e4e Week 1

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To take part in the discussion, you can leave your comments, thoughts and experience reports in the forum section at the bottom of this page.

Time

Discussion April 12th – 16th
Keynote View keynote recording and slides
Moderators Elaine Unterhalter and Amy North

Brief

Although the numbers of children who never go to school are declining, an estimated 77 million children, 55% of whom are girls, are still denied any form of education (UNESCO, 2008). These children come overwhelmingly from the poorest communities in any country and from countries with long histories of conflict. Taking up the cause of education entails thinking of gender equality, both inside school, and in the complex relationships that can challenge poverty, ill health, fragile livelihoods and lack of adequate participation. The initial vision of partnership, presaged in the Beijing 1995 vision, envisaged horizontal connections so that gender and education initiatives would intersect with work on health and livelihoods, and would increase the participation of women in decision-making and valued work. In practice, however, networks of collaboration and joined-up initiatives have not always worked well, and the aim to improve gender equality in education and human rights regarding girls’ education must be assessed and taken forward in the light of enormous global inequalities within and between countries.

Discussion papers

1. Partnership, participation and power for gender equality in education Elaine Unterhalter PDF: English / French
2. Process of Girls Dropout in School Education: Analysis of Selected Cases in India Pankaj Das English
3. Girls’ educational strategies and visual practice: a gendered case from Tigray, Ethiopia Thera Mjaaland English
4. Poverty, gender, and education: participation and knowledge building in the schools of Porto Alegre, Brazil Moira Wilkinson and Luis Armando Gandin English

Upcoming papers at the Dakar conference (Abstracts)

The following abstracts report on papers to be presented in Dakar from 17-20 May 2010:

Press Pack

Summary of relevant issues from the UNESCO 2010 Global Monitoring Report

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52 Responses to “e4e Week 1”

  1. Ruth Okonya says:

    Community Action for Popular participation has in recent times tried to re-focus and intensify its work with the girl child with the aim of empowering girls and boys who would advocate for gender equality and equity. There is much talk about the need to increase enrolment and completion rates but what good will this be if the quality of education is still far from being achieved considering the current state of infrastructure,quality of teachers and learning atmosphere in northern Nigerian schools.

    Poverty comes up every time you ask a girl why she has never gone to school or why she dropped out of school. If the government cannot provide free basic education, the more poor parents would have to use these girls to generate income for the family and where there are limited resources they would have to make a choice of who goes to school and who doesn’t.

    Culture then comes to play, where the boy is seen as the future of his family and therefore needs to be educated while the girl is seen as just a wife and a mother only and is left without an opportunity for an education.

    There is need to continue advocating for more budgetary allocations for agricultural subsidy, more funding for Adult literacy and provision of free basic education that will benefit the poor and the marginalized.

    Sensitization of these communities on the effects of cultural factors which denies girls access to education in Northern Nigeria,which will bring about attitudinal change and empower people to become advocates of change.

  2. This refers to the Indian conext for girl child education and rights. Recently , Indian Government enacted a law for right of children to compulsory elementary education. The aim of the law is to achieve 100 percent literacy with which the progress can be achieved. However, the Law may not help the poor families because of povery. Unless and until the the poverty of the majority of the people be reduced to the maximum extent our efforts may not be fruitful. The democratic goverments in India are not fully using the granted/ allocated funds/grants for the development of education for children especially girls. Our Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh has been doing relentless efforts to mitigate the dropouts of girl children by way of providing various incentives to the parents and girl students.

  3. ALI Amadou says:

    Une mere qui se reveille le matin qui n'a pas de quoi nourrir ses enfants, qui n'a pas de quoi entretenir le menage le mari etant en exode, ne pourra que penser en priorite qu'a cela. La triste realite de nos terroirs ce que nos familles ont faim et soif la priorite pour elles c'est d'assurer le quotidien pour survivre, toute strategie de developpement de l'education doit prendre en compte cette dimension. le petit commerce des filles, la garde des petits enfants, la recherche de bois, de l'eau et meme le mariage precoce sont des consequences de la pauvrete. Aussi, le fait que la femme soit clouee au menage se battant souvent seul pour entretenir le foyer constitue une contrainte reelle defavorisant la SCOFI.

    • Victoire says:

      Je suis tout a fait d’accord.Le contexte dans lequelle nous vivons, les realites vecus par la femme et la jeune fille doivent etre pris en compte par les decideurs, faute de quoi, le nombre de filles qui quittent l’ecole chaque annee continuera de grimper.

      La prise en compte de ces facteurs externe aura un tres grand impact positif sur la lutte contre l’inegalite non seulement dans le secteur de l’education mais dans bien d’autres secteurs, tel le domaine politique, etc.

  4. Ricardo Hylton says:

    I am interested in the specific impact will this have on the Caribbean area? The West Indian islands are generally ignored at he expense of subsaharan africa or south east asia. Issues of gender parity are real here so it would be interesting to know how UNESCO and other UN organs would address these issues here.

