Skip to main content

Gender at the Centre Initiative

Launched in 2019, the Gender at the Centre Initiative (GCI) was established by the G7 ministers of education and development in collaboration with multilateral organizations and civil society. Rooted in gender-responsive education sector planning, the Initiative champions the leadership of ministries of education and other national actors to develop and implement plans, policies and interventions for the purpose of advancing gender equality in education. The Initiative is led by the GCI Alliance in eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone). GCI is jointly coordinated by UNGEI and IIEP-UNESCO.

alt

The 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.

GRESP workshop Dakar, Senegal, 2021

From 27 to 30 September 2021, UNGEI, UNESCO-IIEP, ANCEFA, FAWE, GPE, UNICEF and Gender at Work joined forces in Dakar, Senegal, to organize the very first in-person GRESP workshop since the COVID-19 outbreak. As a part of the Gender at the Centre Initiative (GCI), the workshop brought together civil society representatives from FAWE, ANCEFA and Plan International, as well as young feminist activists, coming from 11 French speaking countries in West and Central Africa.

Blogs

GCI countries

BURKINA FASO
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION  

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination
Medium  

Lower secondary level completion rate (%) 
Boys: 13 
Girls: 6 
(UNICEF, 2021c) 

Child marriage rate (%)  
Girls: 52  
Boys: 4 
(DHS, 2010)    

Early childbearing rate (%) 
28
(UNESCO, 2020)

Female teachers (%)
Primary: 47
Secondary: 17
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Menstrual hygiene management
21% of girls are absent from school during their menstrual period. 
(UNICEF and UNFPA, 2019) 

Women and girls aged 15–49 who have undergone some form of FGM (%)
76
(DHS, 2010)

 

Achievements in 2021: 

  • The Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Consortium supported the government to make Covid-19 education response plans more gender-responsive. They carried out a capacity-building meeting for secondary school stakeholders on the specific needs of girls during COVID-19, particularly those in a situation of pregnancy or living with a disability. 

  • GCI produced a gender analysis of the MoE’s COVID-19 crisis response plan, met with the MoE to advocate for stronger measures to help girls remain in school 

  • IIEP-UNESCO started a Participatory Gender Diagnosis within the Ministry of National Education, Literacy, and Promotion of National Languages (MENALPN). 

  • Based on the findings of the diagnosis, IIEP prepared a project of action research on power dynamics and change in gender within institutions in collaboration with educational planners and managers.  

     

CHAD 
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination High 

Lower secondary level completion rate (%) 
Boys: 18 
Girls: 10  
(UNICEF, 2021) 

Child marriage rate (%) 
Girls: 67 
Boys: 8 
(DHS, 2014-15) 

Early childbearing rate (%) 
51 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Female teachers (%)  
Primary: 18 
Secondary: 7 
(UNESCO, 2020) 

Menstrual hygiene management 
8 out of 10 adolescent girls do not have adequate facilities and/or knowledge to effectively manage their menstruation. 
(Republic of Chad, 2018) 

Disability and inclusion 
Only 18% of children with disabilities are currently enrolled in primary school. 
(GPE, 2018) 

Women and girls aged 15-49 who have undergone some form of FGM (%)  
38.4 
(28 Too Many, 2019) 

 

Achievements in 2021: 

  • An awareness campaign was launched by the CSO consortium at the Ministry of National Education and Civic Promotion (MENPC) in 10 districts of the capital Ndjamena in March 2021, reaching an estimated 2,000 people.

MALI
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination 
High 

Lower secondary level completion rate (%) 
Boys: 36 
Girls: 25 
(UNICEF, 2021)    

Early marriage rate (%) 
Girls: 54 
Boys: 2 
(DHS, 2018)   

Early childbearing rate (%) 
33 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Female teachers (%)  
Primary: 32 
Secondary: 14  
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Menstrual hygiene management  
75% of primary schools and 65% of lower secondary schools do not have gender-segregated latrines. 
(Turner et al., 2020)    

Women and girls aged 15-49 who have undergone some form of FGM (%)  
91 
(DHS, 2012-13) 


Achievements in 2021: 

  • An inception workshop was held in February 2021, which included the participation of senior officials from the MoE, school directors, and CSO representatives. GCI helped 150 girls to remain or go back to school with support for school fees and school supplies. More than 25,000 people are estimated to have been reached by radio campaigns highlighting themes about girls’ education (e.g., effects of COVID-19, effects of violence against girls, etc.) 

MAURITANIA  
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination 
No data 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Lower secondary level completion rate (%)
Boys: 53 
Girls: 40 
(UNICEF, 2021)  

Child marriage rate (%)  
Girls: 37 
Boys: 2 
(UNICEF, 2017)  

Early childbearing rate (%)  
22 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Female teachers (%) 
Primary: 33 
Secondary: 13 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Women and girls aged 15-49 who have undergone some form of FGM (%)  
69 
(MICS, 2011) 

 

Results and key achievements in 2021: 

  • In 2021, the Ministry of National Education, Technical Training and Reform of Mauritania submitted an official request to IIEP-UNESCO Dakar for technical assistance to carry out a gender diagnosis and a gender sensitive ESA. 
  • IIEP-UNESCO conducted an in-depth literature review of gender issues in the Mauritanian education sector and has initiated in partnership with UNHCR a case study on the gender dimensions in the education of displaced populations and their integration into national education systems. The goal of the study is to support the inclusion of displaced populations in national education systems using a gender-sensitive approach. 

