The success of women in the economies of our partner countries is critical to MCC’s ability to realize its mission of reducing poverty through economic growth. Countries cannot thrive if women are not empowered to achieve the futures they want for themselves, and few things can empower women like education.
Educational opportunities for girls and young women shape the rest of their lives and impact their ability to earn a livelihood. In countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Morocco, and Georgia, MCC has worked to increase girls’ access to quality education by supporting education policy reform, training educators to more effectively promote gender equality, and building and rehabilitating schools to create more inclusive learning environments.
In El Salvador, MCC supported the development of the Ministry of Education’s gender policy and establishment of its gender unit, which carried out important activities to improve gender equality in the country’s educational system. An important first step was providing training on non-sexist education to over 1,500 teachers and principals, 10,000 students, 5,500 families, and over 100 staff from the Ministry of Education. These trainings served as the basis for deconstructing gender biases in the classrooms and schools. Nelson Agustin Guzman, a school principal, said that after his school received the training he noticed “teachers now show a greater commitment [to gender equality] in the classroom by fostering more equitable dynamics with both girls and boys.”
MCC is partnering with the Government of Guatemala to enhance the quality of secondary education. As part of this program, teachers received subject-matter training, including content on improving gender equality in the classrooms and schools. Other aspects of the project to support the educational community, such as strengthening parent associations and student government bodies, have promoted more meaningful participation of both girls and boys, as well as mothers and fathers, in the education process.
In Morocco, MCC is working with the Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research to improve the quality, governance, equity of access, and relevance of secondary education, seeking to increase graduation rates and improve the learning outcomes of students. In 90 schools across three regions in Morocco, female and male students, parents, and teachers were invited to identify priorities to create a safer, more equitable learning environment for all students. School days are more dynamic and relevant to students with the introduction of student-centered pedagogy and expansion of after-school clubs to promote life skills, student empowerment, and other soft skills. In addition, to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers for young women, MCC will partner with United Nations Foundation’s GirlUp, U.S. Department of State, Caterpillar Foundation, MCA-Morocco, MCA- Côte d’Ivoire, and Google to host a Women in Science (Wi-Sci) camp this summer in Morocco that will bring together 100 young women from the United States, Côte d’Ivoire, and Morocco to network with each other, carry out projects together, and learn about careers in STEM.
In Georgia, MCC’s investments in public education, training for teachers and school administrators, and advanced degree programs all incorporated social and gender integration planning. A partnership with San Diego State University (SDSU) and three Georgian Universities worked to recruit women students into U.S.-accredited bachelor’s degrees in six science and engineering disciplines. The SDSU student body in Georgia included 36% women, an impressive achievement by American standards as only 26% of students enrolled in STEM degree programs at SDSU’s home campus in California were female in 2018.
In countries where MCC has identified the need to enhance education and workforce development to boost economic growth, MCC is committed to developing more gender equitable education systems, so that more girls and young women have a springboard to economic empowerment. As principal Nelson Agustin Guzman put it, the teacher training supported by MCC in El Salvador provided “greater opportunities for girls to dream about having a professional career.” Supporting those dreams also gets MCC closer to achieving our mission.