    • Elaine Unterhalter says:

      Ricardo – it would be useful if you could identify some of the intergenerational issues relating to girls' education in this region so that we can get some further responses

  5. Avenues to hear the voices of poor girls with regard to schooling is through the following:

    Focus Group discussion

    House- to House visitation

    Empathy with the identified ones.This seems to give them opportunities to open up and share their experiences.

    This has actually helped me as a researcher.

  6. Tim says:

    Question 6:
    What more could be done to enhance policy and practice?
    Click reply to leave your response.

    • Kadidia Doumbia says:

      Pour avoir travaille en Afrique pendant plusieurs annees, la verite est qu'il ne suffit pas de signer des accords internationaux pour obtenir un quelconque changement. Les valeurs sociales sont pesantes et meme une volonte politique bien que necessaire, n'est pas suffiante. Il y a un besoin pressant d'explications et surtout de rassurer la societe et en particulier la gente masculine que l'education de la femme n'entrainera pas un changement drastique da la societe mais une amelioration reelle pour la famille. Et, dans ce cas de figure, je parle precisement de la population non eduquee dans son ensemble. Toute amelioration /changement reclame que l'on tienne compte de l'environnement. Cela fait plusieurs decennies que des conferences sont organisees sur ce sujet et les problemes sont connus par consequent il faut les adresser au lieu de continuer a en parler. Le cas de la fille vivant en milieu rural en Afrique est typique. L'acces aux structures formelles d'education s'avere souvent impossible donc qu'est qui a ete fait pour entraver ce probleme? quelles sont les options offertes? Qu'est ce qui peut etre fait pour les ameliorer?

      • Kadidia pose l'un des aspects cruciaux du problème de l'éducation des filles: la fille vivant en milieu rural ou la majeur partie du temps les écoles n'existent presque pas et quand elles existent, elles sont situées a une telle distance du village que les parents ne tiennent pas a y envoyer les filles car nul ne peut prévoir tout ce qui pourrait arriver a cette fille en route ou même au sein de l'école si déjà elle arrive a éviter le mariage force, la grossesse précoce et autres dangers qui la guettent pour se retrouver a l'école.
        Le manque d'infrastructures/équipement, l'absence d'enseignants ou quand il y a en a leur manque de formation, les conditions et termes de travail précaires des enseignants qui font qu'ils sont tout le temps en grève, bref, toutes ces choses font que les élèves sont dans des classes archi-combles ou la moitie de l'année dehors avec des enseignes insuffisamment formes, presque pas de femmes enseignantes dans les zones rurales….. Au total, rien de tout cela n'encourage les parents a envoyer la fille a l'école. Les politiques éducatives ne semblent ignorer l'idée d'une carte scolaire qui prendrait en compte toutes les régions du pays étant donne que tous les enfants quelque soit le lieu de résidence ont droit a la même éducation dans les mêmes conditions…… Une meilleure allocation budgétaire pour l'éducation, la gestion transparente et démocratique de la décentralisation afin que les montants alloues a l'éducation puissent aller jusqu'au niveau de l'école et dépensés a bon escient…… Pourquoi pas???

    • Our work on TEGINT shows that there needs to be shift from policy that focuses on the supply side of education- so providing infrastructure, schools etc- to a more demand focused policy that addresses some of the issues around social sectors working together highlighted above. The barriers we are finding to girls' enrolment and success are a complex set of interactions at community, regional and national levels, and one of the most critical things is work at the community level, addressing some of the gendered barriers girls are facing- violence in school, the community and at home, gendered labour burdens etc. A shift in thinking away from education policy and practice being only about the school and school environment towards a more holistic model would help- we think!

      • Kate Greany says:

        Rebecca,

        It is very interesting that you say this. I am just back from doctoral research with Karamojong youth in the slums of Kampala. I am looking at how schooling is converted – or not – into something that these youth value (from jobs to good health to privacy to self-respect – the values are determined by them). This focus on conversion comes from a concern with looking ‘beyond access’ and also with how a linear approach to education, starting with access to education, then quality in education, then equity through education simply does not make conceptual sense. They are all interrelated and affected by the same intersecting factors.

        For example, one of the most striking things about the data from my fieldwork is how a complex intersection of history, culture, politics and socio-economic factors at (macro, community, family) level OUTSIDE school operate to prevent education conversion (and of course, access to education) to something they value – the cycle is vicious, of course, because this stems in part from poverty (poverty in the senses outlined in the keynote as a trap, as relational and as fuel) and then perpetuates poverty. Of course these factors operate in school too but whilst efforts are made to address this in education policy, the connectedness of the external factors to each other and to schools don’t seem to be appreciated by policy makers

        To illuminate how these factors intersect at many levels and in terms of access, quality and equity, think of this example. A girl, let’s call her Agnes, has had schooling limited to 5 years in Karamoja (a pastoral region of Uganda) due to an intersection of poverty and cultural factors; those five years schooling were blighted by an intersection of political, historical and economic factors that meant that the education she received was of poor quality, and contributed to low self-esteem (though also had some positive outcomes, she believes). She then moves to the capital Kampala as part of her family’s mulitple livelihood strategy in the face of drought and insecurity in Karamoja. There, exactly because of who she is and where she has come from, what language she speaks, etc, she meets other Karamojong girls, some of whom have education, and some don’t.

