of girls’ mentoring clubs 

■ Identified urban and rural female role models, produced role model calendars, 
and distributed them country wide; developed training module on their use in 
schools and community, and trained teachers, school directors, inspectors, 
religious leaders, and community members 

■ Mobilized NGOs, PVOs, CBOs in support of girls’ education 

■ Organized National Girls’ Education Day for three consecutive years, launching 
junior secondary school in Lelouma, and other public events, involving impor- 
tant leaders and others to reinforce messages about girls’ education 

■ Selected and prepared NGOs to carry on capacity building actitities 

■ Enlisted three local partners to provide capacity building to four pilot local 

The work of the Lelouma Alliance illustrates some of the many initiatives that were 
organized. It raised in-kind and monetary resources to build a local junior high 
school, latrines for girls, housing for two teachers, and arranged for school supplies 
to be sold at reduced prices. The number of girls enrolled in the eight schools 
monitored by the local alliance grew from 746 in 1998 to 878 in 2001. The 
following show the achievements of other local alliances assisted by SAGE in 
2000 - 2001 . 


■ Built a 3-classroom school 

■ Girls’ enrollment increased from 47 in 1998 to over 500 in 2001 

■ Celebrated Girls’ Education Day with more than 500 people attending 

Brouwal Sounki 

■ Constructed additional classroom 

■ Organized community to contract teachers 

■ Girls enrollment in school increased from 156 in 1998 to 609 in 2002 

■ The local alliance recruited 412 new students of which 206 were girls 

■ Completed a new school building with school furniture 

■ Girls’ enrollment in school increased from 193 in 1998 to 549 in 2002 

Country cases 


■ Repaired school furnishings 

■ Sensitized school staff to reduce girls’ chores (or share them equally between 
sexes) and combat early marriages 

■ Convinced community to retain married girls at school 

■ Sensitized school staff to reduce girls’ chores 

■ Adoption of sanctions against early pregnancy (fine of up to $300 plus legal 
action against teachers) 

■ Girls enrollment increased from 660 in 1999 to 1,292 in 2001 

Efforts to ensure sustainability in Guinea after SAGE 

SAGE’s efforts will continue as a result of relationships forged during the project 
with the National Alliance, NGOs, the Peace Corps, and local alliances. A 
document on recommendations for a national strategy, as well as training modules, 
action plans, and monitoring and advocacy tools that will continue to be used in 
future initiatives, were produced based on SAGE activities. In Guinea the now 
well-established and developed institutional networks addressing girls’ issues will 
continue to operate with further capacity-building support as needed from NGOs/ 
PVOs and Peace Corps. Plans are underway to expand activities to 16 new 
prefectures, create 650 new PTAs, 35 new local alliances, and develop a national 
policy on community participation in support of girls’ education. 


Mali Indicators 

Population 1 1 million 

Life expectancy 47 years 

GDP per capita $850 

(Source: CIA World Factbook, 2001 ) 

Gender gap score 1 0 

Increase 1985-95 1 

Gross enrollment (%) 

Context and rationale for SAGE’s approach in Mali 

Mali is extremely poor, and consequently the provision of schooling facilities in 
rural areas remains a political and social challenge to the government. With support 
from USAID, several PVOs (Africare, Save the Children/US, World 
Education) and local NGOs that work with them have mobilized 
thousands of rural villages to assist in establishing their own schools. 
Parents however were reported to be reluctant to send their children to 
school, especially girls, because they did not feel the education program 
was relevant to their lives and needs. Therefore SAGE took as its entry 
point the development of gender-sensitive life skills materials for the 
primary grades. This choice was in Line with the established priorities 
of the Ministry of Education and USAID/Mali. The other major need 
was to make community members aware of the importance of girls’ 
education and to encourage removal of the barriers that prevented 
them from participating fuUy. 


SAGE partnerships in Mali 

SAGE’s main partners in Mali, the PVOs mentioned above, have 
ongoing community school programs. In addition SAGE works with 
numerous other local and regional NGOs and CBOs affiliated with the 
community school programs (see box for a list). SAGE also enlisted 
television and print media such as the national television authority 
(Office du Radiodiffusion et Television du Mali), private radio (in Bamakan and 
Benkan), and private print media (Journal Le Soir de Bamako and Journal Le 

M F M F 
Primary 29 17 41 27 

Secondary 9 4 11 6 

(Source: Population Action International 1998) 


Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

SAGE activities in Mali 

Since 1999, SAGE conducted seven major activities in Mali to improve girls’ 
education. The first major activity was organized with the help of the Girls’ 
Education Unit in the Ministry of Education. SAGE consultants with NGO 
fieldworkers visited rural communities to identify topics for life skills materials. 
Then a workshop was conducted for the PVO/NGO fieldworkers and members of 
various departments in the MOE who, working from authoritative resources, wrote 
reading passages with life skills content for upper primary children. The passages 
are set in a village similar to those in Mali. The characters include a girl heroine 
who is good at her schoolwork and is able, from what she has learned, to solve the 
various health, environment, safety, nutrition, and other problems that her family 
and neighbors face. The final program consisted of 98 life skills reading passages 
with teacher guides and a set of 25 posters. The program was tested in 100 
community schools, and later a training guide for active methodologies was 
developed to help teachers introduce these materials. Overall 45 trainers and 169 
community and public school teachers were trained in the life skills materials. The 
materials were intended to make the benefits of educating children, especially girls, 
clearer to parents. 

Second, 258 teachers received training on gender equity and girl-friendly classroom 
practices from SAGE. The preliminary results of classroom observation undertaken 
in March 2002 by external monitors in 29 community and public schools are 
encouraging. Ninety percent of teachers observed made no distinction between 
girls and boys when assigning school maintenance tasks. Similarly 72 percent of 
teachers called equally upon both girls and boys during question and answer 
sessions. Incidents of harsh behavior of teachers towards girls were rare. The 
improved environment in classrooms also benefits boys. 

Third, SAGE provided leadership training for female members of the PTAs so they 
would take a more active decisionmaking role. Their training also equipped them 
with the knowledge and skills to support girls’ education. Thirty trainers from 
PVOs and NGOs and 92 PTA members were trained in leadership skills. A further 
352 PTA members were mobilized in support of this training. 

Fourth, SAGE organized a Planning-for-Action Seminar to foster action in support 
of gender equity among school and community level actors. One hundred and 
thirty trainers were trained in action planning. One community, for example, built 
separate latrines for girls as a result of this training. 

Fifth, SAGE trained PTA and other community members in six pilot communities 
to organize and initiate mentoring activities for schoolgirls. Two communities have 
held regular weekly remedial courses for girls. One community found this activity 
so beneficial that it organized similar sessions for boys. 

Finally, SAGE mobilized 20 volunteers from different sectors to implement 
fundraising activities in support of girls’ education, and then was instrumental in 
working with this group to organize fundraising events such as gala concerts and 
dinners attended by prominent public and private figures in Malian society. In 
addition to ftindraising, the galas became a platform to highlight the importance of 
girls’ education and the benefits resulting from increasing girls’ attendance, 
retention and completion of primary education. 



Country cases 

Mali: Major partners and main activities 

SAGE Partners 

B Ministry of Education: Girls’ Education Unit, Regional Education Directorate 
of the District of Bamako 
IB Ministry of Health 

B Africare, Save the Children/US, World Education 
B AMPJ: Malian Association for the Promotion of Youth 
B ASG: Subaahi Gumo Association 

B GRADE'Banlieue: Group for Action Research and Development 
B AADEC: Association in Support of Community Directed Development 
B OMAES: Malian Initiative to Assist the Children of the Sahel 
B AMADECOM: Malian Association for Community Development 
B AMAPROS: Malian association for the Promotion of the Sahel 
B GADS: Malian Group for the Development of the Sahel 
B GRADE: Action Research Group for Endogenous Development 
B PADI: Partners for Integrated Development 
B PTAs of six pilot communities 

B Media: ORTM: Office du Radiodiffusion et Television du Mali 
B Private Radio (Bamakan, Benkan) 

B Private print media: Journal Le Soir de Bamako^ Journal Le Republicain 
SAGE Activities 

B Developed life skills curriculum materials: teachers’ guide, posters, and reading 
materials for students, teachers’ guide of active methodologies for introducing 
life skills materials 

B Produced PTA leadership training guide for active participation of girls in basic 
education in French and Bamanan 

B Developed girl-friendly classroom practices guides for trainers and teachers 
B Prepared a community action-planning guide in French and Bamanan 
B Developed a girls’ mentoring guide 

B Trained 45 trainers and 169 teachers in life skills materials 
B Trained 30 trainers and 92 PTA members in leadership skills and mobilized 12 
chiefs to support training 

B Trained 54 trainers and 258 teachers in girl-friendly practices 
B Trained 130 trainers in community action planning 

B Mobilized 20 volunteers from different sectors to implement fund raising 
activities in support of communities 

Results of SAGE activities in Mali 

SAGE/Mali activities brought greater awareness of girls’ issues to organizations 
already working in community education and stimulated more effort on the part of 
communities to address these issues. Local women became more active participants 
in school management committees and PTAs and assumed a more active role in 
community decisionmaking. Some of the pilot communities decided to prohibit 
female genital mutilation and one banned early marriage. Communities have drawn 
up action plans and are implementing such activities as building latrines, 
establishing mentoring groups, building wells, and providing classroom 
equipment. Teachers are showing more gender balance in classroom practices. Life 
skills materials that were intended as supplementary materials for classes will 
eventually become a core part of the curriculum and therefore Malian children in 
the entire public system will study more relevant subjects. There has been high 


Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 


interest from the Ministry of Education to expand the use of SAGE training 
modules to nonpilot areas. 

The above summarizes the outcomes resulting from activities direcdy undertaken 
by the SAGE/Mali team. The strong partnerships forged with PVOs/NGOs also 
produced results, and these are expected to grow given the commitment of these 
organizations to continue utilizing the tools developed by SAGE. 

