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From the Executive

Advocating for gender equality in African education - who will pay?


Monday, 25 July 2011

8th FAWE General Assembly Folders2Today, a challenge has arisen to FAWE’s ability to advocate for the empowerment of Africa’s female population through education. Increasingly, FAWE’s traditional funding partners are turning their attention from education to other social sectors.

How can FAWE ensure its longevity and continue to have a positive impact on African education within this restricted funding context?

Ministers of education and government representatives from 17 African countries will come together at FAWE's 8th General  Assembly meeting, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 to 29 July 2011, to reflect on strategies to ensure the organisation's longevity and increase its impact.

The meeting will examine approaches that will allow FAWE to grow in strategic and sustainable ways over the coming five years.

Donors are placing greater emphasis on health, food security, climate and environment, fragile states, democracy and human rights, and technical and vocational training. Education has thus become a lesser funding priority.

Yet the needs of the education sector in Africa continue to intensify, within a context of food insecurity, conflict and displacement.

Today, there are more young people living on the planet than ever before, with 1.3 billion of the world’s 12 to 24-year olds living in developed countries.

The 2011 EFA Global Monitoring Report states that 29 million out-of-school children – 43 percent of the global total - in low-income sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty-four percent of these children are girls and 60 percent are in countries affected by conflict.

The challenge to future funding does not affect FAWE alone, therefore. It extends to the thousands of girls and women across sub-Saharan Africa who are the direct beneficiaries of FAWE’s advocacy work and education programmes.

The General Assembly of FAWE members and partners will raise some important questions.

What are the challenges arising from this new funding environment?

What opportunities exist both within Africa and elsewhere for FAWE to diversify its sources of funding and make itself less vulnerable to the effects of reduced donor support?

These questions apply not just to FAWE but to all donor-funded organisations working in the education sector on the continent.

Just $1 will keep a girl in school for two days in Madagascar, buy stationery for a month for a girl in Rwanda or buy a month’s supply of sanitary towels for a Kenyan girl. FAWE is thus seeking to mobilise Africans themselves to look for means within Africa to provide greater financial support to the education of their daughters and sisters for the development of the continent.

Education specialists from around sub-Saharan Africa, international development agencies, a number of diplomatic missions and leading African researchers will also come together at FAWE’s 8th General Assembly to discuss FAWE’s strategic direction within a challenging donor environment.

Please visit www.fawe.org for regular news updates.

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