Mary Helda Akongo, Fundi Girls Program Lead, Fundi Bots Hello all and welcome to all One Young World 2022 delegates to this session on “Advancing Education: The Path to Gender Equality.”
Text over white screen How is advancing equal access to quality education interlinked with achieving gender equality?
Angeline Murimirwa, Executive Director – Africa, CAMFEDToday’s girls we know are tomorrow’s leaders. Andstudies show that greater representation of women in leadership results in more equitable policies and better systems. So personally, I see exclusion of girls from school as the highest injustice because we know that education gives young people the chance they need to become independent and influential.
So as the CAMFED Association, this is a network of women leaders educated with CAMFED’s support. We are the living testimony of education. And it’s not just me, but, you know, close to 210,000 other young women, other sisters, who also got the same chance. For all of us it means that for the family, for the community, the vicious cycle of poverty is broken. The long term solution to this crisis is ensuring that we educate girls today because the returns are phenomenal.
Salimatou Fatty, Founder and Executive Director, Salimatou Foundation for Education One thing I would recommend is that the fact that we involve community leaders, we make the stakeholders to take on the initiative as theirs and also to always advocate to them about the importance of having girls in school. And also providing – taking examples of all the females that are doing incredible work around the world. I think this would definitely encourage a lot of parents and communities to make sure that girl child, they give access to girl child to go to school.
Muzoon Almellehan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Syrian refugee and education activist We need world leaders who put more attention into education, not to give support to wars and to conflict. We need them to give those facilities that they give to war, to give it to education, to give it for development, to give it to initiatives that really can enable communities to not only to survive, but to thrive.
Text over white screen What would you say are some of the factors that you consider when you are designing a program that impacts millions of girls?
Angeline Murimirwa We need to think globally, but we must act locally. We need to be inspired and spurred into action by the huge numbers at stake, by the millions of children who are disadvantaged and particularly to not be insensitive to the disadvantaged on girls particularly. But we need to recognize the actions that need to be taken locally, particularly by those who are proximate to the issue, who are more nuanced to the experiences and the issues that are on the table. And as we program for mega-scale, we need to make sure that we listen and let those that have experienced the problem lead our responses.
I’ll also just talk about our Learner Guide program for us as an organization. So Learner Guides are young women that have been supported through school by CAMFED, that go back to their communities and work with local schools to support children socially. So they support children, for example, if a child is dropped out, they make a home visit to be able to understand what’s going on and work with the community, they rally the community to be able to support the child to go back.
I just want to say in schools that we work with, we realize that children who learn, you know, who are taught and supported by Learner Guides, they’re actually three times less likely to drop out of school. So I’m just wanting to demonstrate that when we work with those that are closest to the problem, we can make sure that our solutions are surgical.
Text over white screen What actions need to be taken to close the gender gap in literacy and harness its potential?
Muzoon Almellehan What they need from us to really see changes to the circumstances, to see more girls able to go to school, and to have at least 12 years of education. Not only basic education, children need a quality education because the education can ensure children have a bright future, can empower them to to have a strong life and they can really be independent can really participate positively in their societies.
Salimatou Fatty So one thing for people to look at is going to school and just in the classroom is not really enough. What we have to focus on in making sure we have achieved gender equality is to make sure people have quality of education.
Angeline Murimirwa One of the things that we have learned as an organization is that actually when you invest in the most marginalized within a system, everybody benefits. If you are designing a system to benefit those that are least served by it, anybody else benefits because you targeted those that are currently not being served.
Text over white screen How has CAMFED supported girls beyond the school gate?
Angeline Murimirwa First and foremost, we support by providing them with transition support, but we also provide business training, finance and support for the young women to access higher education and employment opportunities so that they can safely transition to a secure and fulfilling adulthood. Because by virtue of them being them, they are also living testaments to the possibilities of education. That has been the most powerful message to communities to continue to invest in education.
Text over white screen What advice do you have for young leaders who are watching this session and actively want to support girls and provide better education to them?
Salimatou Fatty Do not give up. Just continue your advocacy and just stand firm in what you believe in.
Muzoon Almellehan I think the best advice through my experience is to never underestimate their actions, because no matter how small their actions are, they can one day make a change and they can really change lives. They must never lose hope.
Angeline Murimirwa Speak up, act, think globally, but continue to act locally. Do not let the magnitude of the challenges overwhelm you. Every step forward matters and builds on the future. We all envision a world in which each and every child is educated, protected, respected, valued, and can grow up to turn the tide of poverty. I want to end this on a Swahili saying that I like so much, which says, ‘Pamoja Tunaweza,’ which means, ‘Together We Can.’ Thank you.