Efforts to ensure sustainability in Mali after SAGE 

SAGE has worked closely with PVOs and local NGOs whose work will be 
continuing. To encourage sustainability of training interventions, SAGE has 
trained trainers and produced training modules and guides including guides for 
training PTA leadership in supporting girls’ education (in French and Bamanan); 
girl-friendly classroom practices; community action planning (in French and 
Bamanan); and a girls’ mentoring guide. 

The life skills materials will be incorporated into the main Malian curriculum, the 
upper grades of primary, during its reform, and therefore relevant content will 
become a permanent aspect of school programs. 

Ghana Context and rationale for SAGE’s approach in Ghana 

Originally a fairly prosperous country, Ghana suffered an economic downturn in 
the 1970s that caused deteriorating conditions in the education sector. In 1986 

reforms were instituted that shifted more of the education funds away 
from the tertiary to the 9-year basic education program. While overall 
enrollment rates have increased, girls stiU suffer a significant gender gap 
that was not projected to narrow significandy in the recent past. Girls’ 
enrollments make up half of total enrollments in greater urban areas like 
Accra but constitute much lower rates in rural areas and particularly in 
some of the remoter regions of the country. Similar statistics are 
reported for discrepancies in achievement scores between rural and 
urban areas. The gender gap is greater in these under- served areas. 

With the advent of the education reform initiative fCUBE (free, 
compulsory, universal, basic education), girls’ education became a 
priority of the Ghanaian government. A Minister of State for Basic, 
Secondary and Girl-Child Education was appointed, and the Ghana 
Education Service (GES) formed a Girls’ Education Unit (GEU) to 
oversee the activities focused on promoting girls’ education. The 
government’s commitment to girls’ education through the GEU and its 
institutional structure of more than 250 girls’ education field officers at 
the national, regional and district offices made this unit the logical 
partner for SAGE activities. The GEU at the time was already building 
partnerships with UN organizations, international PVOs, local NGOs and others 
to address common interests in education, many of which were at the local level 
and affected girls. The SAGE strategy was built on the realization that an already 
rich terrain existed for education initiatives and that through the GEU it would be 
possible to leverage the efforts of many of these groups and refocus them more 
intentionally on girls’ education. 

Ghana Indicators 

Population 19.8 million 

Life expectancy 57 years 

GDP per capita $1 ,900 

(Source: CIA World Factbook, 2001) 

Gender gap score 15 

Decrease 1 985-95 2 

Gross Enrollment (%) 

1985 1999 

M F M F 

Primary 85 66 84 74 

Secondary 49 30 - - 

(Sources: Population Action International 1998; World 
Bank Country at a Glance, 2001) 



Country cases 

— 1 

SAGE partnerships in Ghana 

SAGE’S main partners in Ghana included public sector entities of the Ministry of 
Education: Ghana Education Services (GES), Girls’ Education Unit (GEU), 

District Girls’ Education Officers (DGEOs), and Regional Girls’ Education 
Officers (RGEOs) and Science, Math, Technology Education Coordinators 
(SMTECs), and civil society organizations and leaders located in communities 
(School Management Committees [SMCs], PTAs, community leaders, women’s 
organizations, religious leaders, and local NGOs). In addition there were partners 
already engaged in improving school programs and mobilizing local support, 
including Ghana Quality Improvement for Primary Schools (QUIPS), Community 
School Alliances (CSA), Education Development Center (EDC) Ghana Offices, 
UNICEF and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC). SAGE also formed 
relationships with local radio and print media. 

Ghana; Major partners and main activities 

SAGE Partners 

■ Ministry of Education: GES, GEU, DGEOs, RGEOs, SMTECs, Women in 
Development Technical Officers (WITED) 

■ SMCs of 35 pilot communities 

■ PVOs: QUIPS/AED Ghana Office, CSA/EDC Ghana Office, U.S. Peace Corps, 

■ Local radio and print media 

■ UNICOM, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) 

SAGE Activities 

■ Assisted the GES /GEU in developing a vision and strategy 

■ Strengtliened planning capacity in the GEU 

■ Supported production of a DGEO/RGEO Handbook (with WUSC) 

■ Trained RGEOs, DGEOs, supervisors, facilitators in seven SAGE districts 

■ Reviewed six training manuals to ensure they are gender- sensitive/girl -friendly 

■ Reviewed Manual for Instructional Leadership/Management Skills for gender- 
sensitivity and girl-friendliness 

■ Increased number of women in 35 SMCs where SAGE works 

■ Adapted CSA tool to make it gender- sensitive and girl -friendly 

■ Leveraged CSA radio programs to ensure gen der-sensitive/girl- friendly messages 

SAGE activities in Ghana 

SAGE activities were launched in June 2001 and thus Ghana had had roughly one 
year of involvement at the time of this writing. SAGE/Ghana planned to 
implement interventions at three levels: the system, the school and the community. 
There were four main activities. The first priority was to work with the GEU and 
its field officers to mobilize multiple sectors on behalf of girls’ education. Initially 
SAGE assisted the GES/GEU in preparing a document that projected a vision and 
strategy for girls’ education and then translating it into yearly plans and job 
descriptions that aligned with GEU priorities. SAGE also worked with the GEU to 
develop a matrix of all the existing activities involved with girls’ education, a 
mechanism to monitor their activities, and tools, indicators, and procedures for 
tracking the progress of GEU activities. The GEU formed special committees to 
deal with girls’ issues. 

In the second major system-wide activity, SAGE provided technical assistance to a 
workshop for field officers to prepare a DGEO/RGEO Handbook based on their 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

combined experiences in mobilizing support for girls’ education. The Handbook 
was seen as a tool to facilitate and make the work of field officers more effective. 
The developers tested the Handbook with their coUeagues and prepared a training 
guide for its use. SAGE supported training in the use of the Handbook for 
RGEOs, DGEOs, supervisors, and facilitators in seven SAGE districts and 
increased their skills in community mobilization techniques. 

The third activity was a school-level intervention where SAGE reviewed a number 
of existing tools for gender sensitivity. SAGE and QUIPS staff revised six teacher- 
training manuals that were developed by the QUIPS project and a manual for 
instructional leadership/ management skills for headteachers and supervisors. 

The fourth activity involved communities. GES identified for SAGE interventions 
35 communities needing help in mobilizing support for girls’ education. SAGE 
provided community mobilizers who spent several days in each village conducting 
focus group meetings and working with SMCs, PTAs and community leaders to 
identify the constraints on girls’ participation and develop action plans to address 
them. The mobilizers used the CSA Community Participation Inventory Tool 
(CPIT) and PRA/PLA tools that had been modified by SAGE to make them more 
gender sensitive and focused. SAGE also increased the number of women members 
in the 35 SMCs where it worked and provided them with leadership training. 
Among the activities undertaken by these communities were girls’ clubs, special 
latrines for girls, more equitable distribution of household tasks, and early curfews 
for children on school nights. DGEOs also worked with teachers to increase girls’ 
enrollments and help students with their academic work to reduce failures and the 
need for retests. 

Finally, SAGE leveraged the QUIPS/CSA radio programs (in the local language) to 
ensure more gender- sensitive and girl- friendly messages. These programs broadcast 
interviews with influential personalities talking about the importance of girls’ 
education and reported on innovative community activities that promoted the 
greater participation of girls. Radio programs, which were broadcast twice a 
month, also aired interviews with women professionals (role models) and 

Results of SAGE activities in Ghana 

As a result of SAGE activities, there was more awareness of girls’ issues among the 
public, education officers, communities, and school staff, and 35 communities were 
actively involved in promoting girls’ education. Two hundred and four teachers 
were sensitized to support girls’ education, and training tools were developed that 
helped to make the efforts of girls’ education officers and others more effective. In 
addition, the SAGE communities were implementing the interventions in their 
plans of action to increase the participation of girls. 

Efforts to ensure sustainability in Ghana after SAGE 

The intimate involvement of the GEU in most of SAGE activities leaves an 
institutional structure to support the continuation of SAGE activities that are 
beneficial to girls’ education. The full involvement of R/DGEOs in SAGE activities 
of action planning and training at the grassroots level has created a better skilled 
cadre of officers to continue the work started by SAGE. 




Country cases 

El Salvador Context and rationale for SAGE’s approach in El Salvador 

Although statistics show no apparent gender gap in the educational participation 
between boys and girls in El Salvador,^ girls consistendy achieve more poorly on 

academic tests, and it is generally believed that gender 
biases affect aspects of the health, education, safety, 
and employment of girls. In 2000 El Salvador 
participated in the World Conference on Girls’ 
Education in Washington, DC. Through these 
meetings, the government became aware of the need 
to address the consistently poorer performance of girls 
and narrow the gap as quickly as possible. Because 
time was short for El Salvador’s participation in 
SAGE, it was necessary to move quickly to begin the 
process of mobilizing widespread support for girls’ 
issues on the national level. Consequently the SAGE 
strateg)^ was three- fold: to strengthen broad public- 
and private-sector efforts to promote girls’ education, 
to improve the knowledge base for implementing 
policies, strategies, and programs, and to mobilize 
leadership to promote girls’ education. Community 
mobilization efforts are just now beginning and will 
continue after the end of the SAGE project. These 
activities will be directed at making classrooms more girl friendly and attractive 
through gender- sensitivity training for teachers. 

SAGE partnerships in El Salvador 

El Salvador has in a very short time been able to gain the support of highly placed 
individuals and groups to promote its agenda. Foremost among these is the 
country’s first lady who, as an educator herself, has been very interested in 
promoting the education of all children, especially girls. She has attended events 
with full media coverage, has spoken out on girls’ education issues, and has held 
meetings to convene private and government sector individuals to support the 
efforts of girls’ education. In addition, El Salvador has had the support of high 
government officials in the Ministry of Education, donor nations, and the editor of 
El Salvador’s largest daily newspaper. La Prensa Grafica, a former Secretary of 
Education. Another important media group is Samix, which collaborated in a 
broadcasting campaign. All of these media contributions were provided free. SAGE 
also established partnerships with businesses (such as Polio Campero, one of the 
largest fried chicken restaurant chains in Central America) and NGOs (such as Alfa 
Center and FUSADES) and many more (see box for more of the contributing 

El Salvador Indicators 

Population 6.2 million 

Life expectancy 70 years 

GDP per capita $4,000 

(Source: CIA World Factbook, 2001) 

Gender gap score -3 

Decrease 1 985-95 5 

Gross Enrollment (%) 

1985 1995 1999 

M F M F M F 
Primary 74 74 88 89 98 96 

Secondary 26 23 30 34 35 39 

(Source: Population Action International 1 998) 

® At the primary level there is no 
consistent gap that favors either sex. At 
secondary level, however, a small gap 
that favored boys in 1 985 has reversed 
and now favors girls in 1995 and 1999. 

