Monday, October 7, 2013

NewsLine

Child Marriages: 39,000 Every Day – More than 140 million girls will marry between 2011 and 2020

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). If current levels of child marriages hold, 14.2 million girls annually or 39,000 daily will marry too young.

NewsLine

Child Marriages: 39,000 Every Day – More than 140 million girls will marry between 2011 and 2020

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). If current levels of child marriages hold, 14.2 million girls annually or 39,000 daily will marry too young.

NewsLine




Joint message for World Teachers' Day



The following is a joint message on the occasion of World Teachers' Day by UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, EI, and UNDP.


A Call for Teachers!

Teachers hold the keys to a better future for all. They inspire, challenge and empower innovative and responsible global citizens. They get children into school, keep them there and help them learn. Every day, they help to build the inclusive knowledge societies we need for tomorrow and the century ahead. On this World Teachers' Day, we join forces to thank teachers and to call for more, better trained and supported teachers.

NewsLine


Girls advocate for girls' education and gender equality



Three young women from quite different parts of the world, but with very similar goals, met at UNICEF House recently to talk about their passion for promoting girls’ rights.

Linh, 20, from Viet Nam, Marcela, 17, from El Salvador and Hakima, 13, from Uganda were in New York as Plan International young delegates for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held at United Nations Headquarters.


The young women are each involved in work in their own countries to advocate for girls’ education and gender equality. They want to remove the logistical, financial and cultural barriers that prevent girls from getting a quality education and enjoying their full rights.

Linh says high school fees and the lack of facilities for girls make it difficult for many to go to school, and these issues must be addressed if true change is to occur.

“I feel angry. Why can’t they go to school? They have the right to do that,” she says.

Marcela is part of a project called ‘Cultura de Paz’, which trains young people to raise awareness around social issues. She says gender-based violence, child marriage and early pregnancy are among the challenges facing her community, just outside San Salvador.

“I began to demand my rights and tell others that no one can remove them. With my leadership, I try to encourage others to also be agents of change,” she says.

Hakima is joined by (left to right) Linh, 20, and Marcela, 17. All three girls advocate for education and gender equality. They visited New York as Plan International young delegates for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

Marcela says that her advocacy training has made a difference at home. Previously, even though her mother works outside the home, her father and brother refused to help with the housework. They now understand that chores are not ‘women’s work’.

Hakima is one of more than ten children, and her parents make enough money to send her and all of her siblings to school. She’s involved in several projects that tackle the issue of violence against women and girls. She says other families are less fortunate.

“If there’s a family where there are boys and girls, and there is just some small money, they usually send boys to school,” she says. “Girls will get married.”

All three young women are committed to raising awareness about the importance of education for girls, encouraging others to examine their attitudes towards gender and driving long-term, meaningful changes in their societies.







NEWS FROM UNGEI

News and Events: Press Releases


Educating one million girls to tackle poverty

Britain will help up to a million of the poorest girls in the world go to school, the Deputy Prime Minister announced today. The Girls Education Challenge is a new project that will call on NGOs, charities and the private sector to find better ways of getting girls into school in the poorest countries in Africa and Asia which the UK has identified as a priority, including Bangladesh, South Sudan and Nigeria.

The projects will help provide:

        650,000 girls with a full six years of primary education or
        Up to a million girls with a junior secondary education for three years.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Women and girls continue to bear the brunt of poverty. Investing in them early on and giving them an education not only radically alters their lives but has a massive knock on effect benefitting their families and communities. Girls who have been to school are likely to do significantly better financially, socially and be far healthier.

“The action we are taking is ambitious and something of which Britain should be enormously proud. It will help to lift hundreds of thousands of girls out of poverty so that they can fulfil their potential.”

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

“Educating girls tackles the root causes of poverty. Research shows that providing girls with an extra year of schooling can increase their wages by up to 20 per cent, while also lowering birth rates, which can have a profound economic impact.

“These initiatives will also have positive impacts on future generations. They will mean girls are more likely to go on to help their sisters and younger girls in the community to follow their example – go to school and widen their choices,  to get married later, for example, and to earn their own income.”

The Girls Education Challenge will be a competitive process that encourages organisations to set up schemes targeting marginalised girls of primary and lower secondary age. Non-government organisations – including businesses and charities – are being asked to put forward ideas to get girls into good quality education and there will be a focus on working with new organisations and partners – to try new approaches where traditional approaches have not been successful.  The British Government will then back the best of these.

