All over the world, in poor and rich countries alike, families take their children out of school in order to contribute to the livelihood of the family. They're not opposed to education, but the family needs the extra hands that the child can provide in order to make ends meet. There are many educational innovations that are aimed at improving the ability of the child, once educated, to earn a decent income. But nobody has focused on the issue of replacing or improving the family's income while they send their kids to school.
By contrast, the innovations that have been developed by the Uganda Rural Development and Training program and employed at the URDT Girls' School are special in that they increase the family income, not years later, but while the child is still in school. On average, the incomes of families whose children are enrolled at the URDT Girls School increase by 20% while their daughters are still in school.
Think about that for a minute. What that does is eliminate the need to have the girls drop out of school in order to contribute to the family's income. Imagine the implications for the rest of the world if all families benefited by keeping their children in school rather than by having them drop out to go to work.
through better farming techniques and build a new house!
What URDT has done is to empower students to become visionary leaders in their families and their communities. Students educate and coach their parents and siblings to come up with a vision and a plan to improve the family's farm and/or business. They are graded on their ability to mobilize their family members to generate income, improve sanitation and nutrition, and improve domestic tranquility. What's even more amazing is that, despite the fact that it's against the local cultural norms for a girl child to wield any influence in the family, these educated and empowered young women are granted heightened respect and stature in their communities.