Two years ago, we released a report announcing the Soccer Without Borders Granada Education program, determined to support our participants to break norms and graduate from secondary school. Research shows that expected lifetime earnings for a girl in the developing world increase by about 10-15% for every additional year of secondary school. Still, for girls in Granada, there are significant barriers to secondary school enrollment, let alone completion. As a refresher, some quick stats:
While primary school enrollment for Nicaraguan girls is 85%, only 56% will reach 6th grade and just 45% will enroll in secondary school
The attendance rate for Nicaraguan girls in primary school is 83.6%, yet in secondary school it drops to 57.9%, meaning girls miss more than 2 days per week of school on average each week
The school life expectancy for a Nicaraguan girl is 10.2 years
Nearly half of Nicaraguan girls are pregnant by age 20, with over a quarter of births to girls age 14-18 (this rate is much lower for girls who stay in school!)
For the second year in a row, we are pleased to announce an academic pass rate of 86% among our program participants. Our program includes girls ages 7-20, covering all grades throughout primary and secondary school.
This year, we were able to dig a little deeper to see the relationship between program participation rates and academic advancement. As it turns out every single girl with program attendance of 76% or higher passed their grade. Among those with attendance rates between 51-75%, 92% passed their grade. Among those with attendance of 26%-50%, the academic pass rate dropped to 85%. Finally, for those who attended less than 25% of program activities throughout the year, the pass rate dropped to 75%, and just 45% among the oldest girls. These data provide important insight that will be used to continue to improve the program, but also suggest a correlation between greater program participation and improved educational outcomes, especially in secondary school. There are many barriers facing girls participation in the program, many of the same barriers they face to attend school regularly. From responsibilities in the home, to a lack of precedent, to seeking employment, to unplanned pregnancies and recurring health issues, the statistics are not in their favor. Yet the positive influence of a team, the support of a caring mentor, and the self-confidence that consistently correlates with athletic participation can combat these challenges. As we look ahead, we aim to address these barriers head on, ensuring that every girl have the chance to participate fully in school and in sport, and is supported to reach her full potential.