Successful strategies for impact at scale – India

Strategy 1.0 Building for growth

How did we get to over 25,000 schools across 15 districts of India in 10 years? And how do we plan to get to 31 districts in the next five?

Educate Girls was founded on the premise that we were looking for a solution to the problem of gender inequality throughout India’s education system, rather than seeking a better education for a few. When Safeena Husain, our founder and executive director, returned to India from working in development in other parts of the world, she knew that she wanted to design for scale. From day one, she envisioned success as getting every girl in school — and making sure they were all learning.

Delivering our first strategy enabled us to identify some critical factors that enabled growth over our first 10 years — intentionality, evidence, codification, focus, staff values and the type of funding we have attracted.

Growth was intentional. Each stage of our organizational development was planned for and deliberate, as we grew from a 50-school pilot to 500, to close to 2,000 across a single district and then rapidly from 5,000 up to our current 25,000 schools in 2018. At every stage, there was intent and design for the growth of the outreach as well as the supporting organization. For example, as the organization grew, at each stage, careful consideration was given to how our staff were hired, inducted, managed and rewarded. With pro bono expert advice from a talent management firm, we were able to put improved systems and processes in place to nurture and retain staff.

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