Dates: 1998 – present
In rural Nepal, two-thirds of adolescent girls are not enrolled in formal schools. These illiterate, out-of-school girls are destined for lives of low status and limited opportunities. In 1998, World Education began the Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) Program by developing a nine-month literacy curriculum that integrates adolescent health and girls’ empowerment information with literacy training. As girls learn how to read, write and do basic mathematics, they learn about basic nutrition, reproductive health, the consequences of early marriage, early pregnancy, unsafe sex, STIs, and HIV/AIDS. World Education developed a series of booklets for the program that focus on the dangers of trafficking, child rights, and safe migration.
Out-of-school girls who participate in nonformal education programs like GATE achieve a basic primary education. This is an extraordinary and life-changing accomplishment for a low-status, illiterate girl, but it is only half the story. Many GATE graduates re-enroll into the formal school system or participate in vocational or practical skills training to continue their education.
In some of the districts where GATE classes are being given, parents have the opportunity to participate in local Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs). As these PTA members gain management skills and learn how to help students maximize their learning, they are in a position to assist the GATE graduates who transition to the formal school system. Recently, the GATE Program has also developed practical vocational training alternatives for girls who graduate from GATE, but who choose not to enroll in school. Included among these alternatives is the Self-Employment Education Program (SEEP), which teaches girls basic savings and credit principles, and gives them capacity to start their own small businesses.