SAGE activities in El Salvador 

SAGE/El Salvador quickly formed a Technical Committee composed of 
representatives of the National Family Secretariat, the Ministry of Education, and 
USAID to meet weekly and coordinate activities. The committee greatly expedited 
activities because of the key decisionmakers represented in its membership and the 
frequent meetings. 

Media campaigns have been an important part of the SAGE/El Salvador initiative, 
supported by many groups from the media but spearheaded especially by the editor 
mentioned above. She organized a two-page spread published monthly in La Prensa 




Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

Grafted, which highlights Salvadoran girl role models who have overcome 
difficulties to excel in academia, sports, and science. The SAMIX media group also 
uses public personalities to reach Salvadorans with messages about the importance 
of girls’ education. Altogether the in-kind contributions by the media to this effort 
have been roughly $342,000. Other businesses have provided free promotion for 
girls’ education on placemats in restaurants, on rice and bean bags that are used by 
every household, and with a picture on textbook covers showing how education 
opens doors to girls. 

One media contact, Francisco Quezada, donated his time to develop a video. The 
Future is Now, which graphically presents the problems Salvadoran girls face with 
education. The video is shown to a variety of audiences and for a variety of 
purposes, from consciousness-raising to solicitation for support from the business 

A creative initiative supported by SAGE was the choice of a girl as an icon to 
represent the needs of girls. When her family could not support her in private 
institutions she continued to do well in public institutions, even when her family 
lost their belongings in the earthquakes that struck in 2001. Her story appeared in 
one of the monthly newspaper pages on girls’ education. 

El Salvador: SAGE Partners and Activities 

SAGE Partners 

■ Local Business: Polio Campero, Arrocera San Francisco, Publinsa 

■ Ld Prensd Grdficd: Palomitas de Papel 

■ Local Radio and Television Broadcast: Channels 2, 4 and 6 (Salvadoran 
Telecorporation), Channel 8 (Cadiolic Channel), Channel 10 (National Educa- 
tional Channel), Channel 33, Grupo SAMIX (12 radio stations) 

■ National Secretariat of the Family (SNF) 

■ Ministry of Education: Educational Counselors {Asesores Pedd£ 0 £icos) and 
Juvenile Volunteers Brigade (Bri£ddds Juveniles Voluntdrios) 

■ Salvadoran Institute for Women’s Development (ISDEMU) 

■ Editorial Santillana, Herco and Progresa (prizes for Ld Prensd Grafted contest) 

■ Educational Services Editorial (ESE) 


SAGE Activities 

■ Conducted national -level consciousness-raising and mobilization activities: 
roundtables for media, religious organizations and leaders, businesses, and 

■ Developed a videotape on the status of girls’ education in El Salvador and the 
importance of addressing the gender issues within the present educational 

■ Negotiated with Ld Prensd Grafied the publication of two-page spread on girls’ 
education, twice a mondi, for six months 

■ Negotiated with several radio and television stations spots, and programs in 
support of girls’ access, retention, and achievement in school 

■ Assisted the Ministry of Education in making materials, textbooks, training, and 
classroom management more girl friendly 

■ Gave awareness workshops for parents, rural community leaders, and local 




Country cases 


To increase the tools and knowledge base for girls’ education in El Salvador, SAGE 
has compiled a bibliography on girls’ education, published a SAGE bulletin, and 
developed a training curriculum for pedagogical advisors. They also plan to 
publicize analyses of education data showing deficiencies in girls’ education, the 
aim being to change the minds of those who think no problems exist. 

One of the important elements in the SAGE/El Salvador approach that allowed the 
project to make so much headway in so little time has been the respect SAGE staff 
has shown for the traditions of Salvadoran culture. Many communities and 
institutions are traditional and conservative and could easily have become 
antagonized and obstructionist if a radical approach had been used. SAGE sent a 
letter to the leaders in various sectors of civil society to inform them of the 
importance of girls’ education and to ask for their cooperation with the project. 

Results of SAGE activities in El Salvador 

SAGE/El Salvador has raised the consciousness of many in the country about girls’ 
education issues, and has placed the subject on the national agenda as a priority 
issue. It has mobilized members of the communication media and private 
enterprises to sponsor actions to promote girls’ education. Many initiatives have 
become part of ongoing institutional programs. SAGE has also established the fact 
that girls’ education is needed for development and does not threaten the cultural 
underpinnings of society. Quantitative results cannot as yet be measured in terms 
of girls’ attainment, but these SAGE accomplishments are important efforts to 
establish an environment where girls are more likely to improve their performance. 

Efforts to ensure sustainability in El Salvador after SAGE 

Planned next steps include a survey and a pilot mobilization in two communities, 
the training of volunteers from the Juvenile Volunteers Brigade, and the 
mobilization of 20 communities. The Juvenile Volunteers Brigade is a corps of 
boys and girls who volunteer to work in the community. The Brigade is organized 
by the Ministry of Education. In addition, pedagogical advisors will be given 
gender* sensitivity training. The groundwork has been established for these 
activities and the first stage of implementation began in May 2002. It is anticipated 
that the leadership and coordination for activities that follow on from SAGE will 
be lodged in the National Secretariat of the Family where some of those most 
involved in SAGE have been active. 

The Democratic 
Republic of Congo 

® Section 575 of the 1 999 
appropriations bill, known as the 
Faircloth amendment, states that no 
funds can be provided to the central 
government of Congo until the 
President reports to Congress that the 
central government is: 1) investigating 
and prosecuting those responsible for 
human rights abuses in Congo and 2) 
implementing a credible democratic 


Context and rationale for SAGE’s approach in the Congo 

The Congo has had a large gender gap dating back from before 1985, and although 
it is narrowing there were still eight percentage points difference in gross 
enrollment rates by 1999. 

The SAGE office was established in October 2001 with pilot activities only starting 
in December, thus making this the “youngest” of the five SAGE countries with 
only about five months of active implementation. Another obstacle was that the 
government sector could not be involved at the official level because of the Brooke 
Amendment to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Appropriation Act, which prohibits 
U.S. assistance to countries in arrears on their debt, and further restricted 
participation with government institutions.^ Nevertheless, SAGE activities in the 
Congo serve as an illustration of how quickly a multisectoral approach involving 
the private and religious sectors can be mounted, even when time is limited and 
political barriers exist. 


Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

The conflict and instability in the Congo in recent 
years has severely affected the education system. SAGE 
chose Lubumbashi (second largest city in the country) 
for pilot activities because of the special deterioration 
in its education situation due to unrest and conflict 
between 1990-1991 and 1997-1998 and the low 
participation of girls in Katanga Province (second only 
to Kasai). SAGE selected six schools for support 
through surveys of school staff, community members, 
and parents. Social and economic constraints were 
reported to be an important factor in girls’ low 
participation rates; consequently, SAGE/Congo paid 
special attention to addressing these constraints. In 
addition SAGE focused on the religious sector because 
of the widespread feeling among youth and 
community members that it is the only permanent and 
stable entity upon which they can rely. 

SAGE partners in the Congo 

SAGE has been working in six pilot communities to mobilize support for girls’ 
education. It worked through PTAs, teachers, primary school directors, school 
inspectors, and pedagogical advisors. It also partnered with local media (Radio 
Television Evangelical Africa-RTEVA) and journalists and gained its greatest 
successes through involving important religious leaders and their congregations. In 
addition SAGE works with UNICEF on issues of girls’ education using a 
multisectoral approach in six private schools in Lubumbashi. 

The Congo: SAGE Partners and Activities 

SAGE Partners 


■ World Vision 

■ Katanga Provincial Department of Education 

■ PTAs of the six pilot communities 

■ Teachers, headmasters, inspectors, and pedagogical advisors of the six pilot 

■ Local print and television media: Radio Television Evangelical Africa-RTEVA, 
the Katanga Affiliate of the National Broadcasting Corporation (RTNC), 
InterViens et Vois Radio and Television, Echo of Hope newsletter of the 
Salvation Army 

■ Religious groups: Adventist Church, Evangelical Church, Pentecostal Church, 
Kimbanguiste Church, Salvation Army 

■ Katanga Provincial Chamber of Commerce 

Congo Indicators 

Population 53.6 million 

Life expectancy 49 years 

GDP per capita $600 

(Source: CIA World Faetbook, 2001) 

Gender gap score 20 

Decrease 1 985-95 8 

Gross Enrollment (%) 

1985 1995 1999 

Primary 105 68 86 59 82 74 

Secondary 32 13 32 19 

(Source: Population Action International 1998; World Bank Country-at-a- 
Glance, 2001) 

SAGE Activities 

■ Trained teachers and PTAs to make schools more girl friendly 

■ Sensitized communities to support girls’ education through gender training, 
action planning workshops, and creating girls’ clubs 

■ Developed income-generating activities to reduce the burden of school costs on 

■ Developed information exchange strategies through workshops, a forum on 
girls’ education, media reports, and radio messages 


Country cases 

SAGE activities in the Congo 

Five main activities were undertaken by SAGE/ Congo. The first involved teacher 
training to improve the school environment for girls. One hundred teachers and 16 
inspectors were trained in girl-friendly classroom practices. As a result of books and 
supplies, teachers began to develop awareness of girls’ needs, and the conditions for 
girls improved in classrooms. 

