Improving Rural Girls Access to Education: How Integrating Solutions to Transport Poverty Reduces Systemic Barriers

Around the world, about 258 million children are currently not attending school – including 12 million children who never enrolled and will likely live out their lives having never set foot in a classroom. According to the World Bank, “The single most important determinant of primary school enrollment is the proximity of a school”. The further children are from school, the less likely they are to attend school – this is especially true for girls.

In low and middle-income countries, the long walk to school amplifies the already considerable challenges facing rural girls including poverty, insecurity and violence, and social norms hostile or indifferent to girls’ education.

Representatives from three NGOs will demonstrate how transport poverty  is a  barrier to girl’s attending and staying in schools. They will also present  the solutions they are   implementing to improve education outcomes, support girls’ autonomy, and reduce early marriage and pregnancy in India, Zambia, and Malawi. The Population Council will share findings and implications from a new systemic review of policies and interventions on gender‐barriers to girls’ school participation and learning.


  • Safeena Husain, Founder of Educate Girls, a non-profit focused on mobilising communities for girls’ education in India’s rural and educationally backward areas.
  • Winnie Sambu, Research and Evaluation Manager for World Bicycle Relief, an organisation  partnering with communities for 16 years to improve rural access to education, economic opportunity, gender equality and healthcare.
  • Susan Silka, the national director of CAMFED, Malawi, a pan-African movement revolutionizing how girls’ education is delivered through a model that radically improves girls’ prospects of becoming independent, influential women.
  • Nicole Haberland, a senior associate at Population Council, a leading research organization in health and development issues, particularly girls education and empowerment

The discussion will be moderated by Lauren Rumble, director of gender quality at UNICEF, a global leader in girls’ education and gender equality.

Location: Virtual

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2022