Education and Child Rights
The link between education and the reduction of poverty is undeniably strong. Increasing evidence shows that the longer young people stay in school, the more likely it is that they will contribute to the economy, be better paid for the work that they do, marry later and have their own children later.
Educating girls quickens the process of reform
- Every extra year of primary school education completed boosts annual income by 10 - 20%
- Every extra year of secondary education increases annual income by 15 - 25%
- When a girl in a developing country receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children
- A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive
- In Africa, around 1.8 million children’s lives could be saved every year if their mothers had completed high school
- A country’s GDP increases by 3% when 10% more girls go to school
- Every child has the fundamental right to physical, spiritual and emotional care, protection, education, identity and enjoyment
Through our project partners, we worked with children, schools, social service providers, parents and communities as part of our education and child rights programs:
- Focussing on awareness-raising
- Building child protection capacity
- Counselling for both parents and children
A safe place to learn
Children and young people from highly vulnerable circumstances were enabled to remain in school where they benefited from:
- Quality education
- Tutorial support
- Career and life guidance
- Health and well-being services
- A safe place to develop identity and belonging, and the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of their communities
Particular emphasis was placed upon enabling children living with a disability to enrol and remain in school, while a community-led child protection network continued to be strengthened.
Child-protection committees were successful in uncovering and addressing cases of child-rights abuse, while child victims, and children at high risk of becoming involved in the commercial sex trade, were provided with holistic support and protection services.
Parents learnt of the importance of education and many participated in economic development activities to sufficiently address household needs, with a priority placed upon child education.
Schools and communities were empowered to understand, identify and act upon child-rights abuses, including through mass media campaigns. Challenges persisted with some children dropping out of school, due to a range of poverty-related causes.
Many cases were able to be addressed through a combination of strategies such as counselling, economic strengthening, support through crises such as teen pregnancy, and recourse to legal means in response to incidences of serious neglect or situations of abuse.
Maiya is a thirteen-year-old girl living in a remote, mountainous village in Nepal.
Through INA's 'Improving Maternal and Child Health’ project, Maiya has been offered the opportunity to become involved in her school health club.
These school health club meetings provide young people with the opportunity to learn about critical issues such as reproductive health, teenage pregnancy and early marriage. They also provide a forum to discuss issues that are important to young people and provide opportunities to work together to bring about positive change.
During one of the club awareness-raising meetings, Maiya spoke with passion and concern for one of the girls in a nearby village:
“Chameli was 5 years old when her mother died and her father re-married. Now she is only 11 years old and she has been forced into marriage with a much older man. She has been sent away from her father’s house to live with her new husband and his family five hours from her home. We have not seen her and have not heard from her since she left. How can this be allowed? This is against the law and yet we still see this happening all the time in our villages. What can we do about this?”
With the support of INA's project partner in Nepal, Chameli’s situation is now being investigated and acted upon by a Female Community Health Volunteer, as well as the village development committee, as part of their responsibility for child protection and well-being.
Maiya’s story highlights the great importance of empowering young people to bring about positive change in order to protect the rights of children and reduce maternal mortality rates, the far too common and tragic outcome of child marriage.