New Study Shows Educating Boys About Gender Violence in Africa Improves Educational Performance for Girls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2017

Contact:
Meghan Tisinger
Media@AsanteAfrica.org

Oakland, California — A new study released today by Asante Africa Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating African youth, shows that teaching boys about gender-based violence and sexual transmitted diseases has led to girls performing better in schools in Eastern Africa. The Wezesha Vijana Study showed that in schools where boys were taught about gender discrimination, girls’ attendance increased by 80% and their dropout rate decreased by 74%.
 
“Educating a girl is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote development and economic growth in a country. However, in Eastern Africa, girls are more likely to become child brides than complete eighth grade,” said Erna Grasz, Founder of Asante Africa Foundation. “The Wezesha Vijana Study shows that if we want to ensure that the next generation of women are given the chance to receive a quality education then we must train our boys to be champions for girls’ equality.”
 
In 2015, Asante Africa Foundation successfully implemented curriculum in 34 schools in 3 regions between Kenya and Tanzania to teach more than 500 adolescent boys about relationships, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, gender-based rights, decision-making and female genital cutting. The objective was to provide boys with important information that gives them a greater understanding and sensitivity to the challenges that girls face in their society. The program also helps girls build allies and teaches boys to play a critical role in the empowerment and independence of adolescent girls.
 
The Wezesha Vijana Study showed that the boys who were taught about gender-based violence and preventing unplanned pregnancies showed a dramatic jump in understanding and recognizing problems that girls, who are sisters and friends, face. In most cases, boys demonstrated a higher percentage of increased understanding of the dangers involved in multiple sexual partners and unhealthy relationships.
 
“There are 62 million girls around the world who aren’t in school. Often times the reasons that girls aren’t in school is because of culture, their menstrual cycles or gender violence in school. By increasing awareness for boys about these problems, we are opening the doors for girls to succeed in school and fulfill their dreams,” said Grasz.
 
The Wezesha Vijana Study also included teaching adolescent girls financial education, financial planning, saving and budgeting. Over 50% of participants are saving on a regular basis after program participation, though 65% of the girls said they never saved prior to intervention. Also, 95% of the girls understood the importance of saving money to achieve their short and long-term goals. 
 
Based in Oakland, California, Asante Africa Foundation began when Erna Grasz traveled to Tanzania and witnessed firsthand the critical need to increase the educational opportunities for the youth of Africa. Since 2007, Asante Africa Foundation has developed programs to keep over 350,000 students in school, particularly girls; and changed the future of 200+ African communities. 50% of those schools reported improved academic performance by girls on national exams and 60% of girls acknowledged confidently refusing unwanted sexual advances. 67% of students reported an increased confidence in critical thinking, expressing opinions, and English skills.

For more information on Asante Africa Foundation please click here.
 
About Asante Africa Foundation
Asante Africa Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit educating East Africa’s youth to tackle life’s challenges, thrive in the global economy and catalyze positive change. We partner with local communities to address the root causes preventing children from receiving a quality education and provide tools to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom. Our programs have kept nearly 240,000 students in school, trained more than 11,000 teachers and changed the future of 200+ African communities — a new generation of change agents transforming Africa and the world. Learn more at www.asanteafrica.org or email info@asanteafrica.org.