Steps Towards Afghan Girls' Education Success (STAGES)

  • P Project/Program

I Inactive

Key Information

STAGES II is a UK funded Girl’s Education Challenge project with a contribution from USAID for a total of GBP 46m over four years (April 2017 – March 2021). Problem: Girls face specific cultural and socio-economic barriers preventing them from accessing education in Afghanistan, particularly in remote rural and insecure areas and especially during adolescence. Solution: A multi-faced approach focusing on girls’ learning outcomes, their interpersonal relationships, the social, physical, and economic environments surrounding them and the wider political and economic climate. Theory of change: If marginalized girls are provided with access to education close to their homes, in a context which recognizes community values and concerns, they are more likely to go to school, stay in school and learn. Reach: Since 2017, STAGES has supported 88,395 parents and community members as well as 7,605 teachers to help improve education for 324,958 children/adolescents, 33,695 (69% female) of them enrolled in project community-based classes in 16 provinces of Afghanistan. Consortium Partners: Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), CARE International, Save the Children (SCI), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Afghanistan Education Production Organization (AEPO), Aga Khan Education Services (AKES)

Lead Implementing Organization(s)


South Asia


Activity URL

Not applicable or unknown

Government Affiliation

Non-governmental program


2017 - 2021


Afghan Education Production Organisation

Ministry Affiliation


COVID-19 Response


Geographic Scope


Areas of Work Back to Top

Education areas


  • Primary to secondary transition


  • Transition from school to work

Other skills

  • Life skills/sexuality education
  • Rights/empowerment education
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Vocational training


  • Curricula/lesson plans
  • School facilities
  • School quality
  • School-related gender-based violence
  • Teacher training


  • Civics education
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • STEM

Cross-cutting areas

  • Adolescent pregnancy/childbearing
  • Community sensitization
  • Early/child marriage
  • Empowerment
  • Gender equality
  • Masculinities/boys
  • Menstrual hygiene management
  • Mentorship
  • Nutrition
  • Other cultural practices
  • Sexual harassment & coercion
  • Social and gender norms and beliefs
  • Sports
  • Violence (at home, in relationships)
  • WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene)

Program participants

Target Audience(s)

Community leaders, Girls out of school, Youth


6 - 17

School Enrolment Status

Some in school

School Level

  • Lower primary
  • Upper primary
  • Lower secondary
  • Vocational
  • Tertiary

Other populations reached

  • Boys (both in school and out of school)
  • Fathers
  • Girls (both in school and out of school)
  • Mothers
  • Other caregivers
  • Other community members - female
  • Other community members - male
  • Other family members
  • Parent-teacher associations/school management committees
  • Religious leaders
  • Spouses/partners
  • Teachers - female
  • Teachers - male

Participants include

  • Displaced/refugee - Internal (from other areas of the same country)
  • Indigenous
  • Internal migrants (from other areas of the same country)
  • People with disabilities

Program Approaches Back to Top

Access to school

  • Alternative learning centers/mobile schools/home schools
  • Improving transportation

Community engagement/advocacy/sensitization

  • Community mobilization
  • Community-based monitoring (e.g. school report cards)
  • General awareness-raising/community engagement


  • Ability-level grouping
  • Gender-sensitive curricula
  • Increased availability of learning materials
  • Remedial education/skills

Educational Technology

  • Digital devices for the purposes of studying, learning

Facilities construction/improvement

  • Construction/improvement of classrooms
  • Construction/improvement of libraries

Learning while working

  • Vocational training

Life skills education

  • Gender, rights and power
  • Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills building

Menstrual hygiene management

  • Educating girls about menstruation
  • Raising awareness about menstruation (beyond just girls)
  • Sanitary product distribution

Mentoring/psychosocial support

  • Adult (non-teacher) mentors
  • Teachers as mentors

Reducing economic barriers

  • Addressing cost of school supplies
  • Conditional cash transfers (including non-cash goods) to individuals/households
  • Scholarships/stipends for school fees
  • Vouchers/grants

School-related gender-based violence

  • Anti-violence policies and codes of conduct
  • Safe and welcoming schools
  • Safe channels/mechanisms for reporting violence
  • Safe transportation
  • Support in and around schools (e.g. peer counseling, adult-to-student counseling)
  • Training of school personnel (including teachers)
  • Violence prevention curriculum/activities for students

Social/gender norms change

  • Engaging parents/caregivers of students or school-age children/adolescents
  • Group activities with students or school-age children/adolescents
  • Media campaigns
  • Other community mobilization activities
  • Work with community leaders


  • Diagnostic feedback
  • Hiring more female teachers
  • In-service teacher training – gender-responsive pedagogy
  • In-service teacher training – pedagogy general
  • Pre-service teacher training – gender-responsive pedagogy
  • Pre-service teacher training – pedagogy general
  • Teaching materials (e.g. lesson plans, curricula)

Tutoring/strengthening academic skills

  • Literacy - in the classroom
  • Literacy - outside the classroom
  • Numeracy - in the classroom
  • STEM - in the classroom
  • Tutoring - general

Show More

Program Goals Back to Top

Education goals

  • Improved academic skills (literacy and numeracy)
  • Improved social and emotional learning/skills and mindsets
  • Increased enrolment in primary school
  • Increased grade attainment
  • Increased primary school completion
  • Increased progression to secondary school
  • Increased re-enrolment in school among out-of-school children
  • Increased secondary school completion
  • Increased years of schooling
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced grade repetition

Cross-cutting goals

  • Changed social norms
  • Improved mental health
  • Improved understanding of sexual harassment, coercion, and consent
  • Increased advocacy/civic engagement
  • Increased agency and empowerment
  • Increased employment/job-related skills
  • Increased knowledge of rights
  • More equal power in relationships
  • More equitable gender attitudes and norms
  • Reduced child marriage
  • Reduced intimate partner violence
  • Reduced poverty/increase household well-being
  • Reduced violence against children in the home

Additional Information Back to Top

Primary Contact

Lia Van Nieuwenhuijzen
Aga Khan Foundation
PMU manager