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A world of possibilities A world of possibilities
By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni

From the Executive

FAWE partners with Norad to strengthen gender research in African education

Monday, 6 April 2009

FAWE has launched a research initiative geared towards strengthening gender research to improve girls’ and women’s education in Africa.

The two-year initiative, supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), seeks to demonstrate to policy- and decision-makers the high cost of missed opportunities for African girls and women arising from gender-biased cultural practices that have led to entrenched gender inequality in education, the labour market, and the political and social arenas, at the expense of women.

Politically, women in many African countries are seriously under-represented in governing bodies and decision-making at all levels, from village councils to national government. Economically, even though women have a greater burden of labour than men, they remain the poorest in the world. And in the education sector, gender disparity in access, retention and performance continues as a reminder of the failed objectives and missed targets set by the international conferences, conventions and declarations that many sub-Saharan African countries ratified.

FAWE will thus work with a number of researchers, advocates and FAWE members in selected institutions in Africa to set the agenda on gender and education in sub-Saharan Africa and constructively engage and dialogue with government, policy-makers and other regional bodies on the appropriate approaches and strategies to adopt in terms of women’s rights in education.

Concretely, the research project is expected to:

  • Generate a menu of strategic research topics in consultation with well-established researchers.
  • Increase the gender and education researcher base in Africa through a mentoring component, whereby senior researchers will groom young women researchers interested in this area. The consortium of researchers will develop a collaborative course combining gender analysis and innovative rights-based research methodologies.
  • Bring together all the researchers and mentees in the network to share the results of their research through a workshop that could be the first step towards a biennial African Conference on Gender and Education spearheaded by FAWE.
  • Inform policy and practice through the publication and dissemination of the work produced by the researchers in the network (FAWE Research Series).

Findings from the research will show how to redress the undesired gender inequities that hamper girls’ and women’s fulfilment of their right to education and their meaningful participation in Africa’s social and economic advancement.

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