Making Schools More Girl Friendly: Exploring the effects of ‘Girl Friendly Space’ on school attendance of adolescent girls

School enrolment and attendance for adolescent girls is a key priority for the education sector in most developing countries. In Somalia, this is even more prominent given the low enrolment rate of girls and the gender-specific challenges that girls face. Girls in Somalia often remain absent from schools during their menstrual periods due to a lack of hygiene facilities and the social stigma in using cleaning facilities where they exist.

Girl Friendly Space (GFS) has been adopted as a means to mitigate these challenges. Despite strong narratives of the effectiveness of the GFS, there is lack of evidence on the impact of GFS on reducing school absenteeism. By using secondary data, this study explores the potential effects of GFS on reducing school absenteeism. The study indicates that GFS in schools can reduce the likelihood of adolescent girls absenteeism from school by approximately 15 percentage points. Absenteeism due to ‘sickness’ is about 17 percentage points lower in schools with GFS, compared to schools without the girl-friendly facilities. Although this study cannot fully address the selection bias to claim these as impact estimates, the differences for boys between the two types of schools in absenteeism is much lower, indicating possible effects of GFS on girls’ school attendance.

Published 2017-12-11

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