MOZAMBIQUE
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination 
Low 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Lower secondary level completion rate (%)  
Girls: 11  
Boys: 15 
(UNICEF, 2021)  

Child marriage rate (%)  
Girls: 53  
Boys: 10  
(AIS, 2015)

Early childbearing rate (%)  
53 
(UNESCO, 2020)    

Female teachers (%)  
Primary: 46  
Secondary: 31 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Disability and inclusion 
14% of out-of-school children have disabilities (GPE, 2018)


Achievements in 2021: 

  • The CSO consortium carried out several media campaigns to promote girls’ right to education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This included a television debate on reopening schools in the context of COVID-19, with representatives of the consortium and the Secretary General of the National Organisation of Teachers. 
  • The CSO consortium in Mozambique carried out a gender analysis of the education sector COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Strategy (2020-2029) and Covid-19 Response Plan.  
  • A capacity building training of the provincial network focal points on policy analysis in the education sector was held.

NIGER
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination 
No data 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Secondary completion rate (%)  
Boys: 10 
Girls: 4  
(UNICEF, 2021)  

Child marriage rate (%)  
Girls: 76 
Boys: 6  
(DHS, 2012)

Early childbearing rate (%) 
48 
(UNESCO, 2020)    

Female teachers (%)  
Primary: 53 
Secondary: 22 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Menstrual hygiene management  
40% of girls surveyed in a study of four regions in Niger reported having missed school at least one day per month due to their periods and a lack of gender-responsive sanitation at schools. 
(UN Women and WSSCC, 2017) 


Achievements in 2021: 

  • Preliminary research and preparatory work meetings were held by IIEP to implement the development of a data collection tool on school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). 
  • IIEP-UNESCO participated in the joint sector review and in the framework of the subgroup on the SNAEFFF integrated gender equality in the discussion. IIEP-UNESCO held strategic meetings with MoE’s authorities, and subsequently worked with the focal points to develop Niger’s detailed work plan for the initiative. 
  • The participatory gender diagnostic will take stock of gender equality issues in the education sector and within the MoE and formulate recommendations/propose priority areas for improving MoE’s gender mainstreaming capacity, effectiveness and results in preparation for the next education sector plan. 
  • A Training of Trainers was organized. The trainers then facilitated workshops in Niamey and Maradi whose objectives were to: 1) improve participants’ understanding of gender analysis and gender integration in the education planning cycle; and 2) strengthen participants’ capacities to plan and implement advocacy on gender in education. 

NIGERIA
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination 
High 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Lower secondary completion rate (%)  
Boys: 59 
Girls: 66 
(UNICEF, 2021)  

Child marriage rate (%)  
Girls: 43 
Boys: 3 
(DHS, 2018)  

Early childbearing rate (%)  
31 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Female teachers (%)  
Primary: 54 
Secondary: 46  
(World Bank, 2018)  

Disability and inclusion  
In Nigeria, an estimated 50% of out-of-school children have disabilities. 
(Mizunoya et al., 2016)  

Women and girls aged 15-49 who have undergone some form of FGM (%)  
25  
(DHS, 2013) 


Achievements in 2021: 

  • The CSO Consortium in Nigeria carried out a rapid online survey focusing on the knowledge, practice and challenges of gender-related issues for adolescent learners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Context-specific messages for stakeholder mobilization and sensitization were then produced, and the consortium supported a girl-led “back to school” campaign on radio platforms. 
  • The consortium supported a girl-led “back to school” radio campaign in Adamawa and Sokoto states, on stations ABC Yola and Vision FM Sokoto, to create awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on girls’ education among government officials, teachers’ unions, and School-Based Management Committees.  
  • GCI also produced a policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on girls’ education and held meetings with high-level education officials in both states. 

SIERRA LEONE 
SNAPSHOT OF GENDER AND EDUCATION 

Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) level of gender discrimination 
High 
(UNESCO, 2020)  

Lower secondary completion rate (%)  
Boys: 47  
Girls: 42  
(UNICEF, 2021)  

Child marriage rate (%)  
Girls: 30 
Boys: 7 
(MICS, 2017) 

Early childbearing rate (%)  
30 
(UNESCO, 2020)    

Female teachers (%)  
Primary: 30 
Secondary: 14 
(UNESCO, 2020) 


Achievements in 2021: 

  • A GCI project inception workshop was planned and organised in March.  
  • Fifteen participants (7 Female, 8 Male) attended a one-day Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop held on May 24 in Freetown. 
  • Sierra Leone demonstrated both political leadership and ownership of the planning process, with the preparation of its new Education Sector Plan. 
  • The government of Sierra Leone prepared a gender-responsive Education Sector Plan covering the 2022-2026 period. The plan is the fruit of the collaboration between the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and the Ministry of Tertiary and Higher Education (MTHE). 

Local Education Group 2021 Annual Reports on Gender Equality in education

The Gender at the Centre Alliance

More to explore

Gender at the Centre