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As part of the World Bank's efforts to enhance women's participation in economic development, the Economic Development Institute (EDI) is working to demonstrate to policymakers the advantages of educating girls, to help planners and educators design effective approaches, and to educate the broader public about the social and economic benefits of educating girls. Bangladesh, Malawi and Pakistan all have severe problems of access to education. In describing the activities of these three governments and their partnerships with multilateral organizations and with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as they make attempts to equalize the participation of girls and boys in school, this booklet draws lessons that will be of value to policymakers in other countries. The experiences of these countries reveal factors and processes that are likely to be important in successful attempts to equalize access to schooling, including: (i) that the government's role is key, but that it must work in partnership with NGOs and the community; (ii) when planning, that it is necessary to envision a demand-supply interaction; (iii) that countries must identify appropriate packages of girl-friendly measures, and consciously target girls; and (iv) that implementation is important. This study also found that efforts to improve the education of girls contributed to broader improvements in the education system and to other areas of cooperation between NGOs and the government. Efforts to eliminate obstacles to girls' education prompted actions to eliminate obstacles to the education of boys and to improve the overall quality of education. In spite of this, policymakers must face the question of whether these initiatives to expand and improve the education of girls generate benefits that exceed the costs. This study did not collect program cost data. The EDI hopes that lessons from these countries will guide government officials and NGOs in other countries as they increase their efforts to let education unlock the full human potential of girls.

Publisher: World Bank

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