Educate Girls

Educate Girls’ is a non-profit organization in India, established in 2007, founded by Safeena Husain, that works towards girls' education in India's rural and educationally backward areas by mobilising communities.[1][2][3]

It currently operates in over 13,000 villages in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.[4] By leveraging the Government’s existing investment in schools and by engaging with a huge base of community volunteers, Educate Girls helps to identify, enrol and retain out-of-school girls and to improve foundational skills in literacy and numeracy for all children (both girls and boys).[5][6] Since its inception in 2007, the organization has reached over 6.7 million total beneficiaries, and has helped mobilise communities to enrol close to 380,000 out-of-school girls in school.[7]

Executive summary

Educate Girls is a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports girls’ education in the remotest and rural and educationally backward part of India[8].[9] It works in partnership with the Government of India and operates in 18,000 villages of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and engages with a huge base of community volunteers and in the process helps to identify, enroll, retain out-of-school girls and improve foundational skills in literacy and numeracy for all children.[8] The organisation had announced in 2020 as its selection in list of HundrED 2021 Global Collection organised by Internationally renowned Finland-based global not for profit education HundrED which discovers, researches, and shares inspiring innovations in K12 education, and is an annual Global Collection highlighting 100 of the most impactful innovations in K12 education from around the world and Educate Girls’ innovation was reviewed by 150 Academy members consisting of academics, educators, innovators, funders and leaders from over 50 countries.[8]

Educate Girls creates community ownership to help communities to prioritize girls' education. The model includes the following elements:[10][11]

Safeena Hussain had been born and brought up in New Delhi and holds a B.S. from the London School of Economics and was always been committed to girls’ education in India and abroad and has worked extensively in this area even in the third-world countries of South America, Africa and Asia and had also been elected as one of the Asia 21 Young Leaders by the Asia Society.[12]

Facilitating community ownership through team Balika

Educate Girls has over 13,000 Team Balika (community volunteers) who work as champions for girls' education in their respective villages.[13] Team Balika members work with Government schools as well as village communities to spread awareness on girl child education.[14] Team Balika are trained in community mobilization & outreach (door-to-door surveys, enrolment activities, conducting community meetings), learning curriculum (GKP) implementation, leadership and motivation.[15] They are mostly between the ages of 18-30 and are often among the most educated members of their communities. Each Team Balika is given continuous training and hand-holding by Educate Girls throughout the year to facilitate their efforts.[16]

Increasing girls' enrolment

After using existing Government data and door-to-door surveys (conducted by Educate Girls) to identify out-of-school girls in the area, responsibility is then distributed between the village leaders, elders, school administration, Team Balika and Educate Girls' staff to bring girls back to school.[17][18] This often involves going door-to-door to convince parents to send their girls to school and rallying the community through Gram Shiksha Sabha’s and Mohalla Meetings.[15][14]

Supporting school administration

At village meetings a 15-member council is elected to form the School Management Committee (SMC). This consists of parents, teachers and village leaders and is responsible for school governance and administration. Educate Girls handholds the committee members and provides them with support to prepare and execute School Improvement Plans (SIPs) and conduct school assessments.[19][20]

Improving learning outcomes

Educate Girls trains its Team Balika (community volunteers) to implement a remedial learning curriculum, with the use of specially designed kits, called Gyan ka Pitara (GKP).[21] The learning tools focus on building micro-competencies in English, Hindi and Math for children in Grades 3, 4 and 5. The GKP accounts for the needs of marginalised children and uses interactive tools, activities and games, and worksheets for individual children in the classroom, ensuring that no child is left behind. Tests are conducted before and after curriculum implementation to assess learning levels.[4][22][23]

Creation of girl leaders

Educate Girls facilitates the election of (Girls' Councils) in every upper primary school. This 13-member council gives girls a leadership position within the school and training in life skills to boost communication, leadership and problem solving skills.[24]


A small local team, led by Safeena Husain, conducted the initial test project in 50 schools of Pali district in Rajasthan. This 50-school project was launched under the umbrella of the Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI).[25][26][27] The initiative started with 500 schools in 2008 to over 4,425 schools in 2013, with an aim to promote girls’ education in rural Rajasthan and Safeena designed a sustainable model where the whole community works hand in hand to enroll girls into government schools and the initiative became successful due to community involvement.[12]

After successful completion of the test phase, the organization was independently registered in 2007 and won government approval to start a pilot project in 500 schools in 2008, working with 70,000 children in the Bali, Sumerpur and Rani blocks of Pali district with the cooperation and support extended by partners like UNICEF, Pratham Rajasthan, SERVE and Dream Catchers Foundation.[25][21][28][third-party source needed]

In 2017, the organisation working to provide the social impact of the Development Impact Bond (DIB), received £238,000 in capital from the UBS Optimus Foundation in order to deliver its objectives.[29] The Educate Girls Development Impact Bond is a performance-based structure where The service provider (Educate Girls) delivers social impact to a targeted population, the investor (UBS Optimus) who provides the upfront working capital required for the implementation of the project and the outcome payer (The Children’s Investment Trust) pays the investor on the success of the project against an agreed impact evaluation metrics.[29]

Area of work

With community mobilization and sustainability as the guiding parameters, the NGO aims to:

  • Enhance enrollment and retention of girls through individual tracking, community mobilization and quality improvement.
  • Reduce gender disparity in schools and project areas, and improve the level of life skills and competency of the girl.
  • Ensure increased participation of children, families and communities in plans and actions for holistic education.