        So what does she do in Kampala with her five years of schooling? (How) is it converted into something she values? Well, the context in which her education is supposed to be converted is not favourable to widening her freedoms, or increasing social opportunity in any way. Although the economy is growing in Uganda, this only allows certain people in. There is also huge under-employment. Plus, Agnes is a Karamojong girl. Mainstream Ugandan society tends to construct Karamojong as being wild, warriors, idle, asking for handouts, backwards, uncivilised. Karamojong girls and boys are also constructed in specific ways by the host community. And even within the Karamojong in Kampala there are marked differences that may lead to advantage or disadvantage in terms of education conversion (when you arrived, which slum you live in, who you know). Agnes, despite being a Ugandan citizen is an outsider, in a foreign land, as she sees it. As a result, Agnes cannot access credit to start any sort of business, which is what some (schooled and unschooled) do in the slums. She cannot access further schooling (which she would like to do) because UPE schools in Kampala charge urban top-up fees and private schools are too expensive, and anyway, how could she earn money to live if she studied? As the lowest on the rung of slum dwellers, she washes clothes for Somali refugees, or sweeps leftover grain from the market, making about the equivalent of 25 cents a day (both of these jobs risk non-payment, abuse and exploitation); she lives in a dorm charged by the day with no privacy (which she values); she cannot save money as she spends what she makes, or more (especially at times of a health crisis); she decides to try to beg on the street, because this is what her Karamojong friends do, but this increases the risk of being beaten or rounded up by authorities. She finds that at night, some Karamojong girls hang out outside clubs and are picked up by those who say Karamojong girls are sweet, and sees that sometimes these girls are paid, so despite not wanting to, she does this – and in doing so probably wipes out her chances of a good marriage (something she values highly) and risks unplanned pregnancy and/or STDs. And yet education is hailed as something that can help in exactly the above sort of freedoms.

        Although she values the ability to read and write which she learnt in school, and she enjoyed wearing the uniform as it made her feel smart, and loved the sports she played because it made her feel part of a team, she does not use any of this in Kampala. The freedoms and increased social opportunity promised by education do not materialise, because the environment is entirely hostile to education conversion, and that is nothing to do with the school environment itself.

        This is not to say we should not keep up the effort to realise the right to education, but that the right to education – obviously ths is a hugely important thing, and already many girls are being educated who would not otherwise have been. But I think policy makers need to ask the question how do a range of intersecting aspects of poverty affect educational access, quality and conversion so that we can improve on the chances of education being able to fulfill its potential as a contributer to wider freedoms or rights (through collaboration between govt departments, for example)? Also, what other initiatves need to be used in tandem with education?

        Sorry this is very long!

    • Jenni says:

      When I’ve asked this sort of question in my university sessions, the students (who are teachers and school leaders) generally call for a deliberative approach e.g. more inclusion of interest groups, participation and consultation. Too often they express dismay at being left out and government using top-down approaches.

  7. Tim says:

    Question 5:
    What advocacy for girls’ rights in education is taking place and with what outcomes?
    Click reply to leave your response.

    • I have described in my other posts our efforts to support children and youth organizations to advocate at family, community and municipality level for the eradication of GBV at school; and the successes of this work. In West Africa, a strong alliance between Plan, Action Aid, Save the Children Sweden and UNICEF has developed to advocate against school violence, which we understand is an important factor contributing to girls drop out rates. Plan is globally and in all 12 countries in West Africa were we worked engaged in advocating at all levels for the eradication of violenc at school; a particular focus of this work is on GBV which is according to our research affecting mostly girls. My organization has discovered in this process that school violence is a politically hot topic and there is resentment at the level of decision makers to see it largely discussed in public. It is a topic where individual beliefs and child rearing practices as well as their own history at school can shape the actions of decision makers much more than what's been ratified in international conventions.

      • I think I'm with you on many of the points you make above, Stefanie. At the same time, though, I would like to underline one positive aspect about international conventions and using them for advocacy. We at the Right to Education Project work on the premise that education is a right with correlated obligations and therefore promote advocacy and activism to demand compliance with human rights law. I am well aware that the law in itself is not sufficient, but it does indeed allow to:1) identify the content of the right, the rights-holders and duty-bearers, and the obligations; 2) recognise obstacles, denials and violations; 3) give a solid ground for action to demand remedies and accountability.

      • Here are some examples of how human rights law has been used: the recent ECOWAS Court ruling against Nigeria that education is an enforceable right clearly sends a signal that citizen's can bring their claims in front of a court and that the state will have to respond, thus dismissing any objections that education is "a mere directive policy of the government." Using the law and recurring to Courts has also been key to bring attention to the issue of discrimination against Roma children (amongst the poorest in Europe) and the denial of access to education for 2 girls of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. Legal action is only one aspect of advocacy and it should certainly be supplemented by work at all levels, including in the first place popularising the law and its meaning. But it is one of the most important elements, one that gives clear legitimacy to our claims.

