The International Seminar on Girls’ and Women’s Education was the first activity implemented under the framework of the UNESCO-HNA Group Partnership, which was formed in February 2014. The international seminar also marked the official launch of the two complementary projects established under the UNESCO-HNA Funds-in-Trust (HFIT), namely, “Enhancing the quality and relevance of education for adolescent girls in Africa and Asia through gender-responsive teaching and learning”, and “Enhancing Girls' and Women's Right to Quality Education through Gender Sensitive Policy Making, Teacher Development and Pedagogy in South, Southeast, and Central Asia.”
The two projects aim to support African and Asian countries to accelerate their progress in achieving gender equality in education, with particular focus on gender-responsive teacher training and professional development. The projects will be implemented over a period of five years, for a total budget of USD 5 million. Together, they will directly benefit seven countries in total, in Africa (Ethiopia and Ghana) and in Asia (Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan). Principal institutional partners and beneficiaries of the project will be national ministries of education, teacher training institutes, secondary schools, and relevant education centres in the target countries. The ultimate beneficiaries of the project are the adolescent girls in the critical transition period (aged 10-18 years old) transitioning from primary to lower secondary and progressing through secondary education, as well as their parents, families, and community members.
In order to create synergy between these two new projects funded under the HFIT, and the current UNESCO-Chinese Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) project – Harnessing Technology for Quality Teacher Training in Africa – being implemented in eight African countries (i.e. Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda), representatives from CFIT countries were invited to participate in the international seminar and share experiences with their counterparts in the HFIT countries.
The international seminar was therefore an opportunity to promote inter-regional experience-sharing in the areas of girls’ and women’s education. Its overall goal was to strengthen the information and knowledge base on experiences related to the promotion of girls’ and women’s education, between African and Asian countries participating in the projects under the HFIT and the CFIT.
The following sections present main information that was shared during the seminar’s sessions and field visits, and that originated from the exchanges between the speakers and the participants.