UNESCO’s global partnership for girls’ and women’s education addresses two main areas requiring increased attention – secondary education and literacy. It seeks to introduce progammes aimed at stemming the dropout of adolescent girls in the transition from primary to secondary education, as well as focus on scaling up women’s literacy programmes through stronger advocacy and partnerships.
One year after the launch of the Partnership last May, three projects funded by private partners are making good progress.
The project in Senegal funded by Procter and Gamble, for example, which focuses on “girls’ and women’s literacy”, is using an interesting holistic approach which consists in responding simultaneously to the needs of illiterate learners, neo-literate learners and young girls enrolled in the school system, but at high risk of dropping out. The project uses traditional face-to-face literacy classes as well as innovative use of ICT to reach a maximum of learners, and include income-generating activities that aim to empower a whole community. As of today, 160 classes have been opened in the 7 regions covered by the project, and 100 literacy trainers have been trained to deliver literacy classes to some 3000 learners.
As regards the project in Ethiopia and Tanzania, dealing with “a community-based approach to lowering drop-out rates in secondary schools in Ethiopia and Tanzania, which is benefitting from funding from Packard Foundation, to date, 13 schools situated in two regions of Ethiopia, and a total of 15 schools in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, have been identified for the implementation of activities, aimed at empowering girls and keeping them in school.
In Kenya and Lesotho, the project Gender-sensitive training of teachers and school principals for girls’ and women’s access, participation, and advancement in mathematics, science and technology education, which is benefiting from the financial support of GEMS Foundation, is also making good progress. In Kenya, for example, the Kenya Education Management Institute and its satellite training centres are getting ready for the training of teachers and school principals. In Lesotho, which is faced with the double challenge of a lack of math and science teachers and qualified teachers leaving the profession, the project will, in addition to the enhancement of teacher development through training, also aim to retain teachers in the profession.