        • Elaine Unterhalter says:

          This discussion about rights and these examples are very compelling and highlight for me a range of different sites of engagement, thus advocacy is one, seeking remedy for rights violations is another, identifying duty bearers inside and beyond institutions would be a third. In each I see there might be different dynamics regarding who participates and what analysis is used, but the key issue would be to make the processes and the rationales very clear and also to consider what the connections between different sites might be.

  8. Tim says:

    Question 4:
    What intergenerational strategies to address gender inequalities in education exist in contexts you know well and what do evaluations show?
    Click reply to leave your response.

    • Alphonsine Bouya says:

      Il existe dans certains pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Benin, Gambie, Burkina Faso, etc) des Associations des Meres des Filles, crees non pas en opposition aux traditionnelles associations des parents d'eleves (APE ou PTAs en anglais) mais venant en complementarite de ces dernieres lorsque le besoin s'est fait sentir d'une plus grande participation des femmes et des meres aux activites de promotion de la scolarisation des filles. Depuis, ces AMF ont gagne en autorite comme en experience et sont des devenues des references pour l'appui a la scolarisation des enfants (garçons et filles).

      • adomayakpor says:

        J'ai eu l'opportunité de discuter avec les précurseurs de ces organisations telles que les associations de mère d'élèves notamment au Burkina Faso. Je crois que le travail doit être continuée pour que ces organisations se positionnent autrement sur les perspectives de gender et de scolarisation des filles. Bien souvent, elles fonctionnent en se comparant aux dynamiques des associations de parents d'élèves de manière classique, en oubliant qu'elles doivent également puiser dans leurs vécus et leur identité pour pousser la scolarisation des filles dans leurs milieux. Par exemple assurer la cantine scolaire en donnant du temps pour faire les repas, cultiver le jardin potager de l'école. Pour moi , on retombe dans les travers de la division sexiste du travail.Je suis d'accord avec toi que c'est un potentiel à exploiter autrement.

    • Our organization (Plan) has had positive experiences in Mali working with Student’s Mother’s Associations. Mothers have taken an active role in advocating for girls to have equal access to quality education. An important element of our program has been to provide basic literacy training to Students Mothers Associations. This has had benefits at the individual level for mother’s and better equipped them to carry out their work in supporting girl’s education. The skills learned in the Students Mother’s Associations have increased the confidence of many mothers to go on and become active members of School Management Committees, where key decisions are made at the school level regarding the education of girls and boys.

  9. Tim says:

    Question 3:
    How are partnerships across social sectors working with regard to girls’ rights to schooling?
    Click reply to leave your response.

    • Plan's working experience has shown that – at least in West Africa – the cooperation between social sectors remains fragemented and inefficient. This is largely related to the silo-approach and organization of development actors which address the question of girls' education mainly as relevant to their specific area of intervention rather than seeing the global picture and girls needs and rights as they go through the different phases of childhood. Partnerships tend to work well around globally acknowledged themes – such as achieving primary education – which involve actors with shared objectives and mandates; and global pressure (MDGs); they become rarer and less efficient once more politicized themes (such as GBV at school) are concerned or when interaction of multiple government entities and development actors is required (such as in debates around early marriage, teenage pregnancy and girls education rights) to establish comprehensive legal frameworks and social development efforts.

    • Here in Morocco, the Academy for Educational Development, under contract with USAID and in partnership with Entraide Nationale, a semi-autonomous governmental unit, have found rich partnership around the operation of girls' (and boys') dormitories. The particular model that we supported is called the Dar Taliba, which are operated by local associations under contract to Entraide Nationale. As our project helped Entraide Nationale and the associations strengthen the qualitative aspects of the Dar Taliba – moving beyond a safe place to lodge to include academic support and psychosocial enrichment – the interest of parents, of local authorities and of other partners became more evident. Just one example: in a more conservative area in the northeast corner of Morocco, the Dar Taliba was severely underutilized. With the advent of the "Quality Dar Taliba" program, parents found that their fears concerning sending their daughters to town were now adequately addressed and the demand for beds exceeded the supply. The local governor stepped in and provided funding to expand the facility. At the same time, the local school recognized its responsibility to support these girls especially and began to provide more regular academic support at the facility.

    • Azuka Menkiti says:

      Actionaid Nigeria last year organised a National Girls education Summit on Violence Against Girls in Schools. The Summit brought together boys and girls from different levels of schools, traditional and religiuos leaders, Policy and law makers, Proffessionals and security agents as well as civil soceity . The outcome of the this summit is the establishment of a national technical working Group on VAGs – a partnership across social sectors as a mu;lti sectoral approach to handling cases of violence thatdeny girls their right to schooling. This partnership is a collaboration with the Nigerian Police, Parliamentarians , education authorities at diferent levels, Medical Practioners, Lawyers, school Guidans Counsellors , the Media and civil soceity. This committee is currently working on a pilot project on the development of data base on cases of violence against girls in schools as a build up for legialation and policy framework on this issue. Capacities will be built on VAGs to have a shared understsnding of the different kinds of school based violence and how they impact on the right of the girls to schooling.

