Peer Group Leader Training, Nuwara Eliya

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights dictates the collective right to education. However, girls and women in South Asian countries have comparatively less access to education and digital skills than men and boys. The issues result in a gender based digital divide, leading to future skills imbalances and less favourable life chances for women. 

Through partner organisations, the British Council has established networks of non-formal community-based girls clubs which are effective in reducing barriers, developing girls’ English and digital skills and increasing educational, social and economic opportunity. These clubs have so far reached over 14,780 adolescent girls across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 

After completing a scoping study in 2022, the first EDGE pilot was run in Sri Lanka between January and May 2023. This covered three districts – Nuwara Eliya, Puttalam, and Colombo (Slave Island). 30 peer group leaders were trained to deliver clubs to 120 girls in their areas. EDGE then expanded to cover the additional districts of Monaragala and Matale. Now there are 60 peer group leaders delivering clubs to 720 girls.

Programme objective

The programme aims to improve the life prospects of 780 adolescent girls in socio-economically marginalised communities in Sri Lanka. It will achieve this by 

  • Enhancing participants’ English proficiency, digital skills and awareness of social issues and building their self confidence.
  • Improving the leadership skills of a smaller group of peer leaders drawn from the same communities of adolescent girls. 


EDGE involves parents and local community members throughout the programme by sharing meetings and inviting observation of club sessions. Our safeguarding policies are in clear alignment with global and regional agenda. The outcomes of the programme are clearly aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and Sri Lanka’s plans for developing young people’s skills. 

Results are achieved in partnership

The programme works in partnership with local implementing partners, drawing on local expertise, strengthening existing networks and systems and sharing knowledge to ensure maximum impact for beneficiaries.

Peer Group Leader Training 

Main features of EDGE

A peer-led model

Peer group leaders are 13 to 19-year-old girls who are selected because of their levels of confidence, motivation and levels of English. EDGE clubs are led by these peer group leaders who are trained by British Council trainers to manage the clubs in their community. This ensures that the model: 

• Sustainable and scalable: as there are potential peer group leaders in every community, it is possible to replicate the model in new areas. As we work with local partners, sustainability is increased as the model becomes embedded in the local context. 

• Positive impact: peer group leaders provide positive role models for those in the clubs and in their communities. The development of positive female role models has an impact on the programme’s aim to develop the girls’ ability to make their own choices in life.

Safe space for girls to learn

Our clubs provide a safe space for girls to interact and learn because: 

• Clubs are community-based and supported by community leaders and families.

• Girls do not need to commute in environments where even travel to school can be long and potentially dangerous.

• The peer-led model means these safe spaces are places where girls can express themselves without judgement or harm which may not exist in other public environments.

Learning is integrated and contextualised

The programme combines English, digital and social skills development. These skills will be developed through high-quality learning materials which have been specially designed by the British Council for this programme and the target audience. The whole programme is underpinned by a structured syllabus.

Parents and community members are actively involved 

EDGE involves parents and local community members throughout the programme by sharing meetings and inviting observation of club sessions.