Can Innovative Financing Bridge the Resources Gap for Girls’ Education?

By Aqlima Moradi

Last month world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. In addition to serious debates about their achievability, one main concern has been around the issue of financing the SDGs. The goals come with a high price tag of $2-3 trillion annually, and, based on current estimates, almost all of the goals will face serious financing limitations. To achieve SDG 4 on education by 2030, for instance, the world needs an extra $39 billion annually.

While a funding shortfall for SDG 4 will present certain challenges to the goal of achieving “inclusive and equitable quality education…for all,” it will likely affect more vulnerable areas of education, including girls’ education, most harshly. Enrolling the global out-of-school population of girls in school; ensuring they continue through the secondary level; and enabling them to achieve literacy and numeracy are largely dependent on financial resources.

Educating girls often proves more expensive than educating their male counterparts.

Educating girls often proves more expensive than educating their male counterparts.

Economic and cultural impediments often make girls’ education expensive. While the economic incentive of forgoing school for labor harms both boys’ and girls’ education, some cultural expectations such as bride price harm girls’ education particularly. Furthermore, altering the socio-cultural norms that do not value girls’ education and in some instances even do not allow it, requires interventions beyond just building education infrastructure, facilitating curriculum development, and funding teachers’ payrolls. Continue reading