Posted by Meg Cangany
Today, the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University hosted a roundtable discussion on gender and development. The roundtable was assembled to discuss the question: Why is a gender perspective critical in international development programming?
Plan International USA’s Dr. Winnie Tay was one of the featured panelists at the event. Dr. Tay, with his background in girl-focused programming, spoke about Plan’s innovative education development projects.
Dr. Tay’s presentation highlighted Plan’s BRIGHT Project in Burkina Faso. The project, Burkina Response to Increase Girls Chances to Succeed, promotes the regular school attendance of children, particularly girls. Along with the hard components needed for project success –fully-equipped classrooms, lodging for teachers, clean water, gender-specific latrines, and day care centers – BRIGHT addresses critical soft component requirements:
1. Social mobilization for girl enrollment
2. Literacy campaigns for mothers
3. Tutoring availability and support
4. Take home rations and canteens
5. Incentives for female teachers
6. Awards for teacher performance
Dr. Tay stressed that in order to design a truly comprehensive education program, Plan had to design a sustainable project that achieved community buy-in and changed established attitudes about the role of the girl.
Community ownership is one of the major reasons for the successful implementation of the BRIGHT Project. The project has been so successful that many of the original BRIGHT schools need additional classrooms to accommodate the local children, especially all the girls, whose parents now recognize the importance of education.
Learn more about Plan's work in Burkina Faso