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Quality at the Centre of Girls' Education

UNGEI Forum Eastern & Southern Africa Regional Education Newsletter
Volume 5, No.1

Editor: Changu Mannathoko


May 2005

SARPN acknowledges UNICEF as the soruce of this document -
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Eastern & Southern Africa 2005 Education Network Meeting

The third annual Eastern & Southern Africa Education Network Meeting took place at the Kabira Country Club in Kampala, Uganda from Monday, February 28th to Friday, March 4th, 2005. The theme of the conference was Partnerships for Girls’ Education as UNICEF Prepares its Medium Term Strategic Plan (2006-09). The meeting was organized by UNICEF ESARO and UNICEF Uganda Country Office.

The most recent Education Network Meeting was held from Monday, February 28th until Friday, March 4th, 2005 at the Kabira Country Club in Kampala, Uganda. There were 56 participants from 20 countries, plus 4 members of the East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) and 1 member of the West and Central Africa Regional Offi ce (WCARO). Among the participants were 16 Government partners, plus representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSO) such as the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and the Campaign for Female Education International (CAMFED) along with the finance programme officer from Department for International Development, Great Britain (DfID). A male youth from the Girls Education Movement (GEM) also attended from Botswana.

The theme for this meeting was Partnerships for Girls’ Education and it aimed to plan, implement and scale up sustainable partnerships for Girls’ Education (GE). The purpose was to be self reflective as UNICEF is in transition from the MTSP Plan I (2002-05) to the MTSP Plan II (2006-09).

The agenda covered a variety of presentations and activities including updates, knowledge building sessions and analytical planning sessions to incorporate both the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) related activities and a Human Rights based approach to programming (HRBAP) focus into the education plans for 2005).

Dr. Changu Mannathoko, UNICEF Regional Head of Education, welcomed the Honourable Nyombi Thembo, Minister of Primary Education who was addressing the meeting in place of the Honourable Geraldine Bitamazire, Minister of Education and Sports who could not attend. Dr. Mannathoko requested Mr. Martin Mogwanja, the UNICEF Uganda Country Representative and Chairperson of the Education Network, to make the opening remarks for the meeting. Mr. Mogwanja began by congratulating Honourable Thembo on his recent appointment and affi rmed that UNICEF was happy to work with him and all their key partners in Uganda, including members of GEM, FAWE, CAMFED, DfID and UNESCO. He suggested that Uganda had been selected as the site for this meeting because of its innovations and best practices and hoped that all the participants could tap into its collective wisdom. He noted that this year’s Education Network Meeting was particularly signifi cant because 2005 is the year the fi rst MDG target, the gender parity goal has to be met. However, even though many African countries will not eliminate gender disparity by 2005, this shouldn’t deter countries from trying for the 2015 target. Rather, it should spur countries on to accelerated action through UNGEI.

The meeting built consensus on a broad–brush approach on mobilizing UNGEI partners and to utilize HRAP/CCD to undertake a rigorous resource analysis in the education sector that includes gender budget with budget lines for Girls’ Education. Girls’ education issues, strategies, and innovations such as the Zambia’s ‘Go Girls’, ‘Girls to Girls Initiative’ in Madagascar and the need for continued support to Girls at Secondary level in Tanzania were at the centre of the deliberations.

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