Associação Progresso

The Progresso Association, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Mozambique, develops its actions based on the spirit of mutual aid, focusing on the development of local communities, with particular attention to women and children, in order to increase the living conditions of the population and the increase in their management capacity.

Progresso’s vision is to contribute to the creation of a democratic society based on social justice where basic needs of all are met and where there is equity in access to opportunities and resources to allow each and everyone to participate in the development of the country.

Progresso’s education programmes consist of promoting reading and school libraries, training primary school teachers and promoting bilingual education and literacy in five local languages.

Progresso’s partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) works to raise awareness within communities on the benefits of girls’ education and the harmful effects of child, early and forced marriages on the Mozambican economy.


Established in 1992, Bedari is a national non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for the protection and promotion of women’s and children’s rights in Pakistan.

Bedari started off as an organisation that provided direct support to women survivors of violence, abuse, and discrimination. Slowly, it expanded its scope from cure to prevention of violence. It started awareness raising campaigns against violence and discrimination against women. In past 23 years, it has run campaigns against domestic violence, sexual harassment, and child marriages.

Bedari envisions a society where women and girls enjoy their lives free of discrimination, violence and abuse. Through advocacy efforts, lobbying, awareness raising, providing direct support to women survivors of gender based violence (GBV) and promoting peace and tolerance, Bedari works to promote the equal rights of all in society.

Partnered with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Bedari aims to support girls’ access to quality education and skills training by helping create an enabling environment in society where they are safe from child, early and forced marriages. Through self-growth training for women and girls and street theatre performances within communities, Bedari works with communities in general and parents in particular to raise awareness on the positive effects of ending the cycle of child, early and forced marriage.

Centre for Mass Education in Science (CMES)

Centre for Mass Education in Science (CMES), a national non-governmental organization (NGO) in Bangladesh, is working to take science and technology to the grass root people through appropriate mass education and skills training. CMES has been working for the poor disadvantaged adolescents and youth since 1978 with a vision to empower them economically and socially through education and skills development.

CMES has integrated a gender component to its work in 1991 through the Adolescent Girls’ Program (AGP) and has developed methods to fill the gaps in the national education system to provide education to school drop outs and disadvantaged youth and adolescents who would otherwise not receive a second chance. CMES has been working strongly to prevent all violence against girls and women and to protect their rights.

Ultimately, CMES aims to bring positive change to the living conditions of rural adolescents and young women in terms of participating in economic and social activities to realise their rights. By working with the community, local support groups, local administration and law enforcement authorities, CMES works to achieve socio-economic empowerment for adolescents and young women in Bangladesh.

Partnered with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), CMES works to raise awareness about the benefits of girls’ education and negative consequences of child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) on development and provide life skills and market-relevant skills training through the use of open, distance learning (ODL).

Institute of Adult Education (IAE)

The Institute of Adult Education (IAE) was formally established in 1975 as an autonomous public institution. The Institute of Adult Education is currently under the Ministry of Educational, Science and Technology (MoEST) with the prime objectives of providing adult and continuing education and training programmes.

IAE aims at becoming a leading world institution that creates a continuously learning society. In so doing, IAE has undergone various transformations since its establishment ranging from offering Basic Education to Higher Education and from Knowledge Based Education and Training (KBET) orientation to Competence Based Education and Training (CBET). In addition, the Institute has moved from fully using print media to offering Open and Distance Learning (ODL) based programmes.

The Institute recognizes that gender-sensitive and inclusive approaches to education form a core and valuable part of its function as a public institution. In particular, it is part of the “Knowledge Exchange” in developing mutually beneficial relationships with government and non-government actors to design, develop and implement quality gender-responsive adult and continuing education, and training programmes that will enable both male and female Tanzanians to acquire knowledge and skills required for sustainable development and dealing with global challenges. In light of the need to empower and support girls and women, IAE has been conducting various alternative education programmes including out-of-school teenage mothers in Shinyanga and Msalala districts. This project involved more than 149 young mothers. In addition, through the Integrated Post-Primary Education (IPPE), the Institute of Adult Education also managed to support out-of school youth groups in various part of Tanzania.

Our Partners

Mann Deshi Foundation

Established in 1996, the Mann Deshi Foundation empowers rural women by supplementing the Bank’s financial service offerings with training, capacity building, skills development, awareness programmes and information sharing.

Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation are independent institutions with similar mission and vision. Mann Deshi Bank, one of India’s largest women’s cooperative banks, is run by women, for women. Mann Deshi delivers a range of financial services – loans, savings, pension and insurance products – to unbanked, rural Indian women with very limited formal education, enabling them to finance their own businesses and to purchase property. Since the bank has been established, over 200,000 women in Maharashtra have been supported.

Mann Deshi Bank and the Foundation work in parallel to provide 360 degree solutions to empower rural women and enable them to become successful entrepreneurs.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) began its partnership with Mann Deshi in 2010 to support women through open, distance and technology-enabled learning through the use of community radio, print and mobile school based learning. This partnership has resulted in courses on agricultural credit, financial inclusion and financial literacy being delivered to over 10,000 farmers and women involved in agriculture on a daily basis in Maharashtra.

The Mann Deshi Foundation and COL are expanding the scope of their partnership to empower girls and women who would otherwise not have access to skills-based and life skills learning due to labour migration, early marriage, distance to school, security concerns and costs of schooling.