In order to receive continued funding, the organisations will have to demonstrate measurable improvements in the quality of education and increased numbers of girls going to school. Only programmes which can demonstrate the most cost-effective ways of working will receive backing.

The programmes will also have to show  that they will get more marginalised girls into school. It is likely that some of the activities which are supported will ensure that facilities at school – for example separate latrines and “safe spaces” for girls – are provided. The types of initiative are those that provide a combination of support to girls and young women: scholarships which not only pay for school fees but ensure girls are able to buy their own uniform, travel safely to school and support them to find work once they leave school.

Girls who are educated are more likely to:

    marry later – a girl who has attended secondary school is less likely to marry during her adolescent years
    have fewer children – on average a woman’s fertility rate drops by one birth for every four years of additional schooling
    get immunisation and other health treatments for themselves and their babies
    avoid HIV – a study shows girls with secondary education are three times less likely to be HIV positive
    find employment and earn more – an extra year of schooling sees wages increase 10 to 20 percent

The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell will give more details at the UN General Assembly this week.

This new support is in addition to the Coalition Government’s commitment to support 9 million children from developing countries in primary and 2 million in secondary education by 2015.

Friday, March 15, 2013

On International Women’s Day: How Do We Get Girls in School Safely?


Around the world today, International Women’s Day, attention is focused on the issue of violence against women and girls, the theme of the 57th Commission on the Status of Women. For millions of girls worldwide, violence is more than the “topic of the day,” it is part of their everyday reality. Girls face violence and discrimination due to their sex and age, in many contexts, including on the way to school, in the school yard, and in the classroom.

There is no doubt that gender-based violence is a major and critical barrier threatening the education of girls in many countries of the world, with far reaching consequences:  poor performance, irregular attendance, dropout, truancy and low self-esteem not to mention physical harm and pregnancy.  In a consultation jointly hosted by UNGEI, UNICEF and the Ethiopia Ministry of Education, participants reported on issues faced by girls. 

One country representative reported that, “Girls at secondary education levels increasingly face sexual violence including forced marriage, abduction and sexual exploitation, taking advantage of the fact that girls have limited financial and material means.”

Surprisingly, given the impact of violence, school-related gender-based violence is often unremarked upon and taken for granted.  Thus, one of the biggest challenges is to recognize that social norms prevent girls from attending school in a safe environment, and to place girls’ education within the broader discourse of women’s rights.

Focus on Girls in GPE’s Strategic Plan
The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has drawn up a Strategic Plan for 2012-2015 which provides an opening for dialogue and action by focusing on girls’ access to and achievement through school, including schools as safe spaces for girls. 

The GPE Plan identifies five thematic priorities, including one relating to girls, which states: ”All girls in GPE endorsed countries successfully complete primary school and go to secondary school in a safe, supportive learning environment”. 

For UNGEI, this is a transformative statement which:
1.           Recommits the Partnership to an agenda of equity and rights;
2.           Defines quality education as a safe and supportive environment for learning, and recognizes the potential (and the reality) of the opposite: violence, including gender-based violence; and
3.           Puts forward a new vision of education that includes adolescent girls and their social context. 

GPE proposes a holistic approach, with a focus on gender responsive education sector plans, strategies to ensure school safety and supportive learning for girls, including female teachers, the collection of evidence and sharing of good practice, and the tracking of enrolment, progress and learning of primary and lower secondary girls. It is this country-led and holistic approach to ensure that schools are safe and supportive spaces that will allow girls to become advocates for their own rights.   

Plan International Report: Education Reduces Violence Against Women
We know that education can serve a protective role for girls and young women by making them aware of and confident to exercise their rights.  A recent report by Plan International indicates that women who are educated to secondary level or higher are less likely than their non-educated or primary-educated counterparts to experience violence, and men who are educated to secondary level or higher are less likely than their non-educated or primary-educated counterparts to perpetuate violence.

Education can be empowering, providing space for girls to speak on their own and with their own voices, now and in the future. Preventing and eliminating violence against girls in and around schools is an effective strategy in advancing the status of women in society.  UNGEI is pleased to join GPE in celebrating International Women’s Day. Our partnership is ensuring that all girls successfully complete primary school and go to secondary school in a safe, supportive learning environment.  


Note: This post originally appeared in the Education for All Blog of the Global Partnership for Education.



NewsLine


Child Marriages: 39,000 Every Day – More than 140 million girls will marry between 2011 and 2020

Between 2011 and 2020, more than 140 million girls will become child brides, according to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). If current levels of child marriages hold, 14.2 million girls annually or 39,000 daily will marry too young.