Keeping adolescent girls in secondary schools: Findings from the Samata baseline study

SAMATA_baseline report.pdf

Launched in July 2012 by the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), the five-year Samata project aims to reduce vulnerability to HIV infection and improve the quality of life among adolescent Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) girls in Bijapur and Bagalkot districts. The project aims to do this by increasing rates of secondary school enrolment and completion.

Project Samata covers 119 villages and 190 schools (69 high schools and 121 higher primary schools) serving approximately 3600 adolescent girls and about 1800 families. The project uses cluster-randomized control design involving mixed method of data collection for the purpose of evaluation. 

The detailed report shares the following baseline findings:

School attainment and absenteeism

  • School attendance of girls is contingent to household poverty 
  • SC/ST girls find it challenging to access secondary school
  • Purity related reasons make it hard for girls to stay in the schools; leads to early marriage
  • Parental support to girls education was key to her retention and regular attendance 

Self-esteem, self-efficacy, social networks and social norms 

  • Girls have relatively high levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy 
  • Social norms around education and family life favour boys over girls 

School environment and quality of education

  • Harassment and teasing are still cause for worry, discouraging girls from accessing education 
  • Existing norms are inadequate in responding to issues of harassment and teasing 

The baseline study findings reveal some relevant results for programmatic implications. It is very clear that the interventions need to be at multiple levels focusing on the girls, their families, the schools, boys and even the larger community. 

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