Friday, 3 April 2009
FAWE Togo, in collaboration with the Togo Ministry of Education (MOE), has taken steps to establish the first FAWE Centre of Excellence (COE), or gender-responsive school, in the country.
Following a formal request from the MOE to FAWE to establish six COEs in the country, the co-educational junior secondary CEG de Gamé was selected as the first school in Togo to be transformed into a FAWE Centre of Excellence.
Located in a rural village in Zio region, the Gamé school faces specific challenges requiring urgent attention. These include insufficient and inappropriate school infrastructure and facilities, including classrooms, library and sanitation facilities; insufficient and inappropriate teaching and learning materials, including text books; poor academic performance of girls; lack of gender awareness among students, teachers and the surrounding community; very low number of females among students, teachers and school management; limited community support for girls’ education; teenage pregnancy; and high drop-out rates for girls.
FAWE’s COE model specifically targets these and other challenges through a comprehensive package of interventions that represent an integrated approach towards gender-related problems in education. This includes bursaries to support underprivileged girls through the cycle; empowerment programmes to rebuild girls’ self-esteem, develop leadership qualities and enable boys to de-link from gender oppressive attitudes and practices; gender-responsive pedagogy training for teachers; programmes to enhance girls’ participation and performance in science and technology subjects; and literacy and income-generating initiatives for mothers. The COE also encourages stakeholders from all aspects of the community to participate actively in ensuring that schools provide an environment favourable to enhancing performance and life chances for all girls and boys.
Accordingly, a vision workshop, bringing together FAWE Togo, the MOE, local authorities, community leaders, teachers, students, parents, school management and other stakeholders, was held in Togo from 24 to 27 March 2009 to lay the groundwork for the establishment of the COE. The four-day workshop included sensitisation sessions on FAWE’s gender-responsive school concept; identification and analysis of issues hindering gender-responsiveness at Gamé school; and the nomination of a team comprising one MOE representative, Gamé school head teacher, two teachers, a girl student and a boy student to devise an action plan for the transformation of Gamé school into a gender-responsive school.
FAWE will support a gender-responsive intervention package to enable the transformation of the school into a COE from this year.
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