    • Elaine Unterhalter says:

      The replies confirm themes that I have seen in research literature. Partnerships appear to work on particular projects, like the girls' dormitories in Morocco or the Nigeria girls' education summit, but long-term initiatives across social sectors, particularly those that deal with the multi-dimensioanlity of poverty and girls' rights to schooling, are difficult to put in place and sustain. The experience with partnerships on HIV in different countries might be quite illuminating. In some countries there was effective work between departments dealing with health, education, and welfare, but very often, even the face of a most serious epidemic, it was difficult to build the kind of communication and co-ordinated social policy that was needed. It may be that policy commentators, in calling for partnerships, fail to understand the conditions of work that make this difficult. But it may also be that some of the insights generated on building health systems might be useful to explore in thinking about partnerships both as particular projects but also as systemic co-ordination of work on poverty and girls' education

  10. Tim says:

    Question 2:
    What avenues exist to hear the voices of poor girls with regard to schooling and what actions result?
    Click reply to leave your response.

    • Our organization (Plan) has made excellent experiences in working with children organizations to systematize participation of girls (and boys) on issues related to education and GBV. Rather than aiming at organizing extractive consultations with them, we aim to strengthen children's organizations participation in civil society in general. This implies a longer term capacity development process which goes from strengthening organizational capacity of goups up to training in advocacy . This work has resulted in positive changes at community level as participting girls and boys pressed for stronger attention to codes of conducts at school level up to pursuing perpetrators of violence. The most impressive results seen so far are in the direct environment of young people, i.e. at family level and between peers and towards teachers. We have been able though to link this youth advocacy work to international events and conferences, amplifying their voice at higher levels. F We have also started to ivnestigate in the role of school / student parliaments in West Africa in regard to making girls' voices heard

    • Perhaps my favorite case that refers to this question is from Ethiopia, where World Learning implemented a project in Community Participation in Education with USAID funding from 1998 to about 2007. Having introduced gender equity as a prominent goal of the project to the many community groups and schools involved in the project, the project saw a proliferation of Girls' Education Committees emerge, the object of local initiative. In Ethiopia, there is the horrific practice of girls' abduction, when a young (or less young) many, usually accompanied by a group of friends, kidnap a girls, usually rapes her and waits for the elders to negotiate a marriage, with the girls' defilement preventing her from other options in the future. In one school, a teacher abducted a girl from another school. The girls in the teachers school, emboldened by the existence and efforts of the Girls' Education Committee, went on strike. They told the School Director that they would not return to school until the teacher returned the abducted girl to her family. Childrens power!

      • Joshua- love that example and that's the sort of thing we are trying to achieve with the TEGINT project. What's happened to the project now? I would be interested to know about the sustainability of this after the project ended to see if there is anything we can learn for our project on sustaining the change after the formal project period is over.

    • Practical example from TEGINT project in Tanzania;
      TEGINT imply Transforming Education for Girls in Nigeria and Tanzania. A project funded by Comic Relief,it was initiated 2008-2011with focus in addressing the underlying gender inequality which is keeping girls out of school and making them highly vulnerable to HIV infection.
      TEGINT have established structures such as Parliamentarian (Bunge session), In Tanzania the term Bunge imply parliament’ were students meet twice a year to discuss issues affecting their enrolment, attendance and progression, issue of Gender and HIV/AIDS. Bunge session is lead by the schools Patron and Matron but has its Speaker and the Deputy Secretary who copy down all discussion and share with policy makers or Local Government Authority for further actions

    • Other avenues is the School clubs, in the project sites there 46 clubs which were established and lead by students and received supports from the matron and patrons in case they need to push forwards their agenda to their local Government authority.
      Inter districts exchange visits; This is the National level engagement that bring students from various districts and share challenges encountered ; at this point similarities and difference are shared and inter district recommendation are drawn with expectation of receiving feedbacks from Government agencies such as police; gender desk on issues or i.e rape, Health centers on HIV/AIDS, District Education officers on issues of distance to and from the schools and issue of lack of teaching and learning facilities etc.
      Community Development Facilitators; These are key people to downstream skills gain from various training ,the knowledge gain from various training is down streamed by CDFs via their clubs using various participatory methodology such as Basket of Tool ,STAR and the like. The intention is to reach more number of girls and boys being or not being involved in the clubs.

    • Also another avenue is the use of School Management Committee –Since school management committee played an influential role to link parents and the school the project also manages to push inclusion of student’s representative’s one girl and a boy whom will push their agenda in their meetings.
      Finally the last avenue is the use of Out of school forums ;these are forum organized to cater for the out of school students, the project recognized this group and session are organized in such a way that issues raised by this group are instrumental in addressing challenges encountered, however the intension also aim to link this students with the existing programme such as MEMKWA( Government initiative to provide education for those who in any reason missed the chance etc to allow them fill the existing educational gape.

