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Freetown manifesto for gender transformative leadership in education

Welcome to the Freetown Manifesto for Gender-Transformative Leadership in Education! This Manifesto was developed in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 18-20 May, 2022 in a gender-transformative leadership workshop hosted by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and the Gender at the Centre Initiative, a programme implemented by UNGEI and UNESCO IIEP and supported by UNICEF, GPE, UNESCO and the governments of Italy, France, United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union. The purpose of the manifesto is to build momentum for gender equality in and through education.

We, Ministers of Education, working to achieve quality education for every child, reaffirm our firm belief in the equality of all humanity and the catalytic role of girls’ and women’s empowerment in equitable and equal human development. By signing this Manifesto, developed in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 18-20 May, 2022 and in line with the United Nation’s Secretary General’s vision to transform education to achieve all SDGs, we resolve collectively to focus our leadership on empowering girls through education while seeking to achieve gender equality in and through education. 

This means that we will continue our work on access to quality education for the most marginalized children while accelerating our support for education systems and actors to become gender equal. Towards this end, we commit to transforming our systems, pedagogies, institutions and indeed our own mindsets so that we can end harmful gender norms and stereotypes and help each child achieve the freedom they need to dream and grow without barriers. 

We thus commit to the following:

1. In Education Sector Plans, include and increase clearly delineated budgets, strategies and commitments to gender equality in and through education with separate commitments to addressing harmful gender norms in pedagogy, gender capacity building for education sector staff and other selected priorities.

2. Participatory, citizen-inclusive data gathering from households on out of school children with strong support of gender and child rights experts so that we pay special attention to how intersectional gendered norms and expectations (for example, disability, minority status) have led to their being out of school. 

3. Provide all reopened schools in conflict settings and emergencies with voluntary teachers and other learning alternatives and provide safe temporary learning spaces for all girls affected by crisis.


4. Multi-sectoral efforts with relevant National Ministries and Global Agencies working for employment, economic development and women’s empowerment to build effective links between education and formal workforce employment, with a focus on girls and young women.

We make these commitments because we believe that it is only through education that we can transform our nations and our world. In making these commitments, we want to note that we can only achieve them in partnership with line Ministries, religious and cultural leaders, the private sector and the civil society organizations that serve the most vulnerable children on the ground as well as young activists who speak up for their needs and the needs of their communities and schools. We promise to prioritize these commitments in education processes and budgets, recognizing that what the most marginalized children need is not more promises but action on the ground that will transform their lives. 


 Burkina Faso, Hon. Wendkouni Joël Lionel Bilgo, Minister of National Education

 Chad, Hon. Mog-Nan Djimounta, Minister of Basic Education and Civic Promotion ​

 Gambia, Hon. Claudiana A. Cole, Minister of Basic and Secondary Education ​

 Liberia, Hon. D. Ansu Sonii, Minister of Education 

 Mali, Hon. Sidibe Dédeou Ousmane, Minister of National Education 

 Mauritania, Hon. Mohamed Mélainine Eyih, Minister of National Education 

 Mozambique, Hon. Carmelita Rita Namashulua, Minister of Education and Human Development 

 Niger, Hon. Ibrahim Natatou, Minister of National Education

 Nigeria,  Hon. Adamu Adamu, Federal Minister of Education

 Sierra Leone, Hon. David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education 

 South Sudan, Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction

 Tanzania, Hon. Adolf Mkenda, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training  

 Uganda, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, Minister of Education and Sports 

 Cameroon, Hon. Laurent Serge Etoundi Ngoa, Minister of Basic Education



(Added in chronological order)

Charles North, Acting CEO, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)

Robert Jenkins, Global Director UNICEF Education

Antara Ganguli, Director, UNGEI Secretariat

Karen Mundy, Director of IIEP-UNESCO

Kevin Frey, CEO, Generation Unlimited

Pauline Rose, Director, REAL Centre, University of Cambridge

Elaine Unterhalter, Professor of Education and International Development, University College London (UCL)

Martha Muhwezi, Executive Director, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)

Susan McIsaac, President and CEO, Right to Play 

Geetha Murali, CEO, Room to Read

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Lego Foundation

Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) 

Solange Akpo, Regional Coordinator, ANCEFA 

Bonnie Berry, Senior Advocacy Adviser, Save the Children

Stephen Omollo, CEO, Plan International

Safeena Husain, Founder, Educate Girls 

Lucy Lake, CEO, CAMFED International

Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Education-US

Ildiko Meny, Education Support Officer, EIT

Dr. Jaime Saavedra, Global Director of Education Practice, World Bank

Minister Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany

Howard Taylor, Executive Director, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State for Development and Africa, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency, Canada

Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General, CARE International

Practitioners & Activists

(Added in chronological order)

Night Stella Candiru, Education Specialist, UNICEF

Anu Bazarragchaa, Regional Facilitator, FRIDA

Landy Rasamoeliniaina, Education and Gender Specialist, The World Bank

Moyomade Aladesuyi, Advisor, FRIDA

Harika Srinivasan, Social Worker, Marasiyal

Ashlee Burnett, Founder, Feminitt Caribbean

Sapphire Alexander, Regional Facilitator, FRIDA

Anna Murru, Global Strategic Advisor Partnerships, VVOB

Tom Dannatt, CEO, Street Child

Brenda Bih Chi, Co-founder, My African Womanhood

Anke Adams, Director of Communications, Camfed International

Penina Mwajanji, Executive Director, Girls Action For Change

Rongedzayi Fambasayi, Managing Director, Play Africa

Patricia Mezu, Director and Coach

Alfred TM Navo, Head of Programmes and Partnerships, Restless Development Sierra Leone

Isa Abubakar, Manager, RHI Nigeria

Claudia vanessa Abengdang eboutou, President, Hope for Children (H4C), Cameroon

Sanjay Banka, Executive Chairman, Banka BioLoo Limited

Penina Mwajanji, Executive Director, Girls Action For Change (GAC)

Julien Bongono, Administrator, General secretary, Ministry of Pre-University Education and Literacy

Jeremiah Kassem, Student

Milena Gaede, Student

Haruna Nbonsaa Trumah, Founder, The Future Pacesetters Initiative

Koech Benard, Executive Director, Boresha Life Empowerment Group

Enobong Ekwere, Program Manager, Children and Young People Living for Peace (CYPLP)

Patrice Bamulenga, Administrator, Service d'Appui au Développement de la Femme

Samantha Ross, Director, Link Education International

Christina Kwauk, Scientist, Kwauk and Associates

Nabeel Almaqrami, Advocate, The Center Of International Humanitarian Law & Hum

Dr. Ernestine Ngo Melha, Executive Director, Ass. d'Aide à l'Education de l'Enfant Handicapé

Liesbeth Roolvink, Deputy Technical Director Inclusive Education, Sightsavers

Beauty Uzochi Ukazu, Social Worker, Nigeria

Emmanuel Kwame Nkrumah, Director, Save Girl Child Education