Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Partnership for Girls’ Education and Gender Equality
For two days, partners from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The Forum for African Educationalists’ (FAWE) Regional Secretariat, FAWE National Chapters and government partners gathered at the Silver Spring Hotel to discuss the issue of Girls’ Education and Gender Equality within the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative’ (UNGEI) vision.
UNGEI is an inter-agency initiative (launched in 2000 in Dakar), whose goal is to improve the quality and availability of girls’ education in support of the gender-related Education for All (EFA) goals and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It focuses on narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education, ensuring that by 2015, all children- girls and boys alike- will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and have equal access to all levels of education.
FAWE is a pan-African non-governmental organization founded in 1992 by African women. The organization’s members include: Ministers of Education, University Vice-Chancellors, education policy-makers, researchers, gender specialists and human rights activists. FAWE’s mission is to promote gender equity and educational equality in Africa by fostering positive policies, practices and attitudes towards girls' education.
UNGEI, as well as FAWE, operate through advocacy and awareness raising, building partnerships, communication and knowledge networking. This explains their strong partnership on the UNGEI platform. The UNGEI /FAWE partnership seeks to prevent a duplication of efforts. Their combined actions have resulted in enhanced public awareness, as well as the development of gender sensitive policies and models for the transformation of girls' education which aim to achieve gender equity and equality in education across Africa.
FAWE’s Regional Secretariat is a member of the UNGEI Global Advisory Committee (GAC) and is UNGEI ESARO’s (Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office) regional partner, while several FAWE national chapters in ESAR are engaged in the UNGEI partnership at national level. FAWE has signed a second 2-year PCA with UNICEF-ESARO to implement FAWE’s Gender-Responsive Pedagogy approach in 5 ESARO countries. In addition to this, many FAWE chapters are members of the UNGEI taskforce at country level.
The main purpose of the workshop was to strengthen the UNGEI regional partnership in Eastern and Southern Africa. FAWE and UNICEF jointly organized the workshop to contribute to effective partnership for girls’ education and gender equality. The workshop provided a platform for knowledge-sharing and country-level planning by successful in-country UNGEI partnerships in the region where other national UNGEI networks could emulate in order to accelerate girls’ education at national level. The workshop brought together UNICEF/UNGEI Focal Points and FAWE National Chapter Coordinators from 11countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania, Somalia, Swaziland) with some Government partners.
After two days of presentations from different countries, exchanges of practices around the subject of Girls’ Education and Gender Equity in different environments, participants acquired increased knowledge of UNGEI’s objectives, activities and strategies for UNGEI Partnership.
They drafted action plans for girls’ education advocacy and communication for gender equality in education for their respective countries. They were able to discuss around strategies on effective engagement with respective counterparts at strategic moments to further the girls’ education agenda. They discussed the monitoring plan inspired by the UNGEI Monitoring Framework which is being developed to monitor outcomes of the partnership at national, regional and international levels.
In conclusion, the terms of the partnership UNGEI/UNICEF were redefined so that everyone would have the same understanding and some propositions were made to make it even better and more effective by avoiding repetitions. Best practice documents and practices were exchanged among participants.
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