Publication Date: 2008
Author/Publisher: Forum For African Women Educationalists (FAWE)
In the last decade, significant steps have been made towards achieving gender equality in education across Africa. Many sub-Saharan Africa countries have now concrete interventions to ensure free and compulsory primary education for all.
However poverty, gender bias, disease, conflict, and unfavourable teaching and learning conditions remain major obstacles to widespread educational provision in Africa. The Education for All (EFA) Goal number 5 and Millennium Development Goal number 2, of reaching gender parity in enrolment by 2005 have been missed by most African countries. It is clear, that unless strategies and actions are accelerated, both EFA goals and MDGs are unlikely to be achieved.
FAWE believes that education is a human right and that all citizens, including girls and women, must enjoy that right. That is why since its inception fifteen years ago, and as the leading African Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) advocating for girls’ education, FAWE works tirelessly with African governments to ensure that they provide quality education to all, with a particular emphasis on girls’ education. FAWE has been at the forefront of the promotion of gender equality and equity in education, thus progressively fulfilling its mission at all levels.
FAWE’s strength lies in unique and direct links with Ministries of Education (MOEs), funding partners and a wide array of education stakeholders. As a strategy to reach more girls within the disadvantaged regions of sub-Saharan Africa, FAWE continues to form strong partnerships with organizations and agencies at the continental, national and local levels. FAWE members, active in 33 sub-Saharan African countries, advocate, mentor and share their expertise at the national level to accelerate girls’ educational access, retention and performance. Yet, in order to make our work more impactful, FAWE National Chapters need to be strengthened, staff and members need to increase their competencies to harness the power of the mobilisation and activism of FAWE chapters at country-level.
This Strategic Plan 2008-2012 is FAWE’s vehicle for consolidating the important work we have been doing for the past 15 years, while striving to meet persistent and emerging challenges that hinder girls’ educational access, retention, performance and life chances. The Plan is the product of serious consultations with all FAWE stakeholders including members, Ministries of Education, funding partners and FAWE staff at regional and national levels.
We are at a crossroads and must surmount enormous challenges in order to live up to our ambitions and expectations for the girls of Africa. FAWE’s action has had undeniable impact across the African continent. This Plan provides FAWE an opportunity to consolidate its good practices and to scale up its successful models in order to reach all African girls, those who are out of school and those who never made it to schools, those who are excluded because of gender, ethnicity, age, poverty and socio-economic status, linguistic background, place of residence, disability or any other reason. If quality education for all is to be a reality, gender equity and equality issues must remain a priority in the African education agenda. It is proven that FAWE gender-responsive approaches benefit not just girls, but also help to increase educational quality
wherever they are applied.
Although FAWE’s work is informed by global education trends, our objectives and activities during this Plan period will provide localized solutions in order to address specific challenges in African education, using a national or regional approach as may be necessary. Depending on countries’ needs, interventions will be designed to provide targeted solutions. For instance, provision of qualifying vocational training to girls in conflict or post-conflict situations will be a major undertaking. The effective implementation of this 2008-2012 Strategic Plan will be decisive in augmenting the impact of FAWE’s work on gender-responsiveness in education, as the organisation continues to foster equal and quality education for African girls at all levels. I wish to thank all those who brought this Strategic Plan to fruition. I thank all who have endured
the interviews, gave contributions, advice and critiques to develop and improve this document.