Girls First | KGBV Schools, India
Background + Situation | Bihar, India
In 2004, the Government of India established the national network of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya | KGBV residential schools to help address gender and caste disparities in education.
KGBV schools serve at-risk girls from ‘low’ castes, minorities, tribal communities, and/or from families below the poverty line. In these communities, girls typically are required by their parents to stay at home and help their families with household chores until age 13-14 years, at which point they are married. As such, many of the girls who attend KGBVs have either dropped out of school during the primary grades or have never gone to school.
In order to ensure that the girls continue their elementary-level education uninterrupted, all KGBV schools are residential in nature. Today, there are 3569 KGBVs serving over 300,000 girls in 27 states across India.
CorStone Response | Put Girls First!
Today, there are 536 KGBVs in Bihar, annually serving over 50,000 girls in grades 6-8. CorStone’s Girls First | KGBV program empowers adolescent girls attending KGBV residential schools to unleash their potential and thrive. The resilience-based program aims to measurably impact three interdependent factors in girls’ wellbeing:
- | Emotional Health
- | Physical Health
- | Education
In 2015-18, Girls First | KGBV was successfully conducted in over 100 KGBV schools, serving over 15,000 girls in 5 districts in Bihar, India. Girls received extensive training in topics such as character strengths, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, nutrition, reproductive health, and gender-based violence—all taught in facilitated peer support groups led by trained KGBV teachers.
In December 2018, CorStone entered into a comprehensive agreement with the Ministry of Education | Bihar to conduct a two-year (2019-21) Girls First scale-up demonstration model in KGBVs across the state, reaching 26,500 girls in 50% of KGBVs (265) across all 38 districts in Bihar.
The demonstration model will establish foundational capacity within the government in training, implementation, and monitoring, utilizing a cascade model whereby CorStone trains government Master Trainers who in turn train KGBV teachers to conduct the program among their students.
As we build government capacity for eventual technical transfer of the program, we also conduct implementation science research to document the processes and supports required to conduct the program at scale, while evaluating the feasibility, fidelity, and quality of the endeavor.