The second activity consisted of awareness raising sessions with community 
members and parents. From this experience the participants became more 
supportive of girls’ education. Forty school stakeholders and 840 community 
members are now aware of the importance of girls’ education and of the strategies 
that can be pursued to support their participation. This was accomplished through 
gender- sensitivity, consensus -building, and action-planning workshops. Activities 
are continuing to improve the classroom environment and help girls excel in their 

Third, SAGE organized roundtable discussions with local businessmen to elicit 
ideas and support for income-generating activities. These activities were undertaken 
to reduce the burden of school costs to parents, thus making schooling possible for 
girls who might otherwise have been kept home. These activities also increased the 
resources available to schools. 

Fourth, through the collaboration of SAGE/Congo with local television and radio, 
10 programs have been televised and seven have been broadcast on subjects related 
to girls’ education. 

The fifth activity involved mobilizing 10 large religious communities to promote 
girls’ education through sermons, poems, contests, publications, and other means. 
Four of the churches also raised funds to support girls having difficulty pursing 
their schooling. Twelve girls during their last semester of the school year were 
provided with all their school supplies and costs. 

In addition, SAGE/Congo plans to provide training to the PTAs of the six pilot 
schools in order to reenergize them. A workshop for media and religious groups 
will also be organized in order to improve their capacity to undertake educational 
initiatives on girls’ education. 

Results of SAGE activities in the Congo 

SAGE/Congo in a short period raised the awareness of girls’ issues among 
community members and members of the education staff in six pilot communities 
and was able to mobilize religious organizations to provide moral and financial 
support for girls’ education. Three parent committees convened a seminar to 
discuss how they could reduce the barriers to girls’ education, and parents took 
initiatives to ensure the school attendance of their daughters 

Efforts to ensure sustainability in the Congo after SAGE 

Gender sensitivity training will continue to have an impact in the 96 classes of the 
pilot schools. These schools are planning to give prizes to students with high 
performance thereby encouraging girls to work to achieve higher performance. The 
revitalized PTAs will continue to function in the six communities. Religious 
institutions play an important role in local communities in the Congo and 
therefore by involving them there is greater likelihood that activities supporting 
girls will be sustained after SAGE ends. 


5. Lessons 
learned from 
the multisectoral 
approach in 
SAGE countries 


Contributions of 
various sectors to 
girls’ education 

SAGE project experience contributed considerably to knowledge about 
multisectoral approaches and their uses in addressing girls’ education. This section 
summarizes five types of lessons learned that emerged from these country 
experiences: 1) the contributions of various sectors to girls’ education; 2) the 
mobilization of multiple sectors; 3) conditions that increase the likelihood of 
success; 4) activities that promote girls’ education; and 5) the outlines of a generic 
process for mobilizing sectors. Section 6 provides a more in-depth discussion of 
the multisectoral model as an approach to issues of girls’ education. 

Characteristics of multisectoral approaches 

■ Increase the range of issues addressed as the circle of partners expands 

■ Build a critical mass of support for girls’ education with a momentum and 
commitment to change 

■ Link multiple sectors horizontally and vertically for more productive contribu- 
tions to girls’ education 

■ Create firontal, synergistic, simultaneous approaches to issues at different levels 
and through different interventions 

■ Assume all society has a responsibility, not just the ministry of education 

■ Model holistic approaches that are equally effective in addressing other issues, 
such as HIV, health, and environment 

■ Deepen the knowledge of the culture and the context in order to increase the 
effectiveness of the multisectoral approach 

The partners that were engaged in SAGE countries included the private business 
sector, the media, the religious sector, PVOs/NGOs/CBOs, and the public 
government sector. In general these sectors are approached in order to advocate for 
or communicate information about girls’ education, reinforce desirable norms, 
decrease religious misunderstandings, increase resources, and bring a broader range 
of talents to bear on issues of girls’ education. To the extent that these activities are 
crucial to reform and that they are accomplished through these sectors is the extent 
to which multisectoral approaches add value to the results. Once representatives of 
the various sectors are activated in networks with objectives, roles, and routines 
that build on each sector’s strengths, the efforts are more likely to be sustained 
than, for example, when a project conducts activities for a while, suspends its 
financial support, and goes away. 

The multisectoral approach to girls’ education brings multiple agents, methods, 
and solutions to bear on the constraints of girls’ participation. The SAGE project’s 
experience shows undeniably that participating sectors can be mobilized and 
provide important contributions even when they have little history of previous 
involvement in girls’ education. 

Below the rationales, contributions, and limitations of involving each of these 
sectors are described. The original model as noted above called for mobilizing only 
three nontraditional sectors, the business, media, and religious sectors. Under 
SAGE, two traditional sectors — the government and PVO/NGOs — ^were also 

The business sector 

Rationale. In most developing countries — including participating SAGE 
countries — resources are not sufficient to provide schooling opportunities for all 
children, and therefore parents are increasingly asked to support more of the 




Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

^In the Congo, however, this was 
perceived as a disincentive for 
businesses to contribute. Businesses in 
the Congo shun any kind of visibility for 
fear of finding a long line of causes 
seeking financial aid. 


expenses of schooling through fees and other payments. Girls are known to suffer 
most when household income is not adequate to send all children to school. To 
support project initiatives that increase girls’ participation requires that resources 
be raised from nontraditional sources. In most countries the private business sector 
is the only one able to afford diese funds. The business sector also serves as a model 
for private-sector practices that might enable the education sector to operate more 
efficiently in supplying schooling opportunities and/or expand the resources 
available to it. 

Business contributions to SAGE activities. Historical distrust of government and 
public education often discourages support from the private sector. However 
SAGE was able to mobilize private contributions in most of its countries despite 
this reluctance. For example, Guinea received national and local support from 
business operators through FONSEF, a fund established specifically to support 
girls’ education. Mali organized fundraising gala dinners. El Salvador received 
major in-kind contributions from a number of organizations, including the costs of 
girls’ advocacy messages in newspapers, radio, and television. The Congo expanded 
resources through ftindraising by religious groups and soliciting ideas from 
businessmen about how to develop income-generating activities for parents. 
Generally speaking, efforts to mobilize contributions from this sector seemed to 
work best when the business 1) saw it as in its own interest to contribute, 2) could 
contribute in-kind services or products as in free media support, 3) was widely 
recognized as contributing (e.g., in images and slogans on bean bags and 
restaurant place mats)^; and 4) believed the sponsoring organization was credible. 

It was also helpful when fundraising was officially recognized as a national priority 
and when professional marketing techniques were used. 

Limitations on the contributions of the business sector. Unless mobilized in a permanent 
institutional network directed toward girls’ education goals, businesses need 
frequent reminders and prodding to contribute to causes. Consequently mobilizers 
can expend considerable energy with fundraising activities, keeping accounts, and 
disbursing funds. Each business may need to be approached with an individualized 
appeal showing how support benefits its own interests. These resource costs to the 
project need to be assessed in relation to other potential uses for the same time and 
energies. SAGE did not explore the idea of tax breaks as a more efficient means of 
mobilizing resources, possibly because of the major policy changes it would require 
and the unstable tax structures that exist in some of these countries. Mali, however, 
is an example where voluntary taxes have been collected in selected communities 
specifically to raise revenues for local health and education services. 

The media sector 

Rationale: In many countries girls’ schooling participation is still constrained by 
social values about their roles and needs for education. Girls provide a significant 
source of household labor, and therefore parents may weigh the unclear benefits of 
education against the clear costs of lost labor. The problems of girls’ education may 
differ between urban and rural areas and between ethnic and other groups within 
the society. Changes can only come about through widespread awareness of the 
importance of girls’ education. The media is the only sector with the means to 
make these messages widely available to all relevant groups. 

Researchers who study social behavior say that when it becomes desirable to reverse 
general social norms, the change is most rapidly accomplished by “infecting” small 



areas across a broad geographic expanse with the new norm until a ‘‘norm cascade” 
or reversal of the norm is achieved. A much longer-term way of approaching this 
change is to “infect” prestigious groups such as urban elites and wait until the 
norm eventually ripples out to remote areas (if facilities are available). The aim of 
girls’ initiatives is to achieve a norm of participation as quickly as possible through 
widespread dissemination of messages about girls’ education. 

Media contributions to SAGE activities. Every SAGE country drew upon media 
support in communicating messages about girls’ education. One lesson learned was 
that the business and media sectors are not distinct when it comes to financial and 
communication contributions. Both contribute resources, and in several countries 
both assisted in communicating important messages about girls’ education. What 
became overwhelmingly clear in all countries, and particularly those like El 
Salvador that relied heavily on the media, was that girls’ education issues became 
much more prominent in the public’s attention through SAGE activities. Some of 
the particular circumstances that lead to the success of media initiatives are to 1 ) 
involve primary audience members in the development and dissemination of 
messages, 2) involve influential personalities in conveying the messages, 3) tailor 
messages to specific target audiences through, for example, local language 
broadcasts, 4) reinforce messages by communicating them often and in many forms 
so everyone is likely to see and be reminded of them over and over again, 5) engage 
the media in fact-finding activities so as to heighten their ownership of the 
educational process of information sharing, 6) use more widely accessible media 
such as radio that have proven effective in quickly reaching a broad audience. 

Limitations on the contributions of the media. Approaching the media usually requires 
facilitation by influential patrons since airtime is costly and cannot be provided at 
no cost to more than a few worthy causes. Media involvement for these reasons is 
often limited in time, while the need for frequent and continuous reminders of the 
messages persists. Messages that are not well focused on target groups can miss 
their mark, or may be seen as only relevant to other groups. In societies where 
people are more trusting of personal interactions and advice, the impersonal nature 
of the media may not be enough to change attitudes or behavior. Again the efforts 
invested in mobilizing the media need to be weighed on a case by case basis against 
the benefits obtained and the loss of resources to initiatives where impact might 
have been greater. 

The religious sector 

Rationale for engaging the religious sector. Social behavior is often reinforced directly 
or indirectly with religious rationales whether these come from authentic dogma or 
not. If left uncontested they gain the force of moral principle. The advantages of 
involving the religious sector are that its authorities can dispel misinformation 
about religious values concerning girls’ education, thus easing restrictions on their 
participation. Even better is for them to articulate support for girls’ education thus 
creating a positive reinforcement for participation. 

