Girls’ Education Challenge: Lessons Learnt

On Wednesday evening, British Expertise International were delighted to host a panel discussion on the FCDO’s flagship programme the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) alongside the alliance partners including Cambridge Education Mott MacDonald, Social Development Direct, PwC, Nathan Associates, and Tetra Tech International Development.

The GEC was launched by the legacy Department for International Development, now the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in 2012 as a 12-year commitment to reach and transform the lives of the most marginalised girls around the world through quality education and learning. 

The session began with an introduction from Kate Jeffries, the Education Advisor on the FCDO Girls' Education Programme Team. We were provided with an overview of GEC since its inception in 2012 and its two phases. We heard from PwC on their responsibilities in the area of financial and risk management and their learnings, as well as Cambridge Education Mott MacDonald who provided a comprehensive overview of the outcomes achieved by the GEC to date, while also bringing to our attention the recent publication of the Learning Brief Series. This series includes insightful analyses on the key factors that have contributed to the success of the GEC, as well as the value for money and recommendations for each of its core projects.

 Social Development Direct presented on the GEC safeguarding operations for which they were responsible for including their operating model which is still in place to date and their lessons learnt. This was followed on by Nathan who provided an overview of their approach to evaluating the projects and reflections around payments by results and integrating monitoring with evaluation. Finally, Tetra Tech International Development closed the session with their reflections as the independent evaluator over the 2 Phases on their experiences, the unique and challenging contexts they worked in and the takeaways derived from their time on the Programme. 

Although we were advised that there will not be a Phase 3 of the GEC, the FCDO team reassured us that the education of women and girls remains a fundamental aspect of their mission. 

Questions around the sustainability of the GEC projects and the ability to scale them up were asked, and we were provided with great examples of how certain projects have triggered off nation-wide reform on girls’ education in their countries of operation. 

We are looking forward to continuing working closely with colleagues from the FCDO’s Women and Girls team by discussing and exploring further implementation of the recently launched Women and Girls strategy which focuses on 3 thematic priorities: educating girls, empowering women and girls, championing their health and rights, and ending gender-based violence. 

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