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By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni

From the Executive

FAWE calls for targeted funding for female education in areas affected by conflict

Thursday, 30 October 2008

FAWE Executive Director Dr Codou Diaw participated in UNICEF’s ‘Beyond School Books’ podcast series on education in emergencies on 28 October 2008.

The discussion focused on donor assistance to African nations in fighting poverty through education in the context of civil war; international community support to the transformation of education systems in Africa; and the specific obstacles to education faced by women and girls.

Dr Diaw warned that many children had fallen out of the education system due to conflict and were not accounted for in the Millennium Development goals. She added that many countries focused on primary education and on formal education with insufficient attention paid to children not in the formal education system.

‘There is no funding mechanism for those kinds of situations and non-governmental organizations are the ones actually trying to reach out to those children. However, we see now that very many funding partners are moving towards budgetary support and this tends to leave out non-state actors. How are we going to continue funding non-formal education and specific interventions in education – for the disabled, for those who are affected by conflict, those who cannot be and are not taken care of by formal systems?’ she asked.

Dr Diaw urged that funding mechanisms be opened up in order to finance the whole of the education system and not just those aspects of education that form the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.

She also cautioned that funding mechanisms must include gender-specific clauses as many countries, even within the Fast Track Initiative, were not held accountable for the commitments they made to female education. She called for targeted gender equity programmes to be explicit, not assumed or implicit, within financing mechanisms and budgets.

‘We need to keep in mind that unless there are gender equity clauses in these funding mechanisms, unless there are earmarked budgets for girls’ and women’s education, we can be sure that nobody will pay attention to those issues.’

One of FAWE's strategic focus areas for the 2008-2012 period involves providing education to out-of-school girls in conflict and post-conflict situations in Africa through targeted technical and vocational training aimed at creating employment and income-generating opportunities for these girls.

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