Empowering girls to change their world

Launched in 2012 in partnership with BRAC Bangladesh, as English and ICT for Adolescent Girls, the project has now further developed into English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE), which aims to improve the life prospects of adolescent girls in socio-economically marginalised communities in Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

The programme focuses on enhancing participants’ English proficiency, digital skills and awareness of social issues. As a result, they will be better able to make more informed and independent life choices, as is their right, in order to contribute more fully to the family, the economy and society. In addition, the programme aims to improve the leadership skills of a smaller group of peer leaders drawn from the same communities of adolescent girls.

Our vision is that adolescent girls from marginalised communities can make more informed and independent life choices, as is their right, in order to contribute fully to the family, the economy and society.

In 2015-16, British Council India partnered with local organisations Naandi Foundation and Digital Empowerment Foundation in 13 centres to deliver a project to adolescent girls from marginalised communities in after-school, non-formal, safe spaces in their communities. Participants developed English and digital skills using self-access learning resources installed on laptops. Speaking and writing skills were strengthened by the use of an accompanying workbook. In addition, a series of flashcards and games developed grammar, functional language and vocabulary skills.

This year we extend our partnership and increase both the scale and reach of the project to a total of 75 urban, rural and peri-urban centres across the country such as Telegana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttarkhand. Club members may meet twice a week, or more frequently, for a session that lasts between one and three hours. In each club there are two PGLs responsible for organising learning activities and working with the club members. As PGLs are drawn from the same group as the club members they share the same background and can better empathise and relate to the issues participants face. Depending on partner requirements and existing set-up, there may also be co-ordinators supporting PGLs as mentors or coaches.

The programme begins with a 90-hour Foundation Phase which covers basic English and digital skills, Club activities are interactive and focus mainly on developing English communication and digital skills along with the development of core skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and citizenship. Social issues are brought to the fore through the memorable videos following the story of Meena developed by UNICEF. In addition, club content includes songs with actions, language games, practice of dialogues in pairs and groups, stories, video clips, and tasks involving the creation of documents and presentations using electronic devices. The Foundation Phase will be followed by Consolidation and Extension Phases and aim to provide club participants with more than three hundred hours of content over a two year period.

EDGE - using LearnEnglish for Schools digital content
EDGE learners using the LearnEnglish for Schools self-access resource ©

British Council

If you would like to know more about the programme or partner with us, please write to Nataasha Southwell, Senior Project Manager, English and Digital for Girls’ Education.