Improving Girls' Learning

Raising girls’ school enrolment, retention and performance in rural Ethiopia.

What we achieved

marginalised girls benefited from the project
primary schools participated in the project
community members participating in school performance appraisal meetings
teachers trained in topics including gender responsive pedagogy, maths, English, and resource use

Girls’ grades improved because of tutorial classes. We used to beg male students to help us. Now we learn freely in tutorial classes and our teachers assist us

Senior girl
increase in girls’ reading fluency assessment scores, on average, against the project’s targets when compared to non-project schools
increase in girls’ numeracy assessment scores, on average, against the project’s targets when compared to non-project schools
Girls’ attendance improved by 27% relative to attendance at comparison schools
of parents felt that their community’s attitudes were more favourable to girls attending secondary school, compared to only 19% of parents in comparison schools


Girls living in rural Ethiopia have low levels of academic achievement caused by poor quality education, household poverty, negative attitudes towards girls’ education and the challenges of adolescence. This is further undermined by gender bias in teaching methods, school resources, the curricula and the way schools are designed.

Link is committed to tackling gender inequality in education to help girls achieve more, escape poverty and work towards a brighter future.

I have realised that our girls can be big leaders of the country and for this they need to be well educated

Junior girl’s parent

Aims and objectives

The starting point of this project was to engage with girls, teachers, headteachers, parents, community leaders and government education officials and ask them to identify barriers preventing girls from attending and succeeding in school.

From this, we developed a combination of interventions that addressed these challenges and supported systemic change to construct an environment that transformed girls’ education.

This model is scalable across Ethiopia and in other contexts, as the key obstacles addressed by the project are common to many other regions and countries.

The project changed our lives forever. It brings change for a lifetime. They have given what cannot be lost, no one can take it away from us

Female teacher

How we got there

We took a holistic approach to improving girls’ education with an emphasis on sustainability and social accountability. Our activities aligned to Ethiopian Ministry of Education policy and were implemented in partnership with Ethiopian government offices to embed ownership and strengthen existing systems.

The most effective activities were:

  • Girls’ clubs and mother groups
  • Gender responsive teaching methods
  • Supporting community accountability with a focus on gender
  • Building government capacity
  • Encouraging community attitude and behavioural change
  • Guidance and counselling for improved self-esteem
  • Upgraded latrines and reusable sanitary pads, underwear and soap