Are you looking at the inclusion of girls in “A Little Gesture” programmes? In many African countries girls are treated as “2nd class category” and neglected when it comes to education, food, etc. If a family has a limited resources, they would prioritize these resources for boys first, only later for girls. Is there any way you are looking at this “gender equality” aspect in your programmes and your spending? Do you know how many girls as opposed to boys are benefitting from the programme?
Gender equality is a key forward looking focus for us. In the last 2 years, we have increasingly asked partners that when new children were added it was our strong preference that these were girls. It is widely recognised that girls have more difficulty to progress as they are the ones collecting water, doing household chores, working in the farms, taking care of siblings and the house, especially if they become orphans. They are also the most vulnerable ones because of early pregnancy. We do recognise however that the layer of the population where we operate is equally disadvantaged for boys and girls and therefore the local partners have trouble selecting out the boys. Our split is roughly 50/50, and it may vary by project.
Having said that, and because our success rate tends to be lower with girls, we are looking at a few initiatives to increase our focus in girls. We have literacy programmes which are attended 99% by girls, our income generation projects are directed mostly at girls, we are looking at the potential to support former girls students that want to return after having a family and also at creating community groups that can support girls in the difficult years to avoid abandonment.
The programme we raised for in the royal parks is a key one for school retention for girls as providing feeding in school goes a long way in parents allowing kids to stay in school.