    • Generally the above avenues have significantly contribution positively to meet TEGINT project objectives. These platforms have enable Girls and Boys to come together, parents, school management committee ,local Government authority and policy maker and through this Girls voices are basically aired and issues hinder their enrolment ,retention, and progression (concern such as rape, lack of facilities, distance to and from the school. school feeding and the like are prime for discussion .
      The discussion does not end there rather the Local Government Authority is given chance to respond on the concern raised ,for instance for TEGINT project this process have contribute positively as we have experience Government commitment to address concern raised in some projects sites such of school feeding, were Government authority initiate the process by proving 60 bags of maize and parents agreed to continue contributing to ensure continuity of school feeding, creation of bylaws for parents received dowry and restrict their children to stay at schools and the like.

    • Dr. Mrs. Tamajong says:

      I am very happy to be on board with this programme. In Cameroon, we have structures such as the Catholic Women Association (CWA) and the Christian Women Fellowship (CWF) of the Catholic and the Presbyterian churches respectively. These women groups organise educative talks on monthly basis to abandonned and HIV/AIDS infected and affected girls on the importance of education. They provide school materials to these group of girls. They even go as far as paying the fees of the less priviledged .
      Private entities should encouraged since the government has failed the people.
      Dr. Mrs. Elizabeth Tamajong.
      Director National Centre for Education.
      Yaoundé, Cameroon.

    • La première chose serait une volonté politique nationale en faveur de l'éducation comme une priorité de développement; la prise en compte de la question de l'éducation des filles dans la conception et la mise en œuvre des politiques éducatives qui prendraient en compte tous les aspects sociaux, culturels, politiques et économiques. Ce qui impliquerait bien entendu l'éducation des adultes et des femmes en particulier puisque plus les parents, la mère en particulier sera sensibilisée aux bénéfices de l'éducation pour tous les enfants, plus la fille aurait des chances d'accès, de maintien et de succès dans le système éducatif.
      Dans nos sociétés africaines-et peut être en Asie- la question des modèles est assez importante: le recrutement des femmes enseignantes, la discrimination positive dans l'attribution des bourses a tous les niveaux, l'autonomisation des femmes comme agent de développement …. et surtout l'implication des filles, des jeunes filles , des enfants en général dans la lutte pour le respect du droit a l'éducation des filles, de touts les enfants.
      Sur la base des recherches nationales, ActionAid met de plus en plus la priorité sur la participation des enfants en général et des filles en particulier a tous les niveaux. Dieux merci, les politiques sont encore sensibles aux messages des enfants eux memes

      • Alphonsine Bouya says:

        School or Canteen Management Committees are an important avenue for WFP assisted school feeding projects to get more women involved in the projects' cycle. La presence des femmes (en general 50%) dans les comites de gestion de l'ecole ou de la cantine a largement facilite le message du PAM sur l'investissement dans l'education de filles comme un investissement a long terme pour le developpement du capital humain.

        • Alphonsine , I agree that women involvement in scholl feeding program can help a lot. However I would love to see WFP use locally produced food so that while we are improving access and retention for girls, children particularly, we are also contributing to the promotion of local farmers. Comme on dit en francais, faire d'une pierre deux coups……. More important the children will have more chance to have a hot meal a day

          • Alphonsine Bouya says:

            Victorine,
            Indeed WFP is buying food in countries with WFP supported projects including school feeding programmes are run. Local purchase represent about 60 percent of total food requirements in many countries. You may have read or heard about WFP Food for Progress (P4P) programmes. As regards school feeding, you may also have read or heard about Home Grown School Feeding that are being implemented with WFP support in countries like Kenya, Ghana, Mali, and many others. In almost all WFP school feeding programs (except may be in emergency operations) children are provided with at least one hot meal a day.

    • Azuka Menkiti says:

      My organisation – Actionaid Nigeria established girls clubs in Project communities. Through these clubs, cpapcity of the girls are built on leadreship skills, Public speaking and advocacy skills. The girls are also exposed to female Role models who inspire them to aspire for greater heights. Using participatory tools the girls are led to identify their priority issues and steps to address such issues. Using the skills acquired the girls are able to interact with parliamentarians and policy makers representing their constituencies and advocate for improved school infrastructure. In one of the states in Nigeria, through an adviocacy and interactive meeting with the state legislators, the girls clubs were able to get the state governbment make an addirtional budfgettary allocation for girls education in the year's budget.

    • Elaine Unterhalter says:

      The discussion has described the building of children's and women's organisations, girls' clubs and school parliaments in a number of countries with some wonderful examples of resulting actions challenging violence and rape, improving school facilities, and providing food. This is a very important avenue to document and keep evaluating. Some questions that strike me as interesting to discuss further are: do we hear the voices of the poorest girls and sustain actions to support them in the organizations described? The question about locally grown food and school feeding programmes illustrates this. Is the food supplied through advocacy in clubs etc grown and prepared by women in poor communities, or is school feeding yet another area in which government policy, partly because of concerns with efficiency , neglects the economic conditions of the poor, their lack of access to the market and gives contracts to the richest. Similarly who are the girls who lead in girls' clubs? Are there opportunities to rotate responsibility? More examples and discussion very welcome.

  11. Tim says:

    Question 1:
    What are the links between poverty, social division and discrimination against girls with regard to schooling in contexts you know well?
    Click reply to leave your response.

