In November 2022 UNGEI, in partnership with UNICEF and Gender at Work, organized a workshop on Transformative Leadership for Gender Equality in Education in Dakar, Senegal. 19 senior officials from the education and finance and planning ministries of the 5 French-speaking GCI countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) participated in the workshop. The meeting was part of the Gender at the Centre Initiative (GCI) and is embedded in a larger offer to foster leadership and commitment to gender equality among education leaders.
The workshop offered an opportunity for participants to reflect on their personal commitment to gender equality and grow their leadership skills to become effective gender champions. In the course of 4 days, participants questioned their own gender biases, learned about power dynamics, and analyzed gender inequality in their national contexts. The workshop created a safe space to share personal experiences with gender inequality and discuss challenges to championing gender equality within government institutions. It also offered the opportunity to government officials from the education and finance sectors to bridge the gap between their departments and strengthen cross-sectoral collaboration.
Bodo Soumare, Head of Girls’ Education, Ministry of Education, Mali
During the workshop country delegations developed action plans to champion gender equality in education in their ministries, linking their personal commitment to opportunities to leverage power and partnerships within their organizations. In the weeks after the workshop the delegations presented their action plans to their colleagues within the ministry. The Burkina Faso delegation, for example, had their action plan officially accepted by the MoE Permanent Secretary, and raised support by UNESCO to partner on its implementation.
Mr Abdou Moumouni Aboubacar, Finance and Statistics Expert, Ministry of Education, Niger
After the workshop the majority of participants proudly declared themselves feminist education leaders. This testifies to the power of UNGEI’s Transformative Leadership approach to take education leaders on a journey of personal consciousness and transformation. Such a transformation is a critical step in helping Ministries of Education commit to and develop truly gender-responsive education systems.
"I am a strong gender leader who is committed to impacting those around me in favour of girls' education. My commitment, determination and positive energy, support my fight. As a transformative leader for gender equality, I am committed to convincing the sceptics and those who are reluctant about girls' education to commit to the right cause, to positively change the narrative and to fight against gender stereotypes and inequalities."
"I am a public administration executive currently working in an urban area. However, I must point out that I come from a rural environment where living conditions remain precarious. This vulnerability is due to the fact that the economic activity relies on agriculture, and has a strong gender disparity. Thus, as a leader, I would advocate for support for the diversification of economic activity by encouraging the participation of women and better-accompanying girls to school in rural areas."
Nana Danini, Director of Financial Management
"I consider myself a leader in administration, politics, opinion and a parent. As a leader and politician, I am committed to contributing to a protective and safe legislative and regulatory environment for girls that is conducive to achieving gender equality. As an opinion leader and parent of students, I commit myself to exercising the power to act for the change of mentalities in order to promote the values of equity and equality."
Mamadou Diarra, Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Education
"In my manifesto, I would like to express my keen interest and my strongest commitment to everything that contributes to the positive transformation of education, especially the retention of girls in secondary education, which is an obstacle to the development and prosperity of every country. As a young female leader in her prime, full of positive energy with great ambitions and a mother of young girls who is very personally concerned about this issue. I dream of seeing the girls of the African continent take over the decision-making process as major contributors to the prosperity and progress of their countries!"
|"As a well educated woman, educator and head of department, from a disadvantaged background where almost all girls have been doomed to drop out of school from the first year of secondary school. It is my duty to engage with my government which is sparing no effort to promote accessibility, equity and retention of girls in the education system in the long term as well as women's empowerment to remedy the problems that hamper girls' education. What defines me as a woman first and a transformative leader is to take on this difficult struggle with major challenges, with ambition and determination."
Ms Ndeye Fatma Sarr, Coordinator of the Communication and Public Relations Unit
|"As a leader, I have done several gender trainings but with this workshop, I commit myself to be a transformative leader for gender equality in my country. As the coordinator of the information and communication unit in schools at the Ministry of Education, I will make sure to integrate the priority of equality in our action plan, especially in the training of female teachers in order to promote equality in the classroom as well as in the school administration."
