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VSO/Mbuto Carlos Machili

Supporting out of school girls to break the cycle of poverty

Empowering Girls to Learn and Earn

'Empowering Girls to Learn and Earn' is working to improve the economic empowerment of the most marginalised out-of-school girls in Manica and Sofala provinces of Mozambique. The project specificaly focusses on supporting girls and young women aged 15-19 who are married, living with disabilities and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.


Currently recruiting volunteers for this project:


Education to break the cycle of poverty

Celeste in Mozambique ©VSO/Ginny Lattul

This initiative addresses key development challenges in education and gender, where poor and marginalized girls are least able to use education as a means to break the cycle of poverty and disempowerment.

Key barriers to education for young girls in Mozambique include poverty and structural norms. But girls married with children, living with disabilities and/or affected by HIV/AIDS are further burdened by the need for child care, assistive resources, community support and greater sexual and reproductive health care.

Married girls are 13 times less likely than unmarried girls to be in school while 3 out of 4 are illiterate. 14% of school age children have a disability, but most have had limited or no access to education.

Collectively, these girls have been out of school for a number of years and often have little contact outside their communities to gain marketable skills and generate income, which further impedes their capacity to achieve greater voice and control over the social, economic and political processes in their lives.

In partnership with Handicap International the project supports girls to:

  • access accelerated literacy and numeracy classes that are age, gender and disability appropriate
  • attain basic reading and writing skills to support the development of business and life skills for income-generating opportunities
  • gain community support for their education and economic empowerment

Addressing multiple issues

children in village, Mozambique ©VSO/Ginny Lattu

Vulnerable girls face numerous barriers in attaining an education, as such the project works at a number of levels:

  • Accelerated learning – 10-15 month accelerated learning will be given to out-of-school girls in the areas of literacy and numeracy. In addition, there will be training on business and life skills and mentorship support throughout the process.
  • Access to learning – where communities are particularly remote ‘mobile’ classes are set up within reach of out-of-school girls.
  • Provision of materials - School kits with backpacks, school supplies and catered learning materials will be distributed
  • Child care – For girls with children, child care will be facilitated by hiring community caretakers or relatives thereby mitigating responsibilities that hinder school attendance
  • Improving teaching standards - Teachers will be trained by community facilitators that will undergo rigorous preparation by project staff and professional volunteers with expertise in literacy, numeracy, disability, inclusive education, small business development and specific life skills such as sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Improving inclusivity - Teachers will be trained to improve their approach to inclusive education. Furthermore, female teachers, themselves also disadvantaged, are prioritised to work in support of the programme
  • Working with boys and men – To enhance community support for girl’s education, fathers, brothers and community leaders are sensitized to the importance of girls’ education. Media is also used in the form of radio and community theatre groups to help disseminate information.
  • Working with policy makers - Local and national policymakers will be engaged for sensitization workshops that address gender quality principles, sexual and reproductive health rights for girls and gender-based violence in addition to productive dialogues to identify and bridge policy gaps in addressing these issues in Mozambique.

Apply to volunteer

This project is actively seeking volunteers. See the below links for more information:

Paul Jennings volunteered in Tanzania training teachers such as Rebecca Andrew Aitchison

Volunteer support

Volunteers benefit from comprehensive support throughout their time on placement. Wherever you go, you can be sure to be warmly welcomed and have your needs take care of. Our support includes:

  • Training
  • Accommodation
  • Living allowance
  • Ensuring you stay healthy whilst on placement
  • Safety and security

Find out more about how volunteers are supported:


Our partners

Empowering Girls to Learn and Earn is implemented in partnership with Handicap International and funded by Global Affairs Canada


More information