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.
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.