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By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni

From the Executive

First Lady of Zambia marks 20 years of FAWE in Africa as FAWE girls speak out

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Photo: Zambia Daily MailPhoto: Zambia Daily MailHer Excellency Dr Christine Kaseba Sata, First Lady of the Republic of Zambia, marked FAWE’s 20 years of working in Africa as she opened a girls’ advocacy conference which gave young girls the opportunity to speak out on the issues that most affect their education and life chances.

Organised by FAWE Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia, from 13 to 14 August 2012, the conference gave some 100 young girls from Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe a platform to speak directly to key decision-makers and stakeholders in education in the region. It also allowed them to contribute actively to reflection, dialogue and advocacy on their most pressing education and life challenges.

The girls, all of whom have benefited from FAWE’s advocacy and programme work, led discussions and made recommendations on issues such as child marriage and teenage pregnancy. Their audience included ministers and permanent secretaries from Zambia, high commissioners from the SADC member countries, heads of government organisations and NGOs, and the media.

Speaking at the conference, HE Dr Kaseba Sata said education of girls and women was crucial to addressing development issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, the global financial crisis, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. She urged Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states to enforce measures to curb child marriage, child betrothal and other practices that hinder girls’ education.

The First Lady made a pledge to advocate on the most pressing hurdle to girls’ education in Zambia and led one girl representative from each of the participating countries to make a similar pledge to be an advocate in her own country.

The 100 young girls as well as 50 young boys will be invited to visit State House and to have lunch with the First Lady later in the week.

FAWE has led advocacy efforts on fair and equal education and life chances for African girls and women since 1992. As the organisation reaches its 20-year milestone as the leading pan-African organisation advocating for girls’ and women’s education on the continent, it is engaging more closely with influential African personalities such as HE Dr Kaseba Sata and the girls and young women who have benefited from its work to help take its advocacy efforts further and achieve greater impact.

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