DEF, with support from the British Council in India, is glad to announce the successful introduction of the English and Digital for Girls’ Education (EDGE) programme at 23 locations of India. A ceremony to commemorate the same was held on the sidelines of Prayag at Surajkund Ground, Faridabad, on February 25, 2017. EDGE envisions empowering adolescent girls from marginalised communities to make more informed and independent life choices in order to contribute fully to family, the economy and the society; to have improved English proficiency, digital skills and awareness of social issues among young girls.
The programme also aims to improve leadership skills in smaller groups of peer leaders drawn from the same community of adolescent girls.
The commemorative ceremony was held in the presence of Amy Lightfoot, Assistant Director English Partnerships – Academic Quality Assurance (India) who gave the opening address. This was followed by interactions with beneficiaries who spoke about how the course has changed their lives, by instilling confidence in them and equipping them with key skills.
Talking about pilot phase of the project, DEF Founder-Director Osama Manzar says, “EDGE is one of the most empowering programmes that we have implemented in the villages of India, instilling serious confidence and imparting functional digital literacy among rural adolescent girls. Several of our girls, who took the EDGE programme, became successful and skillful social leaders.”
EDGE was first piloted at five Community Information Resource Centres (CIRCs) of Delhi and Rajasthan. A total of 93 adolescent girls were enrolled for the programme, and they had to undergo a 40-hour course. The success of the pilot led to its expansion into the Foundation Phase in September 2016. This phase aimed at covering 19 districts across 12 states, reaching out to 575 girls through 23 CIRCs. Under the EDGE programme, every girls goes through a systematic and rigorous learning phase that spans across four months and covers a specially-designed course prepared by the British Council.
Alan Gemmell OBE, British Council Director India says, “We are delighted to collaborate with DEF in contributing to the empowerment of girls in 23 CIRCs across India. EDGE aims to build their confidence and aspirations and develop them as agents of change. Every girl deserves a chance and we hope that going forward, this programme will foster gender equality and reach out to many more girls nurturing their potential and transforming their lives”.
The programme now aims to raise 23 leaders among the 575 girls, who will then be trained to facilitate the learning of many more adolescent girls in the respective communities, thus creating an endless chain of women leaders. DEF also wishes to eventually expand the programme to all its 170+ CIRCs across India with need-based and increasing levels of English and digital & social skill inputs.