All around the world people are waking up to the need to educate girls. Educating a girl empowers her to improve her own life, but it also changes the fate of her future family, her village, and her country. For example, for each additional year of secondary education, a girl will earn 10 to 20% more over her lifetime. 

Girls Project participants in Kolimba share the excitement of reading letters of encouragement from U.S. Girl Scouts.

Girls Project participants in Kolimba share the excitement of reading letters of encouragement from U.S. Girl Scouts.

The Girls Project Latest

While Mali has made strides in improving girls’ enrollment in primary school (primary school attendance for girls: 55 percent), there is a steep drop in secondary school attendance for girls (23 percent). Research shows enrollment numbers for girls are even worse in rural villages such as those where Mali Rising schools are located.

That's why we launched Mali Rising's Girls Project in fall 2016. This project has three aims:

  1. Recruit more girls to our schools,

  2. Retain those girls through their 9th grade graduation

  3. Make sure they girls show benefit from real results through education and life skill development.

Learn more about the Project's objectives.


Although the Girls Project is new, we're over-joyed to report on the results of the project's first year -- the 16/17 school year:

  • Recruitment: overall girls’ enrollment in the three pilot villages increased by 7.7 percent.

  • Retention: One key measure of retention success is the girls’ drop-out rate. In the three pilot villages this school year, zero participating girls dropped out of school. This compares to a girl dropout rate of 10% in the previous school year for the three pilot villages. This also compares very favorably to a sample of girls’ dropout rates in 6 non-pilot villages this school year, where we found a 15% dropout rate.

  • Results: In our three pilot villages 94% of our 9th grade girls passed the graduation exams! In each of the pilot villages, the girls did as well or better than their male peers. And the pilot village girls outperformed the girls from non-pilot villages by 53 percentage points. Nationally this year, only 48% of students passed the national graduation exams.

Second Year Evaluations

A quick update from the second year of the Girls Project! At the end of the 17/18 school year we saw:

  • Recruitment: An additional 11.5% increase in girls’ enrollment. That’s even better than our first year project numbers.

  • Retention: Just like the project’s first year, this year we had a 0% drop out rate for participating girls!

  • Results: Participating girls rated a 98% on the question “Since I started frequenting Girls Group, I feel more empowered and able to defend myself.”