The United Nations' Special Initiative for Africa (UNSIA) focuses on selected low- enrollment African countries in an effort to help them find pragmatic, sustainable solutions to the problems that have depressed primary school enrollments for so long. As part of this process, a four-country study was conducted between November 1998 and May 1999 in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, and Mauritania. The study specially focused on identifying and understanding the practices likely to promote female school participation in a significant way. One of the study's main assumptions is that the body of knowledge on girls' education and the interest accorded to it in the last ten years in Africa should already have resulted in improved parents' and communities' attitudes, school policies, and classroom management approaches. These improvements should in turn lead to change in girls' behavior and performance in school, and thus greater female survival, confidence, achievement and retention. Moreover, this particular study will help identify ways of improving what we do to advance girls' schooling.