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Voices

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By Dr. Harriet Sakala, FAWEZA Alumni

From the Executive

FAWE launches new US charitable partner – New York and DC events speak to sub-Saharan girls’ education as basic right

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

FAWE announces the establishment of Friends of FAWE, its new US-based affiliate. Friends of FAWE (FoF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organisation dedicated to supporting the work of FAWE. Three events, two in New York on 14 June and one on 15 June at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, will showcase FoF and feature FAWE Executive Director Oley Dibba-Wadda and FAWE Chairperson and co-founder Simone de Comarmond. Singer Angelique Kidjo appears at the 14 June luncheon event.

FAWE is the leading non-governmental organisation in Africa that directly addresses issues relating to girls’ education. An estimated 12 million girls and women in 33 sub-Saharan African nations have attended school, improved their standard of economic wellbeing and overcome social and political exclusion through the efforts of FAWE. Five visionary African women – all ministers of education – created FAWE in 1992 with initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Oley Dibba-Wadda and Simone de Comarmond will formally announce the creation of Friends of FAWE at three events. On 14 June at a symposium luncheon at the United Nations, Ms Dibba-Wadda will address ‘Advances and challenges for girls’ education in Africa today’, including emerging issues, recommendations and strategies for 2015 and beyond. Grammy award-winning singer and activist Angelique Kidjo will make a special guest appearance at the luncheon.

Angelique Kidjo is a native of Benin renowned artistically for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Time magazine called her ‘Africa’s premier diva’. The Guardian named her one of the ‘Top Most Inspiring Women in the World’.

A UNICEF Goodwil Ambassador since 2002, Ms Kidjo founded the Batonga Foundation whose mission is to advance the education of girls. Her efforts to improve the lives of so many in Africa were recognised at the BET Honors Awards ceremony in February 2011. She resides in New York City.

Following the symposium luncheon, on the evening of 14 June in New York City, FoF and its newly formed Reception Committee will host a VIP reception honouring Ms Dibba-Wadda and Hon. de Comarmond and celebrating 20 years of FAWE advancing girls’ education in Africa.

A third event takes place the morning of 15 June in Washington, DC, at Brookings Institution, at which the Center for Universal Education releases a new report calling for a new ‘Global Compact on Learning’. Jenny Perlman Robinson, lead author of the report, will be joined by a panel of experts including Ms Dibba-Wadda to highlight advancing progress on the global education agenda.

Ms Dibba-Wadda advocates a message of hope: ‘Friends of FAWE USA is the voice of FAWE in the US, carrying the message of the hopes, aspirations, needs and gratitude of millions of African girls and women who cannot be here to carry their message themselves. One day they will. And it will be a message of strength, courage and hope.’

Damtew Teferra, Chairman of the FoF Board of Directors, states: ‘The mission of the Forum of African Women Educationalists is to promote gender equity and equality in education throughout Africa. FoF, now a 501(c)(3) charitable organisation, will help realise this mission so critical to the social and economic development of the continent.’

Please visit www.fawe.org for regular news updates.

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