Religious sector contributions to SAGE activities. Guinea and the Congo actively 
sought and received considerable support from the religious sector, in one case 
mainly Muslim and the other mainly Christian. In both cases religious leaders 
corrected misinformation about the position of religion regarding girls’ education, 
and actively promoted girls’ participation. In both countries, religious groups 
promoted fundraising campaigns contributing to education initiatives and the 


Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 


support of needy students. Eliciting religious sector support requires: 1) 
understanding the role and standing of religious groups within the country’s 
communities and knowing what stance they might take toward girls’ education; 2) 
shaping the request for support in terms the religious group can identify with (for 
example, providing them with appropriate Koranic verses about education); and 3) 
knowing how religious reinforcement can be conveyed most effectively, and 
assisting in this dissemination (through media, sermons, events, brochures, etc.). 

Limitations on the contributions of the religious sector. In some countries religious 
authorities play an obstructionist, or at best a passive role if asked to become 
involved in girls’ education. El Salvador tailored its activities so as not to offend the 
conservative hierarchy of the church, at the same time trying to demonstrate that 
there was no conflict between girls’ education and either culture or religion. In 
Morocco, GWEA organizers intentionally did not include religious leaders for fear 
they would try to block girls’ education initiatives. Each country has to decide on 
an individual basis how important it is to involve the religious sector and whether 
they will contribute positively to girls’ education aims. Key questions that need to 
be asked are where the religious sector stands on girls’ education, whether the 
community respects their judgment, and whether they have traditionally been 
involved in education matters or need to be. 

The NGO/PVO sector 

Rationale: only relatively recently (15 or so years) becoming active on the 

development scene, the NGO sector is nonetheless considered a traditional rather 
than a nontraditional sector. The NGO sector grew to fill needs that are still 
important today: to extend services quickly and reliably to local communities and 
to fill the gap left by government’s inability to act effectively outside its 
institutional boundaries (for example, in communities). To prove effective, girls’ 
education initiatives by their nature almost always have to be implemented in part 
or in whole in local communities with the assistance of NGOs and CBOs. 

NGO/PVO contributions to SAGE activities. The two countries with the longest 
involvement in SAGE — Mali and Guinea — were the most active in engaging the 
PVO/NGO sectors, but Ghana, El Salvador, and the Congo also worked through 
established PVOs with local NGO and CBO partners. In both Mali and Guinea 
SAGE relied on PVO partners to oversee or implement project innovations. SAGE 
generally provided the development costs to produce programs, training, and 
products (such as life skills materials), but relied on the PVO/NGOs to provide the 
manpower, trainers of trainers and other necessities to disseminate them. The 
involvement of the PVO/NGOs worked best when I) SAGE objectives were 
consistent with those of the PVO/NGOs, 2) SAGE initiatives enhanced activities of 
the PVOs/NGOs such as capacity- building of community groups, and 3) SAGE 
activities “respected” the ongoing culture and needs of those organizations. 

Limitations on PVO/NGO involvement, PVOs usually have limited donor- funded 
contracts and therefore are time- and resource- bound, not to speak of being faced 
with very specific requirements for what they can and cannot do and what is 
ultimately required of them in terms of results. Some may find it difficult to expand 
their aims and objectives to incorporate SAGE interests, especially if it requires 
staff time and resources. Local NGOs, on the other hand, usually have more 
latitude in the types of activities they feel they can do, but work under constraints 
of personnel and resources that limit the geographical and other impacts they can 



The mobilization of 
multiple sectors 

have without extra funding. To make a major impact on an issue that may be as 
widespread and complex as girls’ education may require involving many NGO 
groups. When this is the case the need for coordination, training, resources, and 
staff becomes even more essential. Because they are resource-starved, NGOs have 
litde capacity to expand on their own or engage new problems without financial 
support, sage’s financial limitations make it difficult to work direcdy through 
NGOs unless their ongoing activities match SAGE requirements. 

The government sector 

Rationale for involvin£f the government sector. If only one sector is approached to 
address girls’ participation, it probably should be the public government sector. 

This sector can affect both supply and demand issues of education. Some believe, 
however, that this sector should be circumvented because of the difficulty in 
moving bureaucracies to reform. If gaps exist, the argument goes, and the 
government has not effected changes, then other sectors of the society need to be 
brought in to fill the gaps. This argument neglects the role governments can play in 
disseminating and ultimately sustaining reforms once they prove useful. 

Government contributions to SAGE activities. All the SAGE countries involved the 
government in significant ways, except the Congo. Ghana and Mali worked most 
closely with the public sector, Ghana through the Girls Education Unit and its 
network of field officers and Mali also through a Girls’ Education Unit as well as 
other training, curriculum, and supervisory sections of the Ministry of Education. 
The Ghana Unit — somewhat uniquely — was dedicated to improving the outreach 
of its Girls’ Education Officers down to the community level. The main constraints 
on their ability to impact community level problems were time and transportation. 
The Mali Girls’ Education Unit assisted in preparing gender- sensitive training 
programs and materials as well as in the delivery of training and, on a limited basis, 
monitoring. But like all departments in the Ministry, the Unit was severely 
restricted in its outreach capacities. This deficit was made up to some degree in 
project areas by PVO/NGO fieldworkers who were SAGE’s other main partners. 

Limitations of government contributions to SAGE^oals. The ability of the government 
sector to address girls’ issues was limited in expected ways. The very short duration 
of SAGE activities in three of the countries prevented them from making 
significant changes in the way the formal system related to girls’ problems. Indeed 
from several field reports, some of the significant constraints on girls’ education, 
especially in persistence, completion, and performance, remain within the sphere of 
the government to address — in terms of program quality and ways of assessing and 
remediating performance. 

SAGE also demonstrated a great deal about mobilizing multiple sectors 
successfully. The following actions showed evidence in SAGE countries of being 
important in engaging multiple partners. 

To identify and engage partners it is useful to 

■ Convene national and international conferences that provide opportunities for 
identifying appropriate partners, assessing the strengths they may bring to girls’ 
education, helping them become aware of girls’ issues and become more active 
in addressing them 

■ Ensure broad representation of stakeholders when girls face a variety of con- 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

■ Convince potential partners that their involvement extends their own groups’ 

■ Solicit partner groups with similar interests (e.g. women’s and child rights 
groups), as they are more likely to refocus their existing activities and resources 
to address issues of girls’ education, and sustain them after the project 

To ensure effective actions on behalf of girls’ education there needs to be 

■ Leaders that can act as the catalyst and advocate on this issue 

■ Two types of partner groups: larger groups that represent a range of organiza- 
tions and provide leadership and smaller working groups that take effective 
actions on their behalf 

■ Links/mechanisms forged between national, regional, and local levels built on a 
mutual vision for girls’ education but with space for local groups to act and for 
the center to assist 

■ Coordination to avoid duplication and overlap and to direct partners to gaps 
and constraints they can address 

■ A means of reactivating and refocusing groups and activities when they are not 
effectively improving the conditions of girls’ education 

■ Processes that engage main stakeholder groups in the diagnosis of constraints 

■ Processes that allow the main stakeholder groups to self direct the course of 
action to be taken 

■ Relationships with the media to spread coverage of messages and useful models 

■ Monitoring systems to measure and build upon successful interventions 

To sustain reforms there needs to be 

■ Distilled experiences in guides, manuals, training modules, questionnaires, etc., 
that leave behind tested procedures for replicating successful initiatives 

■ Formalized and nonformalized institutional arrangements — networks, commit- 
tees, assemblies, alliances — continuously energized to keep working on girls’ 

■ A framework that officially recognizes the responsibilities and roles of local 
participation in solving problems and taking action 

■ Local participation in design and decisionmaking that make solutions more 
appropriate and more likely to be sustained 

■ Assistance in building the capacity of organizations to solve the long-term issues 
of girls’ education on their own 

Conditions that 
increase the 
likelihood of success 

Conditions for the success of multisectoral approaches 

■ Dynamic leaders at national, local, group, and community levels, in addition to 
technical people 

■ Partnerships built on respect for each other’s strengths and a willingness to share 
responsibility and tasks 

■ Coordination of effort through productive links between partners 

■ Recognition of the knowledge and skills of local people who understand their 
own communities and know what are appropriate interventions 

■ Local ownership of problems and solutions 

■ It is important to build on existing strucuires that will exist after the project to 
increase the likelihood that the activities will be sustained; the same applies to 
building of cultural expectations that can also sustain the activities in the end. 

SAGE experience suggests that nontraditional and traditional groups are more 
likely to be mobilized on behalf of gi^’^^ducation if certain conditions exist. Most 


Activities that 
promote girls’ 

of these conditions are already known in the development literature to enhance the 
impact of initiatives. Consequently SAGE experience helps reinforce this 
knowledge (see best examples in brackets below). 

Flexible approaches. While the focus should be on well-defined goals, the process of 
reaching them needs to be creatively open to making use of all relevant 
opportunities (Guinea). 

Local ownership of process and products. The solutions and approaches used to address 
girls’ education problems should be ones devised or at a minimum fully adopted by 
local people. This is more likely if local people are supported in decisions about 
solving their own problems and assisted in developing the capacities to do so. 
Ownership is important if solutions are to be carried forward and possibly 
extended (Mali: life skills, Ghana: handbook development) 

Local fit. The process and products of interventions should be appropriate to local 
conditions (El Salvador) and relevant to local needs (Mali). The local context 
creates opportunities and sets limits on what can be done, how it can be done and 
who can do it. 

Supported by local values. Outcomes are likely to be greater if congruent with local 
value systems (the Congo and Guinea). 

Charismatic^ active leadership at all levels. Impact is usually greater when active 
national and local leaders take the responsibility for leveraging human and other 
resources and keeping supporters focused on the goal (Guinea and El Salvador). 