Ms Khdeija Kardidi, Coordinator of the Information, Education and Communication Unit in schools
|"As a finance inspector and transformative leader, I am committed to ensuring the proper distribution and use of education funding to build community schools, deploy the necessary resources, conduct training and capacity building based on the importance of schooling, equity and keeping girls in school. Providing scholarships to girls who are most vulnerable and providing women with working capital so that they can be autonomous."
Mr. Mohamed Salem Oumar Inspector General of Finance
"I am a convinced leader of the gender cause. I am committed to being a transformative leader for gender equality and as the Director of Girls' Education Development and Gender Promotion at the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion my duty is to contribute to improving access and retention of girls and fight against gender inequalities for behavioural change to be a positive change maker."
|"As a leader, I am a compass for the administration to transform and fight against gender discrimination both in the workplace and in my community. I will be a source of inspiration in the theory as well as in the practice of behavioural and attitudinal change in favour of equality and equity. All together for a commitment to law and social justice."
Mr. Mahamat Mahaboub Abakar, Director of Education Project
|"I am a leader, aware of the concept of gender equality in education systems. I am already exercising my leadership role through the actions carried out in the Directorate of Analysis, Forecasting and School Mapping which I am responsible for leading. With this training, my capacities have been strengthened and I wish to influence decision makers with convincing arguments for actions that will reduce social inequalities and for a change favourable to girls' education and gender equality."
Ms Zenaba Borgou, Director of Analysis, Prospective and School Map
"I am an empathetic person, sensitive to the cause of the underprivileged the meaning I give to my leadership is to contribute to the emergence of an egalitarian, inclusive and equitable society I make it an exhilarating mission with a promising future. I am committed to fighting for access and retention of girls in school for a better representation of women in decision-making positions of responsibility I want to raise awareness, to train to communicate for a change in mentalities."
|"I am a leader. For me, leadership is the ability to act, invest in noble causes and the ability to lead others to change. As a transformative leader, I claim the ability to act and influence others, in a positive way, in their progress and development. I lead teams that I wish to lead towards results, to achieve necessary changes in terms of developmental objectives in terms of positive changes that can impact society and schools. I will work to achieve the goal of universal education for all girls and boys, and finally, I will work to improve access and retention of girls in school, as part of an inclusive and quality education."
Mr. Youssouf Toure, National Director of Basic Education
|"I am proactive because I always look for priority in my actions, I develop my responsibilities because I do not hide behind others, I am empathetic because I show others that I understand them and adhere to their emotions. I always try to control my emotions, to overcome fear and I have self-esteem. I am not afraid to take risks. I always try to develop my abilities and knowledge. My manifesto is to fight against systemic barriers to gender equality in education."
Ms Doucoure Bodo Soumare, Head of the SCOFI Division /DNEF/MEN Mali
|"As a transformative leader for gender equality, I would fight against injustice, discrimination, inequity between girls and boys, men and women, rich and poor, rural and urban. I would use the powers vested in me to sensitise, manage, monitor and evaluate all the actions of my collaborators so that there is more equality in services. I would fight for the emergence of girls and women in the community while respecting moral, legal and social values. I would fight for an inclusive and egalitarian education."
Mrs Mariama Maiga, Head of Unit Statistics at the Planning and Statistics Unit
"I see myself as an agent of change for the transformation of education and I am a role model for rural girls and women. As a leader, I have to contribute to improving access and retention of rural girls in school. I must therefore encourage parents and their daughters to join this initiative and to maintain the confidence of the community, I have to help guarantee the quality of education, and ensure that boarding schools are good living and studying environments that promote gender equality."
|"I have my heart and brain tied up now to take gender equality into account in national plans and policies in the different sectors of governance in Niger. I commit myself as a transformative leader to work for gender equality and the empowerment of women in Niger."
Mr. Abdou Moumouni Aboubacar, Statistical expert at the support unit for the implementation of the Education and Training Sector Programme (PSEF)
|"As a leader, I commit myself to participate in social mobilisation for equitable schooling, to support and accompany local authorities in the elaboration and implementation of gender-sensitive communal development plans in order to contribute to a change of mentality in favour of gender equality in education."
Mr Ibrahima ISSA, Head of Planning and Methodological Support Division