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France Renews Commitment to Gender Equality in Education in Africa

Further Support for the Gender at the Centre Initiative Announced

10 Jul 2024

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has announced a new partnership with the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) to support the Gender at the Centre Initiative (GCI), a groundbreaking education program that strengthens the capacity of governments and civil society to deliver gender equality in and through education. With this support, GCI aims to reach four more countries in the region, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal.  

Jointly co-ordinated by UNGEI and IIEP-UNESCO, GCI applies a whole education system approach to achieving gender equality, by bringing together ministries of education, civil society organizations, technical experts and young feminists to strengthen gender capacity, foster political will and support the transformation of harmful gender norms.  

The new funding comes at a pivotal time for the African continent, as the African Union celebrates the Year of Education and the 20th anniversary of its International Centre for the Education of Girls and Women in Africa (AU CIEFFA). Antara Ganguli from UN Girls’ Education Initiative said, “We are delighted to be embarking on a new chapter of Gender at the Centre Initiative in partnership with the governments of Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, and Senegal. As the African Union renews its commitment to education for all, we are excited to work hand in hand with government, civil society and feminist leaders in our partner countries to ensure that learners can access a safe, inclusive and gender equal education.”  


Antara Ganguli from UN Girls’ Education Initiative and Claude Blévin from Embassy of France in Ethiopia


GCI's impact on gender equality in the region to date has been significant, with eight African countries engaged in the program to date reporting changes in commitment, policy and programming on gender equality in education. In 2022, fourteen African governments came together with GCI to sign the Freetown Manifesto for Gender-Transformative Leadership in Education, a political commitment to gender equality in and through education. GCI secured official recognition of Feminist Youth Coalitions for Gender-Transformative Education by the Local Education Groups in several countries, and created a strong African movement for gender-transformative education. GCI also developed vital technical tools to advance gender-responsive education planning, such as the Gender Equality in Education Snapshot (GES) Tool, which has helped governments in Chad, Guinea, Mali and Niger to look beyond gender parity and assess gender equality in education in a comprehensive way.

Speaking at last week’s Pan-African Conference on Girls’ Education, Claude Blevin, Deputy Head of Mission at the French Embassy to Ethiopia and the African Union, said “The added value of GCI is its unique partnership approach. France is proud to continue its support to GCI through this new partnership.” In line with its feminist foreign policy, France has made girls’ education and gender equality in and through education a key priority of its international strategy on basic education for 2024-2028.

With this new support, GCI will expand its impact in Africa, continuing to build strong commitment and capacity for gender equality in and through education across the continent.  


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