Sustainability through tools/modules/trained trainers. Capacity-building investments 
are more likely to be sustained if tools and training modules are available so that 
trained trainers can continue to build skills as needed. These tools are more likely to 
be used over time if they have been locally developed (Ghana and Mali) and are 
perceived as useful. Institutionalized routines for meetings, reporting, and 
monitoring also help sustain effective networks over time (Guinea). 

The following activities were implemented in one or more of the SAGE country 
programs (best examples are in brackets below). While most activities are not new 
to girls’ education they gain importance because national or local people identified 
them and invested in them as ways of increasing girls’ participation. 

To change attitudes that constrain girls’ participation 

■ Raising awareness about the importance of girls’ education in communities 
(Mali, Ghana, Guinea) 

■ Correcting misinformation and dispelling myths, and reinforcing new norms of 
participation through enlisting the support of religious leaders (Guinea, the 

To promote greater female participation and role models for girls 
in society 

■ Encouraging more representation of women in community groups and district 
assemblies (Ghana, Guinea and Mali) 

■ Training women for a more active leadership role in SMCs, PTAs, local alliances, 
and district assemblies (Ghana, Guinea and Mali) 


3 _ 8 . 


Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

■ Providing images and information about female role models in schools (Guinea) 

To establish a better environment for girls’ education 

■ Involving community partners in identifying local constraints and solutions and 
learning to make plans of action to overcome them (Mali, Ghana) 

■ Building latrines for girls to encourage better attendance and persistence 
(Ghana, Guinea and Mali) 

■ Sensitizing community members and school staff to gender bias in girls’ educa- 
tion and implementing girl-friendly classroom practices (the Congo, Ghana, 
Guinea and Mali) 

■ Parents’ setting curfew hours for school nights, dedicating the proceeds from 
specified land plots to girls’ education, monitoring the attendance of girls and 
teachers (the Congo and Ghana) 

■ Providing more relevant life skills content in school programs (Mali) 

■ Providing girls’ clubs and mentoring groups that among other activities tutor 
girls (Ghana and Mali) 

To expand the resources for girls’ education 

■ Exploring income generating ideas to reduce the burden of school costs on 
parents (the Congo, Guinea and Mali) 

■ Raising funds from multiple sectors and mobilizing other human and material 
resources from local communities (Guinea and Mali) 

To advocate for girls’ education 

■ Involving well-known personalities to promote girls’ education (El Salvador, 

■ Communicating messages broadly through various channels including religious 
organizations, national meetings, national and local radio (for reception and 
local languages), TV, newspapers, bean bags, school book covers, etc. (Guinea, 
El Salvador, the Congo) 

■ Being sensitive to gender issues in all activities that touch upon project initia- 
tives (e.g., ensuring female participation in SMCs and PTAs) that relate to 
solving girls’ education issues; the actions of project implementers often speak 
louder than their words (Ghana) 

To build capacity to solve the problems of girls’ education 

■ Building the capacity of the system at all levels to address girls’ issues (Ghana) 

■ Building the capacity of community members to plan and undertake actions 
(Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and the Congo) 

■ Training local women for leadership roles (Mali, Guinea) 

■ Making people aware that the poor participation of girls in primary education is 
an issue of inequity and social injustice (Mali, El Salvador, the Congo) 

Outline of a process 
for mobilizing sectors 

Processes were organized in each SAGE country around the similar needs of 
understanding girls’ issues, identifying and forming partnerships, building capacity 
in relevant actors, developing tools to achieve improvements, communicating 
critical messages and experiences, expanding resources, and developing sustainable 
institutional arrangements. 

A process model offers the best blueprint for communicating how an approach 
might be implemented. The composite model below extracts from SAGE country 



experiences a step-by-step scenario for addressing girls’ issues through a 
multisectoral approach. Not every country used every step, nor did they necessarily 
use them in this particular order. Sometimes they were accomplished informally or 
as in the Congo and El Salvador only partially. In any case to be used effectively the 
model would need to be adapted in each country to the context and the need. A 
process model, or the consecutive steps taken to implement a program, simply 
implies that there is a logic or rationale that drives the sequence of steps toward a 
certain goal. 

A full-blown multisectoral approach might therefore have taken the following 

■ Consult with influential actors in girls’ education to identify a list of relevant 
issues and potential partners. These consultations serve as background to begin 
the understanding of girls’ constraints. 

■ Prepare convincing arguments about the importance of girls’ education in the 
country context to show the need to address these issues. In some instances a 
strategic choice may be to draw parallels with other relevant issues (e.g., life 
skills and FGM in Mali) as an entry point for opening dialogue and reflection on 
girls’ education as a greater issue of gender equity. 

■ Identify a dynamic and well-connected country coordinator to conduct the 

■ Convene formal or informal gatherings of potential partners at national or local 
levels or both, simultaneously or separately. With them identify the needs that 
should and can be addressed, an inventory of their institutional capacities and 
their willingness to address them, and the additional support they would need to 
solve them. Determine whether there are additional constraints and where 
partners might be found with capacities to address them. Plan institutional 
arrangements such as routine meetings, working groups, periodic conferences, 
networks, etc. to coordinate and implement agreed-upon actions. 

■ Agree with partners on a plan of action to identify constraints, determine 
potential solutions, plan for capacity building, expand resources, organize 
implementation activities, agree on complementary roles and responsibilities, 
and on working groups. Begin activities. 

■ Engage the media to cover activities and communicate messages, plans, and 
goals. Arrange for longer term advocacy and reporting of progress on girls’ 
issues. Consult with target audiences about the issues, the substance of convinc- 
ing arguments, and any other aspect relevant to effective communication of 

■ In the case of local community level partners, work through existing organiza- 
tions or networks of community groups that can act to increase girls’ participa- 
tion in communities. Where these do not exist try to identify local facilitators 
who can take long-term responsibility for mobilizing, implementing, and 
following-up activities. 

■ Develop and implement capacity building training and the tools needed by 
national and local groups to implement solutions to girls’ problems, preferably 
with their involvement. This is likely to entail direct training for such capacities 
as action planning, fundraising, account management, monitoring and evalua- 
tion, etc., where the number to be trained is limited and small. The training will 
be indirect — training of trainers — where those to be trained are numerous, 
spread over large distances, and training needs to continue with new groups 
over time (e.g., community mobilization, gender sensitivity training). 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

■ Put in place monitoring and assessment mechanisms that provide data upon 
which informed decisions can be made and progress can be charted. 

■ Support periodic events to feedback results and accomplishments to the stake- 
holder groups, and take these opportunities to recognize individual and collec- 
tive efforts. 

These generic steps do not include such essential ongoing tasks as the importance 
of building strong relationships among and with partners, continuous discussions 
and meetings to ensure smooth implementation, mechanisms to coordinate and 
respond to identified needs, and opportunities to reflect and make midcourse 
corrections to improve results. 


6. Conclusions: 
approaches in 

approaches are valid 
tools for solving 
complex problems 

approaches create 
long-term enabling 
environments at the 
same time that they 
produce immediate 



This section draws general conclusions about multisectoral approaches and their 
utility in addressing the issues of girls’ education. 

SAGE experience shows multisectoral approaches to be viable and valid tools for 
addressing complex development problems in a variety of contexts. Because they 
are tools, however, it is important to know when, how, and for what purposes they 
can best be used. When issues of girls’ education are complex, a multisectoral 
approach allows them to be addressed holistically through multiple- agents, 
multiple-methods, and multiple-solutions. Partners from a range of sectors, levels, 
and interests bring different strengths to bear on these problems. 

The reservation in using tliis approach is in contexts where a smaller number of 
significant constraints can be resolved through focused interventions that do not 
require multiple actors. Involving numerous actors requires time, energy, and 
resources, and if these can be conserved with more modest interventions it certainly 
makes sense to do so. This caveat underlines the importance of understanding the 
main constraints on girls’ participation in any given context so remedies can be 
applied that are proportionate to the need. The multisectoral approach most likely 
worked well in SAGE countries because the problems of girls’ education were so 

All SAGE countries showed clear evidence that their multisectoral approaches 

■ A greater overall consciousness of girls’ issues, placing them in most cases on the 
national agenda, permanently, importantly, and in cases like El Salvador and 
Ghana in places where they could not be overlooked 

■ An increased number and variation in the actors working on behalf of girls’ 

■ A greater number of the social, cultural, and economic constraints on girls’ 
participation being addressed in the project areas 

Other advantages of the approach were greater understanding of and sensitivity to 
broader issues affecting girls and women, more positive attitudes towards girls’ 
educational participation, in some countries, religious endorsement of the 
importance of girls’ education, expanded resources for interventions, and more 
creative solutions to issues of girls’ education. To the extent that these results were 
accomplished, it is likely that the multisectoral approach increased the rates of girls’ 

Other social advantages of multisectoral approaches are that 

■ They introduce and model participatory processes that increase the overall 
capacity of civil society organizations to solve these and other development 

■ The project insistence on inclusionary processes gives greater representation to 
women and girls in decisions about their own lives thus effecting changes that 
may prove significant over time 

A tension often exists in development projects between the need to build long-term 
enabling environments that produce more and better results over time and the need 
for direct actions that produce immediate but sometimes limited results. 
Multisectoral approaches permit a mix of both. They create long-term enabling 
environments by changing attitudes and behaviors, engendering greater sensitivity 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

approaches tend to 
be more effective 
when implemented in 
certain ways 

to gender issues, expanding the resource base, and developing committed actors 
who are willing to continue to produce results. These approaches achieve 
immediate results by strengthening the capacities of partners to address girls’ issues 
more effectively now. Such approaches act to reorganize and reenergize old 
relationships and turn them toward solving more of the same or new problems. 
Under ideal circumstances these actions ripple across communities and national 
groups to speed up the process of reform. 

The SAGE countries invested in initiatives to produce both kinds of results: 
immediate actions to produce results quickly and more permanent institutional 
arrangements to continue to produce results. Examples can be found in Guinea 
through the activities of its General Assembly and local alliances, Mali through 
training in local leadership and embedding life skills and training materials in 
ongoing government reforms; Ghana through strengthening capacities of 
government officials while immediately mobilizing 35 villages to support girls at 
particular risk; El Salvador through close connections with the National Secretariat 
of the Family; and the Congo through links to religious institutions. Once partners 
are organized in networks and alliances with objectives, roles, and routines, their 
relationships are more likely to last over time. 