    • Kadidia Doumbia says:

      Dans plusieurs societes du monde, les filles sont elevees pour etre de bonnes epouses et de bonnes meres. La societe n'envisage a aucun moment de leur permettre d'avoir acces a l'education formelle minimum et elles n'ont d'ailleurs pas cette ambition. D'autre part, la pauvrete entraine une selection logique. Le garcon doit aller a l'ecole parce qu'il aura a nourrir la famille et la fille sera entretenue par son mari par consequent elle n'a pas reellement besoin d'y aller. I

      ll a ete prouve que plus une population est eduquee plus l'economie dudit pays s'ameliore. Neanmoins, dans ce cas de figure, le manque de ressources reste un facteur important de cette discrimnination envers la fille. La solution: une amelioration de l'economie des pays en voie de developpement qui entrainera une amelioration des conditions de vie de la population et de leur pouvoir d'achat; ce qui resultera par une non discrimination concernant l'education des enfants quel que soit leur sexe.

      • Je suis d'accord en principe avec le constat de Kadidia. Pourtant, j'ai un exemple qui montre comment on peut capitaliser sur l'accent sur la preparation des filles pour devenir mere et epouse pour promouvoir leur education formelle. Au Benin, entre 2002 et 2004 (si je me souviens bien), World Learning a mene avec des ONG beninoises (GRAPAD, MJCD & une 3eme) le projet "Community Action for Girls' Education" dans le nord du pays avec un financement de l'USAID. Nous avons commence avec une question qui repond a ce souci primordial des parents: "Quelles sont les competences et connaissances requises dans votre communaute qu'une mere ou femme doit posseder pour reussir?" On a suivi avec une deuxieme question: "Lesquelles apprend-elle chez elle et lesquelles ne peut-elle acquerir qu'a l'ecole?" A l'ecole, on apprend le francais, les calculs, les notions de la sante, etc. qui permettent aux femmes de mieux s'occuper de la sante, du suivi de l'education des enfants, de faire le marche, de cultiver, etc. Cela a permis aux membres de la communaute d'apprehender que l'ecole sert bien pour rester et pour s'epanouir et faire epanouir sa famille et sa communaute. Le resultat? La vaste majorite des communautes participant au projet ont embrasse l'objectif de faire eduquer leurs filles et ont propose et entame toute sorte d'initiatives pour y parvenir. Au lieu de venir dans une communaute eloignee pour reprocher les parents pour ne pas eduquer leurs filles a l'ecole, il vaut mieux comprendre qu'ils veulent tous, avec de tres rares exception, eduquer leurs filles. La question qu'ils se posent est: "Est-ce que l'education que ma fille recevra a l'ecole sera d'une qualite et d'une pertinence qui la prepare suffisamment bien pour son avenir le plus probable?" Malheureusement, la reponse la plus legitime a cette question en "Non," et garder la fille a la maison pour l'eduquer pour son avenir est plus approprie.

        • Angela Melchiorre says:

          Merci d’avoir mis l’accent sur la qualité de l’éducation, Joshua. Trop souvent des filles décident que la vie de mariée et maman offres des meilleures alternatives a une école ou elles ne parviennent pas à réussir ou une école qui n’offres pas des prospectives pour le future dans leur intérêts. Si des expériences négatives à l’école (soit les résultats scolaire, soit la violence, soit le manque d’opportunités) poussent même les filles qu’y vont a l’abandonner pour s’orienter vers les mariages précoces, il faut se demander si l’éducation est vraiment ACCEPTABLE et ADAPTABLE pour ces filles. Qualité de l’éducation signifie non seulement un bon niveau de contenu et une bonne qualité des enseignantes, mais aussi flexibilité et attention aux filles eux-mêmes, à la manière dont elles vivent l’expérience scolaire et a leur intérêts pour leur vie future (plutôt que formuler l’éducation sur la base de ce qui nous croyons serait bien pour eux). C’est pour ca que des méthodes participatives, centré sur les filles, leur implication directe dans les choix du curriculum et dans la lutte pour leurs droits (comme a dit Victorine), et leur coté de la demande (comme dit Rebecca) sont vraiment important et devrait obtenir plus d’attention, aussi sur le plan de financements.

    • The real links are between Mothers education and discrimination against girls with regards to schooling, many families are poor in Africa but some of them will do every thing possible to send girls to school when the mother is educated, we can say that on girls accessing schools and learning, MOTHERS MATTER MOST !!!
      African governments are called to put more resources in Women' literacy ,empowerment and post-literacy programs specially in rural areas
      The reality is that they are putting less than 1% of their education budget into literacy, when are we going to acheive the 2005 target??

      • Alphonsine Bouya says:

        Tous les projets relatifs a la promotion de la scolarisation des filles ont peche sur un point, a savoir: la non prise en compte des aspects culturels des milieux dans lesquels sont mis en oeuvre ces projets. La realite est qu'en Afrique au Sud du Sahara, la femme est encore consideree comme un etre subalterne pour ne pas dire immature et irresponsable. Ces stereotypes qui persistent et qui ont la vie dure font que lorsque dans un contexte de pauvrete, le choix des familles pour la scolarisation se portent avant tout sur les garçons. Ce choix est sous tendu par l'idee que ce sont les hommes qui travaillent et ont la charge des familles; par consequent, il est plus judicieux d'investir dans l'education des garçons qui, au bout du compte, prendront en charge les parents arrives a l'age de l'inactivite. Force est de reconnaitre que des progres ont ete realises dans le domaine de la scolarisation des filles grace aux actions conjuguees de plusieurs intervenants et intervenantes, bref de plusieurs partenaires au developpement.

