Educate Girls | 2019

Educate Girls

A community-led solution empowering one million Indian girls to enter the classroom

When girls get an education, their lives improve — as do the lives of their families and communities. Educate Girls has a bold plan to get 1.6 million girls in India into school, by going door-to-door in 35,000 villages and working to change collective mindsets.

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The Problem

For every year that a girl is enrolled in school, she is more likely to avoid early marriage and to survive childbirth. She will be less likely to suffer domestic violence, or be trafficked, and will have a higher future income. She will have a smaller, healthier family and will be 50% more likely to immunize her kids. She’ll leave her mark on future generations, as climate scientists rank girls’ education as number six out of 80 actions that can reverse global warming. And she’ll be twice as likely to educate her own girls — keeping the cycle going. Yet despite all these proven economic and societal benefits, across the globe, millions of girls are still excluded from school because of their gender. India is home to one of the largest such populations, with more than 4.1 million girls outside the classroom.

Big Idea

Girls’ education has always been an urgent matter, but now — unlike ever before — advanced analytics can reveal exactly where the problem of out-of-school girls is most concentrated. This data can guide smart strategies to target those areas. Educate Girls, a nonprofit taking on gender inequality in education in India, has built a predictive model that shows just 5% of the country’s villages are home to 40% of the out-of-school girl population — a staggering 1.6 million girls who aren’t currently in school. With support from The Audacious Project, Educate Girls will focus on those specific villages, and deliver a significant blow to almost half of India’s elementary education gender gap in just five years.


Educate Girls works district-to-district and village-to-village, creating educational pathways for girls by seeking fundamental shifts in local norms. Through The Audacious Project, they will work in 35,000 villages, mobilizing field staff and a large team of local volunteers to knock on every door and identify every out-of-school girl. Using a smartphone app, these workers will collect data — and insights from it will help Educate Girls build a plan to change collective mindset, using tactics like individual counseling for parents and holding neighborhood and village-level meetings. Once girls are enrolled in school, Educate Girls will track them to make sure they stay there — and they’ll repeat the process until they’ve achieved success. At the same time, through its volunteers, Educate Girls will provide schools with a remedial curriculum that supplements the government’s and strengthens confidence in these new students and their classmates. Collectively and at scale, these efforts will permanently disrupt India’s education gender gap and set an entire generation of young women — and their communities — on the path to a brighter future.

Why will this succeed?

Since 2007, Educate Girls has grown from a 50-village test project to a 13,000-village movement, working at a scale greater than the education ministries of many small countries. Their network of community volunteers and field staff has enrolled more than 380,000 girls in public elementary schools, with a 90% retention rate. Learning outcomes have risen by an average of 25% to 30% for students of all genders thanks to their remedial curriculum. Leveraging advanced analytics, their team now has a comprehensive, codified, scalable model that delivers behavior change. And their method has been successfully adapted to fit a wide variety of environments.

Project Impact

Recent Updates


London Business School

How data is focusing efforts to educate girls in India

How data is focusing efforts to educate girls in India

Every day in India, more than 4 million girls aged between seven and fourteen fail to show up at school. Why? In almost every case, the reason is simply their gender. As Husain puts it, for many families, “it’s rooted very much in a mindset where you believe that a goat is an asset and a girl is a liability.”

June 10, 2019
A Educated Girls volunteer enrolling girls in school in a village in India paints a doorA Educated Girls volunteer enrolling girls in school in a village in India paints a door

The Audacious Project

When schools closed their doors, Educate Girls brought school to the girl.

When schools closed their doors, Educate Girls brought school to the girl.

Team Balika, Educate Girls' volunteer outreach team is enrolling girls in school (and keeping them there).

October 7, 2022

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