Yuwa - Kicking It New School

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a winner.

Yuwa - Kicking It New School

Hutup Village, India
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Society tells women to just fit in. We coach them to stand out.

Yuwa is the recipient of both Nike Gamechangers Award in 2011 and NDTV Spirit of Sports Award winner for 'Best Education through Sport' in 2012. With the $25,000 Sports Micro-Venture Fund Grant from Nike, we have built a small rural hub for sports and education in which we are building and strengthening our bridge program to prepare girls to enter higher-quality private schools.

Using curriculum from 'Khan Academy' and others, we are progressively creating a virtual classroom to serve up to 100 girls daily and fully run by peer-tutors from Yuwa teams. Girls access lessons using tablets, and receive support from peer-tutors. We've purchased five tablets as a pilot program and have already seen success in the idea. Now we are aiming at scaling up, purchasing a minimum of fifteen more tablets to reach that goal of serving 100 girls daily (assuming one tablet for every five girls).

We’ve been in touch with Khan Academy, and they have already translated more than six hundred lessons into Hindi and Urdu, giving the girls an excellent resource for education in their own language.
The goal of the bridge program is for each girl to:
· Cultivate a love for learning, and curiosity and excitement in her future education

· Achieve core competency in math, science and English

· Prepare for higher-quality private schools, universities and trade schools

Many girls in Yuwa have already escaped child marriage – many of whom saw their older sisters married at age fourteen or fifteen. A number of these girls have gone on to become the first in their families to attend university. Our aim is to make that the rule, not the exception, for every girl who joins Yuwa.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We operate in Jharkhand - one of the poorest, least literate, and most lawless regions in India. When a girl is born in Jharkhand, her life has usually already been planned out for her: She is isolated—if she is not seen working, she is harassed. She is illiterate—more than six in ten women here can’t read. She is married off—Jharkhand leads Indian states in child marriages. She remains vulnerable - an estimated 30,000 girls are trafficked from Jharkhand every year, making Jharkhand the top source for trafficking in India, according to the U.N. office of Drugs and Crime. The cycle continues. As a state Jharkhand ranks poorly in education among the girl child — while the ratio of enrollment as compared to boys at primary and middle school level is 0.78, against the national average of 0.85, the dropout rate among girls between Classes I and VIII is 67 per cent. In Jharkhand, overall literacy rates among scheduled tribes (the population that Yuwa targets), is 54% for men and 27% for women - considerably lower than the national average for scheduled tribes of 59.2 percent for men and 34.8 percent for women.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Through team sport, Yuwa provides a platform for young women to gain confidence to make a change in their world. Teamwork serves as a powerful force to combat gender inequality. In Yuwa, a girl quickly gains confidence to challenge the script others have written for her. Yuwa approaches the community in a non-threatening way, targeting the group with the least opportunity, yet is the most powerful agent for change – young women. The idea is to create an atmosphere that creates a sense belonging, that builds a girl up, and makes parents aware of a girl’s rights and value. With her newfound confidence comes a sense of self-worth, which in turn sparks her interest in her own education and health. Yuwa uses football as a mechanism to empower girls in the poorest of communities in Jharkhand – a unique model that has worked with demonstrated results for more than three years. Yuwa brings girls out of isolation and into a positive team environment, building confidence, a strong sense of community and a model for self-improvement. Through positive peer-pressure from teammates, captains and coaches, girls’ school attendance soars. When a girl organizes or joins a Yuwa team, through positive peer pressure she becomes a more regular student—players elect team captains, who keep track of school attendance. She also pays attention to her own health and to the health of her teammates. Many girls also attend daily study sessions at their Yuwa Clubs.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A girl in Yuwa goes through a three-step process in developing greater opportunities for her life. 1. Out of isolation. When a girl organizes or joins a Yuwa team, through positive peer pressure she becomes a more regular student—players elect team captains, who keep track of school attendance, and many girls attend daily study sessions at Yuwa Club. 2. Flipping the expectations. The girl's teammates, team captains and coaches become the few people interested in her school attendance and performance. Whereas before, a simple excuse would suffice to skip school (i.e., my dress is dirty, today is a school holiday), positive peer pressure has turned attending school into an immediate priority. 3. Doorstep tutoring. The girl is now attending school regularly, but as long as she is attending a poor-quality school, her future still remains limited. Yuwa attacks this challenge by building bridge programs to prepare her for entrance into higher quality private schools. One component is doorstep tutoring, where the girl will receive high-quality English instruction within a short walking distance. To encourage strong attendance, she pays a token fee of one rupee per day, and receives five rupees back on Friday if she attended all five days of the week. For other subjects, senior members from Yuwa become peer-tutors for younger girls. Overall this leads to a higher possibility for girls to test into a higher-quality school in the following year. Most girls are now prepared for a Yuwa grant to allow them to enter into a high-quality private school.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

For NGOs in Jharkhand, 'local participation' usually just means getting out of the way of the Land Rover. We are not aware of any other organizations in Jharkhand doing serious work to attack gender inequality, child marriage, human trafficking or girls empowerment. We are in touch with other organizations like Magic Bus using team sport for development, and we would welcome them to Jharkhand as both competitors and collaborators. What makes Yuwa different is a girl's commitment to and ownership of her program. Attendance of the average girl in Magic Bus is 35 days in a year -- a girl in Yuwa comes 21 days in a month (252 days in a year). With girls at the helm, Yuwa is distinguished by soaring growth and stunning attendance by its player-students, and by each girl’s stick-to-it-iveness.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


Your role in education

Coach, Other.

About Your Organization
Organization Name


Organization Country

, JH, Hutup Village

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

References - Please provide two references with a two-sentence biography, email address, and phone number for each

Franz Gastler - Executive Director and Co-Founder of Yuwa. He completed his B.A. and Masters in International Political Economy from Boston University and is a graduate of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 612.600.2568

Stephen Peterson - Stephen manages Yuwa's finances and legal affairs. Outside of Yuwa, he is an Equity Analyst with Palo Alto Investors, a Silicon Valley hedge fund.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 650.745.6508.

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years