Impact / News


May 14, 2021

United World Schools

3 mins

Covid-19 has been the largest global disruptor to education in modern history. The pandemic has had an impact on the education of all children, but especially girls, particularly those who due to poverty, disability or conflict are most at risk of being left behind.

Working to provide education for the most remote and marginalised communities in Asia, United World Schools welcomes the G7 pledge to get 40 million more girls in school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years. If we want to change the world for the better, girls’ education is the place to start. We stand in support of these #SDG4 milestone objectives.

United World Schools believes that all children deserve safe, quality education. That’s why for the past 12 years we’ve been working in some of the world’s poorest regions, operating in remote communities to provide previously out-of-school children with access to primary education. Providing hard to reach girls with access to education has always been part of what we do, and is central to our mission to transform lives through education. 

Across Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, we work with rural communities, who are often ethnic minorities, relying on subsistence farming with little support from the central government. Many of these communities have never had access to education, and opportunities for children and young people to live a more prosperous life than their parents, are few.

Girls in these communities face additional disadvantages. Many families are not familiar with the culture of formal education, and do not see the value in sending their daughters to school. Many girls are encouraged to marry early and start a family. After the onset of puberty and menstruation, many girls drop out of school, even if they had started attending, due to social taboos, inequitable learning environments and pressures to start a family. What’s more, it’s often unsafe for girls to travel long distances to and from school, due to the threat of gender-based violence. 

Overcoming these barriers, and giving girls access to safe, quality education is central to our goal to reach 250,000 children with inclusive, quality education by 2030. 

In order to ensure the education we provide is inclusive, we take a nuanced approach, recognising the multiple barriers that many of the children we work with face due to factors such as gender, disability, poverty, ethnicity and language. Inclusive education is central to our model. From the outset, we only work in communities that want a school and commit to sending both girls and boys, increasing the value attached to education by families and communities. Through our WASH facilities and safeguarding measures (for which we have just been accredited by Keeping Children Safe) we ensure the school environment is safe for girls and considers their needs. We hire and train community teachers who teach children in a language they understand (initially the local language) and use positive, child-centred teaching methods. We collect school data to improve school quality and to help us identify and support the children who are most at risk of dropping out. 

Providing 40 million more girls with education will help empower a generation of girls to follow their dreams, achieve their goals, and lead change. We particularly welcome the focus on the most marginalised and vulnerable girls, who are the most at risk of being left behind, and who have already paid the highest price in terms of education as a result of Covid-19. All girls, including girls with disabilities, girls living in areas of conflict and crisis and ethnic minority girls should be given equitable access to education. 

As UWS welcomes even more supporters to the UWS family each day, we also welcome significant financial commitments from G7 leaders to back up this pledge at a global level. The most marginalised girls will only be reached, and supported to access education, with significant financing of education initiatives including catch up initiatives, improved maths and literacy programmes, improved WASH facilities, nutrition programmes, and social protection. We will continue to work to deliver inclusive education, and to transform children’s lives.

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