Wednesday, May 18, 2005

FORUM FOR AFRICAN WOMEN EDUCATIONALISTS Enriching The Lives of African Girls Through Education

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) was created in 1992 as a response to the slow pace of implementation of Education for All goals in sub-Saharan Africa.

FAWE was registered in Kenya as a pan African NGO in 1993 with a Secretariat in Nairobi. Since then, it has grown into a network of 33 National Chapters with a wide range of Membership that includes women policy makers and male ministers of education who are associate members

FAWE seeks to ensure that girls have access to school, complete their studies and perform well at all levels.

Working at continental, national and local levels, together with its partners, FAWE says it intends to create positive societal attitudes, policies and practices in order to promote equity for girls education throughout by transforming educational systems in Africa.

Their stated goal at their web site is: To increase access and retention as well as improve the quality of education for all girls within the school system, and for women in universities.

FAWE is attempting to attain its goals by accomplishing it strategic objectives which are:

-To influence the formulation and adoption of educational policies on Girls' Education in order to increase access, improve retention and performance.

-To build public awareness and consensus on the social and economic advantages of Girls' Education through advocacy.

-To undertake and support demonstrative experimental and innovative programmes to increase girls' participation in education.

-To empower girls through education for effective participation in the creation of an equitable society.

-To create and sustain partnerships with governments, donors, universities, NGOs communities, and other partners in education for effective implementation of programmes to improve education.

-To strengthen organisational capacity to effectively implement programmes that promotes Girls' Education.

-To monitor policies, practices and programmes that impact on Girls' Education.

One of the unique aspects of this organization is that only women are Full Members. Full members are women ministers and deputy ministers of education, women permanent secretaries in education ministries, or directors of education, prominent women educationalists and the five founder members.

However, men are allowed to join as Associate Members. Associate membership is drawn from serving male ministers of education who are committed to the FAWE mandate and have been invited by the Executive Committee at its discretion, Full members who have ceased to be full members by virtue of holding office, but have been invited by the Executive Committee to remain as members.

There is a third class of membership, Affiliate Membership, which is reserved for the 33 National Chapters spread across the Continent of Africa and divided into four regions.

The Francophone Region consists of French speaking nations from Senegal, west to Chad and south to Gabon, but also including Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

The Western Anglophone Region is comprised of English speaking nations from Gambia west to Nigeria.

The Eastern Region contains seven countries from Ethiopia and Tanzania in the west to The DRC. It also includes the Seychelles Islands.

The Southern Region includes South Africa and its neighbors as far north as Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

FAWE lists its programs on its web site, but here are a few of the projects that will give the reader an understanding of type of work this organization is doing.

In Kenya FAWE has instituted a Girls' School in Kajiado. This school, which is one of FAWE’s “Centres of Excellence,” is unique because it serves rescued girls In order to increase access to education and ensure their retention in school. The school has built boarding facilities to accommodate 50 girls. Currently, 42 girls rescued from early marriage find a home as well as a school. FAWE has also provided bursaries to 15 girls at the center, while also providing textbooks, exercise books and stationery.

The school has also effectively mobilized the community in order to support these girls. Work has been undertaken to reconcile the girls to their families. Guidance counseling is being provided for the girls, as well as gender sensitization efforts for members of the community. A training workshop for the Local Administration Chiefs of Locations was held to sensitize them on the plight of the girl child and galvanize their support especially in combating early marriages. This was done as part of the effort to bring on board local community leaders, district leaders, education officers and the parents and teachers association.

FAWE has also instituted a Programme for Mass Information and Sensitization on the importance of educating girls in the Kayes and Mopti Regions of Mali and another enhancing the awareness of Ghanaian policy makers / implementers and the public to factors that militate against higher enrolment and retention of girls in Ghanaian schools.

The list goes on and on, and rather than my duplicating information that has already been made available on the web, why not just visit their web site and see for yourself what this group is doing.

Their web site is found at:

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