  • Over 380,000 girls brought back to school.
  • 90% girls’ retention.[30]
  • 150,000 active girl leaders.[31]
  • Over 13,000 active Team Balika members.
  • 6.7 total beneficiaries.
  • Launched world’s first DIB (Development Impact Bond)[32] in the education sector with UBS Optimus Foundation [33] and CIFF which on its completion in 2018, surpassed both its target outcomes.[34]

Since 2007 Educate Girl had enrolled over 750,000 girls in schools and improving learning outcomes for over 1.3 million children and they are well-known for the world’s first Development Impact Bond and becoming the first Audacious Project in Asia.[8]


Educate Girls has received the following awards:

  • Dasra Village Capital award in 2010.[12]
  • 3rd EdelGive Social Social Innovation Honors 2011.[12]
  • The World Bank’s India Development Marketplace award in 2011.[12]
  • Millennium Alliance Award, 2014.[35]
  • WISE Award for innovation in Education, 2014.[36]
  • Stars Impact Award 2014.
  • India's Most Ethical Companies Award 2015.[37]
  • Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship 2015 – to Safeena Husain.[38]
  • Nasscom Foundation Social Innovation Award 2016.[39]
  • NDTV-L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Award 2016 – to Safeena Husain.[40]
  • ET Prime Women Leadership Award 2019 – to Safeena Husain.[41]

See also


  1. ^ Novel project may improve prospects of girl child education The Hindu, Jun 26, 2011
  2. ^ Educate Girls: Official Impact Numbers[permanent dead link] Educate Girls, 2014
  3. ^ When Girls Returned to the Classroom India Today, December 15, 2014
  4. ^ a b How India’s First Development Impact Bond Transformed the Lives of over 7000 Rural Kids
  5. ^ "Dr. Shamika Ravi director of Research brookings India congratulates Educate girls". 30 August 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  6. ^ "In Rajasthan, this NGO is getting boys campaign for girls education". Firstpost. April 17, 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  7. ^ "When girls returned to the classroom". India Today. December 5, 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d "Educate Girls Among the World's 100 Most Inspiring Innovations in K12 Education". 13 November 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  9. ^ "The Bond that is Educating Girls Across India". 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  10. ^ Educate Girls: What We Do[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Can Machine Learning Double Your Social Impact?". Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Educate Girls - Enabling Communities In Rural Rajasthan To Send Their Daughters To School". The Better India. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
  13. ^ "'Who Will Look After The Goats?': How a 9-YO Girl Battled All Odds For Education". The Better India. October 11, 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b "The cause of girl child education is close to my heart: Safeena Husain, Educate Girls". 3 October 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Here's how Development Impact Bond helped Mumbai's Safeena Husain and her NGO". Mumbai Mirror. September 9, 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Educating India's Girls: It Takes a Community". World Bank Group. June 1, 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Development impact bond results in education announced". Business Line. August 30, 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  18. ^ "The Educate Girls DIB exceeded its goals: How did they do it and what does it mean?". 13 July 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Here are 15 projects helping educate needy children". Daily News and Analysis. December 30, 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani to present Women Transforming India Awards". August 29, 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  21. ^ a b Educating The Girl Child In India 10 October, 2018
  22. ^ Educate Girls CLT Report 2014-15
  23. ^ Educate Girls - Creative Learning and Teaching (CLT) , April 30, 2013
  24. ^ "The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum". January 5, 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Lessons from Educate Girls DIB are for everyone: Safeena Husain, Founder & Executive Director, Educate Girls". The Financial Express (India). October 15, 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  26. ^ "A Review of the Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI)".
  27. ^ Rajasthan Education Initiative Archived 2013-03-01 at the Wayback Machine Government of Rajasthan Official Website
  28. ^ "Educate Girls: History". Archived from the original on 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  29. ^ a b Basu, Ranajoy (7 March 2017). "How impact investors are helping to educate girls in India | Reuters Events | Sustainable Business". Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  30. ^ "5 Women On A Crusade To Empower The Girl Child". January 24, 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  31. ^ "Helping girls to study rather than become child brides". BBC News Online. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  32. ^ "UBS puts Indian girls into school - and makes a profit". Reuters. July 13, 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  33. ^ "What can we learn from the results of the world's first development impact bond in education?". July 13, 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  34. ^ "Education Development Impact Bond". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  35. ^ "Women of Worth: About the Nominee - Safeena Husain".
  36. ^ "2014 Wise Awards".
  37. ^ webthemez. "India's Most Ethical Companies Conference & Awards". Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  38. ^ (2015-04-27), Safeena Husain - Educate Girls - 2015 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, retrieved 2016-12-27
  39. ^ "Forbes India Magazine - NASSCOM Social Innovation Forum aims to impact 1 billion lives by 2020". Forbes India. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  40. ^ "Women of Worth: About the Awardee - Safeena Husain". Women Of Worth. 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-12-27.
  41. ^ Mar 2019, ET Online | 29; Ist, 11:03 Pm. "ETPWLA 2019: Safeena Husain of Educate Girls Foundation receives 'Beyond Business' award". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2021-04-25.