Creating long-term enabling conditions takes time and energy, and the full impact 
of these measures is often not seen until enough time has passed for the effects to 
emerge. Each SAGE country program had to make decisions about balancing 
resources invested in long-term effects against resources available for immediate 
action. Both types of investment occurred within the multisectoral framework. 

The important lesson to be learned from these observations is the importance of 
focus on obtaining comprehensive results as quickly as possible whether that occurs 
through short- or long-term interventions. The aim is not to mobilize sectors for 
their own sake, nor even to achieve intermediate results that are assumed to 
produce final outcomes, but to improve and increase the educational participation 
of girls by all the measures that ensure this will happen. 

SAGE experience suggests that multisectoral approaches are more likely to prove 
effective if organized in the following ways. 

The multiple sectors and levels need to be productively linked 

A key ingredient of success in these approaches is productive links between the 
multiple sectors and levels, built on mutual vision yet with space for partner 
organizations to contribute their unique strengths to common goals. Without these 
links, efforts become scattered, overlap, or leave gaps that reduce the level of final 
impact. Morocco, in an earlier phase of the GWEA, depended largely on efforts of 
volunteers from women’s organizations to implement its initiatives. These women 
achieved successes at the national level and, through branch volunteers, in a few 
local villages. They felt however that results were limited by the absence of regional 
groups that could have acted to coordinate interventions in a much larger subset of 
villages. It was not efficient to act one-on-one with local villages. 

To ensure coordinated impact, the multiple sectors need to be linked horizontally 
across levels and vertically down through different levels — national, regional, and 
local. Each sector and each level contributes added value, and in combination at 
one or more levels the effects can become synergistic. All the SAGE countries with 



the exception of Ghana (three levels) worked at two levels — national and local. The 
national level contributed vision, leadership, and coordination, while local agents 
ensured the local fit for each solution. Both levels contributed human and financial 
resources to extend the effort. SAGE found that even the poorest communities 
could mobilize resources to solve local problems without large infusions of outside 
financial support. Through technical assistance, SAGE offered expanded knowledge 
in the form of sensitivity-training and consciousness-raising activities. This 
knowledge acted as a powerful tool to mobilize attitude and ultimately behavior 
changes with regard to girls’ education. 

Guinea is the best example of this many-layered coordination. In Guinea, SAGE 
established coordinating mechanisms for three national organizations — a large 
assembly of influential stakeholders whose support for girls’ education attracted 
national attention, an executive committee with a few active members who initiated 
actions on behalf of the assembly, and a committee that was legally constituted to 
raise funds. At the local level, SAGE supported local alliances in their efforts to 
mobilize community actions. A “media task force” of national journalists regularly 
visited the local alliances to collect data on and publish the results of local initiatives 
in girls’ education. This coordinated linkage served several purposes: to avoid 
duplication of effort, ensure the capacity to act effectively, provide a two-way 
communication between levels, and to gather information on and publicly 
recognize local accomplishments in girls’ education. 

Multiple sectors can be mobilized through a variety of entry 
points and at different times 

SAGE country coordinators found it useful — and in some cases necessary — in 
initiating multisectoral approaches to find “avenues of convenience” for becoming 
involved in a country’s ongoing organizational relationships. These convenient 
entry points usually became apparent within a very short time, and were often 
seized upon “opportunistically” because an organization was already implementing 
activities related to girls’ issues or because it had similar interests and was open to 
expanding its efforts through cooperation with SAGE. 

A similar point can be made about the order in which sectors are integrated into 
the common framework. Sectors can be mobilized all at once through, for example, 
a national conference or they can be added consecutively as need for their 
contributions become apparent or new facets of a problem emerge. 

In Ghana, for example, SAGE entered the organizational arena through the newly 
formed national Girls’ Education Unit that needed strengthening to address girls’ 
issues effectively. In Mali, the logical point of entry became the networks of 
community schools supported by PVOs/NGOs. SAGE provided life skills 
materials, teacher and community leadership training, and action planning, all 
enhancements to the ongoing community school program while sharpening the 
focus on girls. While SAGE/Ghana started with the national level and moved to the 
district and later the community levels, SAGE/Mali was most active in community 
level partnerships even while working also in partnership with the Girls’ Unit in the 
Ministry of Education. Establishing credibility first with “partners of convenience” 
made it possible without losing time for SAGE to enter into the complex system of 
institutional relationships and begin to assess where other partnerships might be 
established to further the goals of the project. 


Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

Entry points that are ‘‘opportunistic” (in the positive sense of the word) illustrate 
several other elements that have become apparent in SAGE’s implementation of the 
multisectoral approach: 

■ The need for flexibility so implementers can take advantage of opportunities that 
arise to form new partnerships, try different modes of implementation, and 
provide needed types of technical assistance. This flexibility however should be 
goal-focused, with activities and partners chosen for what they can contribute to 
improved results. 

■ The need to be context- driven, that is to be aware of the conditions and environ- 
ments in which the approach is to be launched and to modify the approach to fit 
these conditions. 

■ The need to think in terms of institutional systems. While it is usually possible 
to enter a system at almost any convenient point, it is also important to include 
any group that is likely to have an impact on the problem as a whole. Leaving a 
significant gap in the institutional partners (as in any system) can lead to flawed 

“Entry points” as a concept can be applied to other aspects of implementation. In 
Mali, SAGE support for the development of life skills materials and drawing 
together writers from the Ministry of Education as well as NGO field workers had 
an unexpected benefit — that the materials would become part of curriculum 
reform. In this case, entry into one activity led ultimately to entry into a more 
institutionalized process and thus to a more sustainable product. Similarly, the 
efforts to involve more girls in schooling in Ghana led to efforts to train women in 
communities to assume action-oriented leadership roles. Thus, the support for 
girls’ issues led to support for wider issues of women in society. 

The main lesson to be learned from observations about entry points and the order 
in which sectors are incorporated is one based on logic. Sectors should not be 
mobilized merely because of a theoretical assumption that all or even designated 
sectors add inevitably to the solution of girls’ issues, but rather because they 
become indispensable to the solution of a particular girls’ issue at a particular time. 

Forming productive partnerships requires a particular mindset 

An environment conducive to productive partnerships requires implies a 
relationship of equal status, where partners solve problems together and each 
respects the opinions and interests of the others. It implies sharing responsibilities 
and feeling confident that partners will handle their share. It means sharing the 
burdens of implementation and making sure there is space for every group’s 
contributions. It is a two-way street, even in such activities as capacity building, 
where the technician needs to respect the skills and knowledge the trainee brings to 
the effort. While all of these ideas are part of conventional wisdom, they are not 
always carried out in practice. 

Those addressing girls’ education issues need to be aware of some key principles in 
implementing multisectoral approaches. 

Understand fully the nature of the problem, if for no other reason than to know 
whether a multisectoral approach is appropriate, and if so, which sectors need to be 
involved immediately. El Salvador, for example, saw the importance of immediately 
mobilizing assistance from the media in order to convince the public that girls’ 
issues actually existed. 


Guiding principles in 


Focus decisions on promoting outcome results. Intermediate results — trainings 
conducted, classrooms built, villages mobilized — can easily become the measures of 
project success rather than the indicators of girls’ participation. While some 
indicators such as primary completion take several years to show progress, others 
like changes in attendance, initial enrollment, grade completion, and academic 
performance can be observed within the first couple years. 

Test assumptions about what works in £firls^ education. Opportunities arise during 
project implementation that can advance our knowledge of what works in girls’ 
education. For example, does the provision of latrines actually increase the 
attendance of girls in a particular country.^ Without this knowledge, interventions 
can be scatter-shot and not produce optimum impact on problems. 

Experiment with interventions to determine what is most cost effective. Formative 
experiments are small tests of different solutions conducted during project 
implementation to see which are the most effective. They do not need to take much 
time or energy. For example if video-viewing is thought to cut down on homework 
time and/or prompt attendance, the community might decide to ban this viewing 
for a period of time to see if it makes a difference. If it does, the results should be 
disseminated, plans made to continue the ban, and other communities informed of 
the findings through partner organizations. These experiments provide information 
for decisionmaking, help in solving problems, provide motivating feed-back, and 
create a more reflective, problem-solving atmosphere in which to address issues. 

Keep on^oin^ progress matrices. There are numerous ways that progress on girls’ 
education might be mapped. The two most obvious are; 1) tracking important 
indicators (attendance, initial enrollment, persistence through primary grades, 
performance, and completion) for target project areas and noting progress; 2) 
mapping solutions such as specific advocacy interventions, course relevance (life 
skills materials), sensitivity training, community mobilization, action planning etc., 
against partners who have capacity and are taking responsibility for implementing 
them. The tasks and progress toward implementing diem can also be marked 
alongside progress toward overall objectives, to ensure that expected improvements 
are taking place. Such progress matrices are motivating for implementers, parents, 
school personnel and students, especially when some sort of public 
acknowledgment is given to those who meet their goals. 

Address as many other educational^faps as possible. While considerable attention may 
be given to enrolling girls, a strong deterrent to their continuation in many 
countries is poor performance due to weak academic programs. While some 
problems of poor performance — e.g., irregular attendance of students and teachers, 
and conflicting outside activities that prevent homework completion or cause 
children to come to school tired, can be solved through community efforts, many 
others require reform of teaching-learning practices and materials. Much is now 
known about how to correct these problems — including the importance of well- 
defined learning objectives based on skill development, practice of skills in many 
forms, diagnostic testing, and education components all focused on helping 
children learn. Girls’ issues that relate to continuation, dropout, completion, and 
performance usually need to be addressed through public sector organizations, 
once again confirming the importance of this sector in any overall solution to girls’ 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

Final note 



Resist the tendency as outsiders (foreign or national) to become the major actors 'm raising 
funds, deciding and implementing activities, and in taking on the responsibility for 
solving problems. Balance is required between outside experience and technical 
skills and local knowledge of needs and solutions. This caution relates to ownership 
of responsibility and the human tendency to remain passive when others take over 

Establish the necessary conditions for success^ which arc ownership, local fit, local 
involvement, coordination, and active, dynamic leadership. 

