EAA Partnership Hopes to Enrol Nearly 1M out of School Children Through Cash Transfers
The global education foundation, Education Above All (EAA) has partnered with the Asia Development Bank to enrol 960,000 of some of Pakistan’s poorest Out Of School Children (OSSC) into primary education over the next four years. The new partnership is part of a concerted effort to bring the country’s most marginalized children into primary level education and comes off the back of EAA’s already remarkable track record of enrolling over 10.7 million children into education across the world.
Pakistan is facing serious education challenges with one third of 5-16 year olds, 22.8 million children, out of school. Gender inequality, mountainous geography and poverty are counted as the country’s most significant barriers to education.
The EAA-ADB project will work within Pakistan’s existing integrated social protection programme, known as the Benazir Income Support Programme (BSIP), which seeks to strengthen and expand the Pakistan social protection system by facilitating access to health services, nutrition, and social protection. Through BSIP, the joint EAA-ADB project targets the hardest to reach children in the country’s most marginalised families. It facilitates Pakistan’s ability to provide conditional financial support to marginalized mothers of OSSC who enrol their children in primary education. Women are often the family members responsible for their children’s education and putting cash in their hands not only helps gender equity, but also increases the chances that children can go to school instead of work. The project also aims to bolster school attendance for girls through additional cash incentives for their enrolment. Currently, for every 100 Pakistani boys who are OSSC there are 144 OSSC girls.
Education Above All’s project, with financial contributions from Qatar Fund for Development and implementation by ADB, is testament to EAA’s commitment to educate every child through strategic partnerships. EAA’s track record shows that the most effective way to eliminate the barriers to education is to work cooperatively across sectors.
“We are excited to partner with Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank to provide almost one million more children with the opportunity of a quality primary education, no matter their circumstances, gender or geographic location. The project will implement a conditional cash transfers approach to help address one of the most significant barriers to education for children – poverty,” explained Dr Mary Joy Pigozzi, Executive Director of Education Above All’s Educate A Child programme.
While education is key to achieving the SDGs set out by the United Nations, many countries have still not reached universal primary education. As it stands, more than 59 million primary-aged children are out of school worldwide.