To celebrate this year Day of the African Child, the Forum for Africa Women Educationalists (FAWE) Africa Alumni convened a webinar exploring the progress made over the 30 years to girls’ access, retention and completion of school with a major focus on the kind of pressures girls face to complete and transit among different levels of education. The webinar featured Alumni voices including: current adolescent girls, those who ventured into governments’ education leadership spaces/positions, academia and human rights representatives from across the FAWE network. It also brought in voices from teachers, religious and community leaders. The discussions drew on experiences across Africa and provided insights into regional efforts to tackle barriers to girls’ education. Additionally, the webinar focused on discussing and agreeing on ways to strengthen and revamp the FAWE Africa Alumni network.
Moderated by Ms. Teta Kayitaba, FAWE Africa Alumni chairperson, the webinar sought to highlight real-time psychosocial, economic and cultural pressures and experiences of the girl child as they pursue different levels of education. Additionally, the webinar also showcased change making initiatives that are encouraging girls to beat the odds in completing their education; recommended good multi-stakeholder practices from countries in Africa that have enabled more girls to stay in school.
“There is need for all alumni to share their details which help in updating the FAWE Alumni database. The database will enable FAWE get information on where our alumni are, what they are doing, and the areas they would like to support FAWE in. Alumni should feel free to share their stories with FAWE for publication; this will help increase FAWE’s visibility.” Said Teta Kayitaba, FAWE Africa Alumni chairperson.
It was pointed out that poverty contributes negatively to girls’ education. Most girls are unable to afford sanitary towels and some parents are unable to raise funds to support their school fees. Lack of emotional support and minimal awareness creation on sexual reproductive health and rights education were also pointed out as challenges. It was also noted that FAWE has had a great impact in the lives of many girls by providing scholarship packages and building the self -esteem of girls through the Tuseme model.
While giving the key note address, Eng. Joy Makumbe, alumni from FAWE Zimbabwe noted that there is need for alumni members to come together and support other girls by mentoring and providing them with sanitary pads, and contributing to their school fees. “Barriers to girls’ education continue to persist in Africa and so there is need to continue advocating for their rights to education.” She added.
The panelists of the webinar included alumni drawn from different FAWE National Chapters as outlined below:
- Bridget Akurut – FAWE/GPE Youth Leader from FAWE Uganda
- Felix Agbogibor – FAWE Togo Alumni
- Diana Atsieno – FAWE Kenya Alumni
- Grace Nanyonga – FAWE Uganda Alumni
- Lamin Jarjussey – FAWE Gambia Alumni
- Wendy Muzite – FAWE Zimbabwe
- Bakary Abdou – FAWE Senegal.
Wendy Muzite, from FAWE Zimbabwe and Bakary Abdou from Senegal gave a vote of thanks to all the alumni who participated and organizers of the webinar. They pointed out the need to continuous engagement within the network.