Be aware that individuals and groups need to feel rewarded for pursuing these 
objectives — with recognition, girl-friendly schools, and/or clear and apparent 
benefits from their efforts. 

SAGE experience has shown that multiple sectors can be mobilized to act 
effectively on behalf of girls’ education, that they can overcome many of the 
constraints preventing girls’ participation, and that they can do this while relying 
mainly on their own resources. This SAGE evidence provides a strong mandate for 
using multisectoral approaches in addressing complex issues of girls’ education. 




Agueh, R 2000. SAGE/Guinea: Operational Procedures for Girls’ Education 
Funds. SAGE Project Consultant Report. Washington, DC: Academy for 
Educational Development (AED). 

Agueh, F. 2000. SAGE/Mali 2000-2001 Program Design. Washington, DC: AED. 

Agueh, F. 2000. SAGE/Mali 2001 Implementation Plan. Washington, DC: AED. 

Agueh, F. 2001. SAGE/Guinea 2001 Action Plan. SAGE Project Consultant 
Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Ahouanmenou -Agueh, F. and E. Adotevi-Dia. 2001. SAGE/Democratic Republic 
of Congo: Conceptual Document. Washington, DC: AED. 

Bocoum, B. 2002. Partner Selection Procedure of the NGOs’ for the Follow up and 
Reinforcement of the Capacities of the Local Alliances. SAGE Project Consultant 
Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Coulibaly, K. 1999-2002. Monthly Reports. Washington, DC: AED/SAGE 

Diarra, M. and D. Fredo 2000. Vers une Participation Active des Femmes dans les 
Actions d’Education a la Base: Guide d’Animation. Kati, Mali: L’Institut pour 
I’Education Populaire (lEP). 

Dicker, H. and J. Gillies. 2001. SAGE/El Salvador: Design Document. 

Washington, DC: AED. 

Dicker, H. 2001. SAGE Project Consultant Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Dicker, H. 2002. SAGE Project Consultant Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Doukoure, A.B. 1999-2002. Monthly Reports. Washington, DC: AED/SAGE 

Doukoure, A.B., G. Mitton, and J. Jean-Charles Tiako. 2001. SAGE/Guinea 
Progress Review and Achievements Update: Management and Financial 
Procedures. Washington, DC: AED. 

Fredo, D. and M. Diarra. 2000. Gender, Participation and Change: A Report on 
Field Visits to Community School APEs and Readiness of NGO Field Agents. 
SAGE Project Consultant Report. Kati, Mali: lEP. 

Girls’ Education Unit. 2001. Resource Handbook for Girls’ Education Officers. 
Accra, Ghana: Ministry of Education. 

lEP. Group Building in Gender Awareness for Strategic Partners of SAGE Congo. 
Trip Report. Kati, Mali. 

lEP. 2001. Vers une participation effective des femmes membres des APEs. Kati, 



Multisectoral approaches in promoting girls’ education 

Kyungu Nsensele, E. 2001-2002. Monthly Reports. Washington, DC: AED/SAGE 

Mitton, G. 2002. Mali Trip Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Mitton, G. and K. Coulibaly. 2001. Mali Progress Review and Achievements 
Update. Washington, DC: AED. 

Mitton, G. and J. Jean-CharlesTiako. 2002. SAGE/Congo: Activity Planning, Team 
Building, and Office Set-Up: Trip Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Morin, R. 1999a. Technical Assistance to SAGE/GWE Guinea in Developing 
Action Plans for Local Alliances. SAGE Project Consultant Report. Washington, 

Morin, R. 1999b. Planning and Implementing the National Forum on Approaches 
and Strategy for Girls’ Education. SAGE Project Consultant Report. 

Washington, DC: AED. 

Morin, R. 2000. Local Alliance Performance Assessment — SAGE/Guinea. SAGE 
Project Consultant Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Morin, R. 2000. Formulation des plans d’actions communautaires: Guide de 
formation d’animateurs. Washington, DC: AED. 

Rihani, M. 1998. Technical Assistance Program to Support the Girls’ Education 
Activity in Guinea. Washington, DC: AED. 

Rihani, M. and K. Tietjen. 1999. Girls’ Education Activity (GEA): Mali Strategy 
and Design. Washington, DC: AED. 

Rihani, M. and C.H. Williams. 2001. SAGE/Ghana: Design Document. 
Washington, DC: AED. 

Rivas de Erazo, Marta Alicia. 2001-2002. Monthly Reports. Washington, DC: 
AED/SAGE Project. 

Rugh, A. 2000 . Starting Now: Strategies for Helping Girls Complete Primary. 
Washington, DC: AED. 

Rugh, A. and M. Habib. 1999. Report on Technical Assistance Provided to the 
SAGE Activity in Mali, June 12-July 12, 1999. Washington, DC: AED. 

Tejeda, F. 2002. SAGE Project Consultant Report. Washington, DC: AED. 

Tietjen, K. 2000. Multisectoral Support of Basic & Girls^ Education. SAGE Technical 
Report no. 2. Washington, DC: AED. 

Williams, C.H. 2001. SAGE Ghana Technical Assistance Report, September 3-21, 
2001. Washington, DC: AED. 



Williams, C.H. 2001. SAGE Ghana Technical Assistance Report, November 3-21, 
2001. Washington, DC: AED. 

Williams, H. 2001. Multisectoral Strategies for Advcmcing Girls^ Education: Principles 
& Practice. SAGE technical report no. 3. Washington, DC: AED. 










r ;' !;■■' < ' '*1:' • - ■■ 1 i ^ ^ ly-'iiu .v: ■■■. -U i ■ ' 

^ iftfSHffi nil 

t ^5 a SI: ;..:i i: t lljfci Iffj I rf ; mimmM : , J:;a ' tis? i ’Sif f : ' !;;J i :S iJIK I K 'S 


Multisectoral Approaches in Promoting Qiris’ Education 
Lessons Learned in Eive 8AQE Countries ^ 

by Andrea R.^!£h 

The report dibcribes the '^nluJti$ectoraP’ approach to prQniptiiig girls’ education 
as it was originally emdsioned b\^ USAJ.D and as it evolved into the implenienta- 
tion strategy used by the Strategies fo,i: Advancing, Girls’ Education project (SAGE) 
in its five countries. The country cases illustrate a variety of vvays the approach can 
be inipleinented in terms of differing local rationales, partners, activities, results, 
and efforts to promote sustainability The cases suggest lessons about implementa- 
tion and' present general conclusions about niultisectoral strategies as tools for 
improving the conditions for girls’ education. The report also provides guidance 
and advice for making the best use of multiscctorarapproaclies. 

Andrea Rugh, Eh.D., is a iresearcher and educator with more than thuA' yenrs of 
experience working in developing countnes ip Afirica, Asia, and the Middle East, 


phi 'If liftitr;-! , 

ISfi! ji k'lli-H i'll ii-'i''! : i:'i ! 


U.S. Department of Education 

Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) 
National Library of Education (NLE) 

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) 


(Specific Document) 


=r.r. " to disseminate as widely as possible timely and significant materials of Interest to the educational communitydocuments 
ann^nced In the monthly abstr^joumal of the ERIC systemResources in Education{R\E). are usually made available to usere to microfiche 
reprodured paper copy, and electronic media, and sold through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). Credit is oiveo the source’ 
of each document, and. if reproduction release Is granted, one of the following notices is affixed to the document ^ 

at the botom^ofttil pag^ reproduce and disseminate the identified document, please CHECK ONE of the following threqafions and sign 

The sample sticker shown below wUt be 
affixed to all Level 1 documents 




Check here for Level 1 release, permitting 
reproduction and dissemination in microfiche or 
other ERIC archival media (e.g., electnonic)9nd 
paper copy. 

The sample sticker shown below wilt bo 
affixed to all Level 2A documents 


— stf”** 



Level 2A 


Check here for Level 2A release, permitting reproduction 
and dissemination In microfiche and in electronic media for 
ERIC archival collection subscribers only 

The sample sticker shown below will be 
affixed to ail Level 2B documents 




Level 2B 


Check here for Level 2B release, permitting reproductiori 
and dissemination in microfiche only 

. ^ l^lcated provided ropiduction quality permits. 

If permission to reproduce is granted, but no box is checked, documents W be processed at Level 1 . 

intormation Canter (ERIC) nonexclusive permission to reproduce and disseminate Ihitocumentl 
microfiche or electronic media by persons other than ERIC employees a^its s^^ 

copyright holder. Exception Is made for non-profit reproduction by libraries and otheervice agents 
to satisfy infirmation needs of educators in response to discrete inquiries. anu omeennce agencies 

Signature: . 

/<^i t 

^ Con n e^c/r cfe</ ^ 

ftjjl C_ ^ ooo 5 

Prinjed Nanne/Positlonmtie: | 7 ^ 

ki'knM /Senior l/P 

^ FAX: ~ 





?/^ c 


If permission to reproduce is not granted to ERIC, or, if you wish ERIC to cite the availability of the document from another source, 
please provide the following information regarding the availability of the document. (ERIC will not announce a document unless it is 
publicly available, and a dependable source can be specified. Contributors should also be aware that ERIC selection criteria are 
significantly more stringent for documents that cannot be made available through EDRS.) 





If the right to grant this reproduction release is held by someone other than the addressee, please provide the appropriate name and 



C? w. 1 ^ (J t' i/!^ 

D C jooo 



Send this form to the following ERiC Clearinghouse: 2005 E. Tenth Street, #1 20 

Bloomington, IN 47408 

However, if solicited by the ERIC Facility, or if making an unsolicited contribution to ERIC, return this form (and the document beina 
contributed) to: ' a 

EFF-088 (Rev. 2/2001) 

ERIC Processing and Reference Facility 
4483-A Forbes Boulevard 
Lanham, Maryland 20706 

Toll Free: