GSE 2014 200

A partnership of philanthropic organizations announced today $15,788,327 in grants and a commitment of an additional $13 million in the next year for innovative projects that will increase the participation, quality, and relevance of secondary education for economically disadvantaged and marginalized children in developing countries. The announcement was made at the Global Philanthropy Forum’s Annual Conference.

Through the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education, the MacArthur Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, Human Dignity Foundation, Intel Foundation, and an anonymous donor, announced 23 investments that will support innovative initiatives that provide learning opportunities and life and livelihood skills for underserved youth between the ages of 12 and 19 in East Africa, Nigeria, and India. The Partnership also announced its third request for proposals to support this work, and the addition of two new members to the Partnership’s ranks in 2014: Dubai Cares and Comic Relief. Both organizations have historically focused on primary education in developing countries, and join the Partnership in an effort to secure the transition of students from primary to secondary education.   

The investments announced today and funding in 2014 will support projects that pilot new approaches, bring to scale successful models, and research critical questions about how to innovate in secondary education. Projects supported seek to equip marginalized children with livelihood opportunities through education, to improve teachers’ effectiveness, and to increase demand for, access to, and retention within formal and informal secondary schooling. The grants include an investment of more than $5 million to support the Education Development Center in Rwanda, which will provide secondary students with work-readiness skills and school-to-work transition support and will incorporate these programs into the secondary education system nationwide.

“With our partners, MacArthur’s support for these innovative projects reflects our belief that more education for girls improves their lives and benefits society,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci.  “Girls with higher levels of education on average marry later, have smaller families, survive childbirth at higher rates, experience reduced incidences of HIV/AIDS, have children more likely to survive to age five, earn more, and contribute to higher rates of economic growth at the national level.”

“Secondary education is a critical step in a young person’s journey to higher education or the workforce,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation.  “This partnership is testing new ideas and scaling approaches that have the potential to transform how education is accessed, while improving the quality and relevance of what is being taught.”

Second round support from the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education:

  • Adeso: African Development Solutions: $498,000 to support a mobile education project seeking to provide children with employment-relevant skills in Kenya.
  • Africa Educational Trust: $419,000 to improve learning and retention in Northern Uganda.
  • Aga Khan Foundation: $499,883 to improve opportunities for out-of-school adolescents in Hyderabad, India, through training on employment-relevant skills in partnership with Mahita, a local nongovernment organization.
  • Aga Khan Foundation USA: $300,000 in support of a community engagement initiative seeking to educate girls in the sciences in Kenya.
  • American India Foundation: $403,283 to help increase demand for education and enable girls to attend secondary school in the Kutch district in Gujarat, India.
  • Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability at the University of California, Berkeley: $600,000 to pilot an educational enrichment program in partnership with the Center for Girl Child Education that combines school- and community-based safe spaces to reach secondary school-aged girls in rural communities outside of Zaria City in Kaduna, Nigeria.
  • Center for Change and Community Development: $480,000 to produce and distribute a film and television and radio programs designed to increase demand for girls’ education in Nigeria.
  • Centre for Budget and Policy Studies: $186,500 to assess the government-certified Open and Distance Learning model as an effective option for secondary level education for marginalized children in India.
  • CEDA International: $300,000 to expand a mentoring program in conflict-affected regions of Uganda that provides women with opportunities to learn leadership and life skills.
  • Education Development Center, Inc.: $5,154,266 to provide Rwandan secondary students with work-readiness skills and school-to-work transition support and to incorporate these programs into the secondary education system nationwide.
  • Going to School: $403,478 in support of an initiative that uses storytelling to teach employment-relevant and transferable skills to students in grades 8 and 9 in Bihar, India, with the goal of promoting transition to and retention in secondary school.
  • International Center for Research on Women: $550,000 to adapt and test an in-school model that engages industry and prospective employers to help prepare girls for employment after completing secondary school in India.
  • International Institute for Educational Planning: $585,000 to support the expansion of the post-primary education portion of a global online resource tool designed to connect education policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to evidence-based methods for improving student learning outcomes. 
  • Kentalis International Foundation: $409,000 in support of a pilot on innovative teaching skills for deaf learners in Tanzania.
  • Kenya Community Development Foundation: $750,000 to scale up the Global Give Back Circle model in Kenya, which integrates mentoring, private sector investment, and local community support to provide marginalized girls with education and employable skills.
  • Lend-A-Hand India: $510,000 to teach employment-relevant skills to secondary school children in the rural state of Gujarat, India.
  • Mercy Corps: $500,000 in support of a financial literacy curriculum targeting girls in Nigeria developed by private sector employers to ensure labor-market relevance.
  • Population Council: $498,000 to expand access to secondary school education for teenage mothers in Kenya.
  • Stichting Cordaid: $500,000 to expand and test the Performance Based Financing education model in Shabunda District, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. The model provides financial resources to schools on the basis of performance.
  • STIR Education: $500,000 to convene networks of educators in secondary education to identify, test, and scale promising innovations that improve teaching and learning outcomes in India.
  • The Global Fund for Children: $650,000 to identify and strengthen innovative, cost-effective secondary-level alternative education models that address access barriers and quality learning outcomes for adolescent girls in the conflict-affected regions of Northern and Western Uganda.
  • Voluntary Service Overseas: $591,917 to increase secondary school completion rates and support students in accessing vocational training, higher education, and employment opportunities in Tanzania.
  • War Child Canada: $500,000 to support “Making Waves”, a radio-based learning project targeting girls in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Partnership was formed in 2012 on the well-demonstrated premise that secondary school education is measurably associated with positive effects on health, wellbeing, and productivity. Yet secondary education remains scarce in the developing world, particularly for marginalized girls, a focus of the MacArthur Foundation’s grantmaking. The partners were early supporters of A Global Compact on Learning, a policy agenda for access to education and quality learning in the developing world, coordinated by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education. The report informed the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative, which seeks to refocus international attention on quality, relevant, and inclusive education for children at all levels.


Learn more about our partners:


The MasterCard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $9 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 46 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations, and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO.

Human Dignity Foundation

Established in 2004, Human Dignity Foundation (HDF) is a private foundation that supports work on child protection and life choices in Africa and Asia. Focusing mainly on India, Malawi and South Africa, HDF supports the work of organisations that are innovative and creative, and that have strong roots in their community.


Intel Foundation

Established by Intel in 1988, the Intel Foundation fosters educational opportunities for communities worldwide. By developing programs, exercising leadership, and providing funding for grants, the Intel Foundation fuels innovation in math and science education, empowers girls and women, supports underserved youth and engages with local communities.


Comic Relief

Comic Relief is a UK based charity set up in response to the famine in the Horn of Africa in 1985 and is committed to creating a just world free from poverty. Since then, Comic Relief has helped millions of people living really tough lives in the UK and around the world. The focus for most of our international work is Africa, as this continent has some of the highest levels of poverty, inequality and injustice in the world. We are dedicated to making sure the most marginalised people across the continent have the opportunity to benefit from these positive changes as well as contribute to finding solutions to ongoing problems of poverty and growing inequality.

Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares, a UAE-based philanthropic organization, was launched in September 2007 by His HighnessSheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to improve children’s access to quality primary education. As part of its strategic education cycle approach, it also supports pre-primary initiatives that allow children to develop school readiness skills, and programs that foster successful transitions to post-primary education. Dubai Cares currently supports programs in 31 developing countries.

Related Grantees

Learn more about Girls' Secondary Education in Developing Countries Right Arrow