Overcoming inequality to keep girls in school | Plan International Skip to main content

Overcoming inequality to keep girls in school

Through our Building Skills for Life programme, we’re addressing the root causes of gender inequality to help girls stay in school and learn skills so they can follow their ambitions.

This project, run in partnership with the UK Department for International Development, is active in 27 countries around the world. It helps girls get a quality education and access lifelong learning opportunities. Not only are we increasing girls’ enrolment in school and helping them stay there, but we are also working at multiple levels to address the root causes of gender inequality.

Parents support us to be educated and have good jobs

We work with and provide training for teachers, community members and government officials to raise awareness of the importance of girls’ education and ensure topics like sexual and reproductive health are taught in schools. Through the project we also connect girls and young women with vocational training to help them get jobs once they leave school.

To date, the Building Skills for Life programme has helped over 230,000 girls get an education or skills training.

Teenage pregnancy in Brazil

A girl teaching her peers about sexual health through a performance
Theatre performances are one of the methods used by youths to share messages about sexual health with their peers.

In Brazil we’re working to reduce the number of girls dropping out of school due to teenage pregnancy and the stigma surrounding teenage mothers. A system of peer-to-peer education has been established which involves adolescents discussing the issues of sexual health and pregnancy through engaging methods such as plays and debates.

Daniela, a participant in the project says: “In my school, the number of pregnant girls decreased after we started peer-to-peer education. Before I could not understand why they became pregnant so early and I used to judge them. Now I know there are many barriers girls face to access information and services.”

Harmful practices in Egypt


In Egypt, harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation cause many girls to drop out of school. As a result, we’ve set up groups for girls, boys and parents to help community members understand the negative effect these practices have on girls’ ability to complete their education.

Fouada, a girl who has benefited from this project, says: “Now I can express myself with confidence. I can make better decisions relating to my own life. My life changed from failure and silence to success and speaking out.”

Parents’ attitudes in Zimbabwe

Girls at school in Zimbabwe
By raising awareness of the importance of girls' education, enrolment is increasing in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe parents’ attitudes often prevent girls from going to school. We are raising awareness about the benefits of girls’ education among communities to boost enrolment.

Tari, a student from Zimbabwe describes the impact of the programme: “Parents support us to be educated and have good jobs and want us to emulate those who have completed school and excelled.”

Learn more about our work on girls’ education