The Forum for Africa Women Educationalists was in a colorful ceremony held in Kuwait city on 13th December 2017 crowned Laureate for the 2017 cycle of Al-Sumait Prize for African Development in the field of Education.
The prize worth one million US dollars was presented to FAWE for its achievements in significantly enhancing gender equity and equality in education through targeted programs, having a profound impact on attitudes and practices towards girls’ education and influencing education policies in 33 African countries.
The award ceremony was presided over by His Highness Deputy Amir Crown Prince Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah who awarded the 2017 prize, which comprises of one million dollars, a gold medal and shield to FAWE Africa Executive Director Ms. Hendrina Doroba, in the company of the FAWE Africa Chair Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang and Head of Programs Ms. Martha Muhwezi.
Beaming with delight while receiving the award on behalf of FAWE network, Ms Doroba said “We feel tremendously honored by this award that will be used to support our efforts in promoting and developing equity and equality in education on the continent, particularly through our Centres of Excellence and partnerships with governments across Africa”
The FAWE Executive Director underscored that “This award is not only a wonderful way of acknowledging the great work FAWE, as an organization is doing in Africa to emancipate girls and women and create more equal societies, but also a recognition of the gallant women of FAWE who have journeyed into uncharted territory over the past 25 years of the organization’s existence.”
Initiated in 2013 by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development is designed to reward innovative and inspiring initiatives and research by individuals and organizations that address the challenges facing the African continent. The award recognizes and honours individuals or institutions that help advance economic and social development, human resources development and infrastructure in Africa.
Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), which administers Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prize for African Development, told the audience that FAWE’s inclusive and strategic approach to tackling education inequality in particular between girls and boys education was truly inspiring”.
On her part FAWE Africa Chair Ms. Opoku-Agyemang noted that “the award is not only an award for one body, instead it’s an award that showcases the impact of Pan Africanism. “ She reiterated that “FAWE works to affect the cycles of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy and all other factors that limit the real value of education in the continent.”
In the 25 years of its existence, FAWE has influenced positive change in the policy landscape of many African states. The “Send your girl-child to School,” campaign in its early years convinced many parents to allow their girl children to exercise their rights to education, resulting in the majority of countries attaining gender parity in primary enrolment and to take action to ensure that girls do not just enroll but are supported to remain in school until they complete.
The Gender Responsive School interventions or Centre of Excellence (CoE) intervention that won FAWE the award aims to holistically resolve the historical discriminatory practices against female learners through a combination of interventions. The model stresses the need to enhance teachers’ pedagogical skills for them to improve the quality of learning experiences for both female and male learners and foster positive teacher-learner classroom interaction and between female and male learners. The model obligates management to account for specific needs of female and male learners and promote participation of females in student leadership. In the CoE, the school-community partnership is an integral part of the psycho-social support to learners, especially girls who require to safely transition through adolescence, thereby bridging the gender gaps in retention, performance and completion rates.
FAWE appreciates the National Chapters who have been the key implementers of CoE across the 33 countries and the African governments for accepting to partner with FAWE in the cause. The 25 year milestone has also been achieved through tireless effort of regional and national staff as well as the network’s beneficiaries who translated opportunities to self and community development.
The Al-Sumait prize is managed by a Board of Trustees comprising of prominent international personalities in the field of development in Africa and world-renowned philanthropists. The Board is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait.
Other trustees include Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Makhtar Diop, Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Dr Kwaku Aning, Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Mr Abdulatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Board of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.