DFID Pakistan head Joanna Reid, lawmakers visit Siyani Sahelian program in Bahawalpur.

Position:Department for International Development

Joanna Reid, Head of Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan, along with four members of Parliament took stock of the Siyani Sahelian Second Chance Program designed for Girls Education in Bahawalpur Pakistan on September 4.

Pakistan has made 12 years of education a fundamental constitutional right under Article 25 A and is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 and SDG 4 on education, skills and literacy. However, it still faces the challenge of 22.8 million out of school children and those enrolled in school not receiving adequate learning. Girls remain more deprived than boys across Pakistan, needing urgent action. Therefore, it is critical to have decision makers visit programs that are addressing these challenges to access eduction quality and are showing early outcomes that can be scaled up across the country.

Maryam, Farah and Iqra shared the misfortune of being drop outs from grades 5, 8 and 9 due to various reasons such as poverty, inaccessible distances to school and early marriage, swelling the numbers of out of school children in Pakistan. However, in August 2018, their fortunes turned when the Siyani Sahelian (Advancing Action for Adolescent Girls) second chance program was launched by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), a civil society organization known for its nationwide citizen led campaign on students learning outcomes ASER that influences policies and plans on education for quality learning.

Siyani Sahelian (SS) is a two year pilot program for 22,000 girls aged between 9-19 years, funded by DFID in Punjab. It caters to girls who are not in school (drop out or never enrolled) in Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Muzzafargarh districts where gender challenges are also very daunting.

Punjab has 10.5 million children out of school (5-16 years) majority of whom are aged above in post primary grades. In less than 14 months, 16,500 beneficiaries have...

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