    • Azuka Menkiti says:

      Findings from Actionaid Nigeria Enhancing Girls Basic Education in Northern Nigeria project (EGBENN ) brought out very clearly the effect of poverty and socio cultural beliefs & practices on low enrollment of girls in schools. Analysis of the findings indicated that apart from policy and school related factors , poverty and perceptions that investing in girls education is a waste of resources ranked among the highest factors that denied girls their right to attend schools with a ratio of 3:1 in favour of boys in most community schools.

      Gender roles in these communities see girls playing no other roles but future wives and as such need to be groomed properely to become submissive wives.. Education is perceived as a negative influence towards achieveing the prescribed role of a submissive wife. This is moreso as marriages are contracted as early as between 10 and 13 years of age , thus parents see girls education as a waste of time and resources especially as the girls would be withdrawn soon after they are enrolled. Thus the trend is that girls enrollment begins to decline in the senior primary classes awith very low percentage of girls transiting from Primary to junior secondary schools.
      Povert level of families living in rural communities affect their acess, retention and performance in schools. Firstly, due to socio cultural beliefs of the role of girls/ women in these communities , where family incomes are limited and a choice needs to be made between a boy and a girl in terms of school fees and other school needs, the choice is usually made against the girl. In addition, families view girls education as a double loss because schooling not only stops these girls from participating in income generating activities that contribute to family income, but also requires the family to spend their meagre resouces on tschool uniforms, books and other school levies especially in Nigeria where the education is far from being free.

      Apart from issues around access, poverty, social division and discrimination also affect the their learnimng achievement. Some of these girls who combine schooling and income generating activities to support family income and perhaps their conyuinity in schools , go hawking after schools and have little or no time for homeworks. Sometimes some of these girls actually take on some of these activities in the mornings before going to school , consequently they get to school late and tired . This automatically affects their participation in school.
      Power dynamics and fear of losing control and authority over women plays out very clearly as a form of social division that has been identified as a key factor that facilitates discrimination against girls participation in education. There is the general perception that educated women are most unlikely to be submissive to their husbands.

    • Alawia Ibrahim Farag says:

      This issue is very obvious in the nomadic/rural areas of Sudan where girls are always deprieved from their right to access education. If the family is poor and can not afford the education of all its children, girls are the first ones not to be sent to, or drop out from school. This action is based on the assumption that boys are the breadwinners of the family future care takers while girls are going to be married and taken away to live with other families.
      Girls are always discriminated aganist and not give the same opportunities of schooling as boys do. The social division and even the socialization processes in these communities often put girls on lower positions hence, the illiteracy and drop out rates are estimated to be high among nomadic and rural areas of Sudan a thing that indicates gender inequality in education . Many studies proved this.

    • Elaine Unterhalter says:

      Thanks for interesting comments highlighting interlinked sites in which poverty & social division generate discrimination against girls. Sexual division of labout in poor families meansboys' education is priveleged, seen as a better investment than girls'. Government policies , eg. lack of free education, high costs for basic food , lack of expenditure on adult literacy and opportunities for women, exacerbate the tensions on poor families forcing them to choose between boys' and girls' futures. School conditions, eg inadequate teaching, or lack of capacity to protect against violence, undermine families' commitment to education for girls. The examples also highlight stereotypes (poor girls sxchooling seen as ' waste' ;mothers as subaltern) Enormous challenges of policy, advocacy, and practice thus remain to show this need not be the case. The comments suggest the importance of working on particular policies – free education, possibly subsidies for basic foods, improving teaching and learning in the poorest communities – so that poverty and social division do not limit girls' opportunities and force poor families to make impossible and tragic choices.

    • NNENNA ELUWA says:

      Poverty creates a big barrier which makes it difficult for the poor to claim any right. No matter how much they are abused most poor people do not claim their rights. Our studies have shown that some one has to claim these rights on behalf of the poor. We have started the total justice assurance project which trains officers to assess the level of rights abuses for the vulnerable groups and put up a claim on behalf of the individual. Educational Justice is one of the areas where claims are being put up on behalf of the individuals. Most government institutions cannot cope with providing the required educational facilities. This means that the economic empowerment for education programme has to be pursued. If all micro credit given to rural dwellers e.g. the Fadama loans for agriculture have a clause that children in benefiting cooperatives must have basic education, then many girl children will have a hope of being kept in school as long as their father hopes to secure a loan for his farm project. A clear legal and enforcement framework as well as other incentives must be attached to getting the girl child in school if this battle must be won. the same goes for protecting the reproductive health rights of the girl child.

      Nnenna Eluwa
      Executive Director,
      First Lady's Save Our Youths Campaign
      P.O.Box 2811 Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

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