Through this outcome, participatory approaches are used to identify key protection issues faced by students and teachers at the school, while at the same time developing community led solutions. The activities strengthen community, parent, teacher and student collaboration in understanding protection issues and through the process, is mobilized to actively break down social norms and mitigate against other barriers to creat a safe school for all children. The approach builds on the participatory ‘reflect’ model whereby the stakeholders themselves (students, teachers, parents and relevant community members) are guided to reflect upon the key protection issues/threats faced by themselves in and around the school environment and then are supported through a facilitated process to develop school-based strategies to mitigate against these threats. Strategies are developed and articulated through a ‘School Improvement Plan’ which includes actions to address the following 4 layers of the protective environment of the school:
Once the school improvement plan has been finalised, financial support is sought for schools to implement the plans with the leadership of the school and student led groups – such as the student council. The facilitated process identifies key common strategies at schools in order to facilitate inter-school learning and collaboration to improve support networks between schools and enhance student-led mobilisation against negative practices and gender inequalities.
A major hindrance to effective life skills training is negative teacher attitude and lack of essential skills in promoting gender responsive training. The project facilitates the training of teachers on life skills and gender-based methodologies, provide teaching and learning materials of LSE as well as target building the capacity of selected community-based groups involved in school management. Head teachers are supported to effectively implement the re-admission policy. Furthermore, re-admitted girls are provided with catch up mentorship sessions/classes to improve their performance.
A communication and community mobilization strategy is drawn from the Project Girls’ Education Communication Strategy developed and implemented to support for the project. The overall result is to reduce the environmental and socio-cultural factors that cause girl children to drop out from school or result in low attendance, retention and transition. The focus is on knowledge attitudes, practices and behaviours which impact on girls’ participation in education. Key actors are; Community traditional leaders, teachers and school management authorities and the media. The project will ensure development of role models, guardians, mentors and supportive/protective leaders, thus providing a conducive environment which addresses current social cultural barriers as well as school-based constraints. The strategies include the following: A tripartite campaign comprising mobilization and advocacy with Teachers/Head teachers Unions, National and district organizations for traditional, leaders and the media around best practices, plans, codes of conduct, school and community policies and bylaws which address barriers and protect girls as well as provide role models.