Co-hosts: EqualMeasures2030, Geneva Global Hub for EiE, UNESCO, Global Affairs Canada, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Pananetugri Initiative for the Well-being of Women (IPBF), Plan International-Canada
Format: Virtual panel discussion.
Duration: 120 minutes
Languages: English, French
For children, especially girls, around the world caught in conflict and disaster, education is a lifeline. Millions of children in crisis and fragile contexts are denied a quality, gender-responsive, safe education that will enable them to thrive into the future. Education is also a key aspect of discussions about the humanitarian-development nexus, as these children and young people are denied the chance to build the social-emotional and academic skills they need to survive and thrive into the future. The education Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will never be achieved without understanding and reducing the barriers to girls’ education in fragile, conflict and crisis settings. The Equal Measures 2030 (EM2030) 2019 SDG Gender Index showed that the ten countries in the world with the lowest gender equality scores were all on the OECD’s 2018 list of fragile states. Girls – and adolescent girls in particular – are in a pivotal and precarious position. They are at risk to a whole range of poorly understood threats and obstacles (including gender-related barriers) preventing access to a quality and safe education, including gender-based violence, discrimination, early and forced marriage, lack of access to healthcare and menstrual hygiene management and other basic services. Yet with the right information, governments can take the necessary steps towards removing these barriers. When gender equality and safe, gender-responsive, quality education is prioritized, women and girls have the power to drive political and social norms; to steer future governance, security, economic empowerment and cultures.
Equal Measures 2030 collaborates with local actors who continue their work with at risk women and girls in times of both stability and crisis — especially local women’s rights organisations (WROs). By working with local women’s rights organisations, we can leverage the skills and experience of actors who are closely connected to girls and women in affected communities. We can also leverage new approaches to ensuring quality education for girls in emergencies. Through its work with women’s rights organisations in seven countries, EM2030 has learned that when partner organisations ground their advocacy in data, they are more likely to reach their influencing goals. Data can strengthen advocacy as it shows consistent patterns that require attention and action. Data is also useful in identifying effective solutions and can be used to hold governments accountable for their policies and commitments. EM2030 supports learning tailored especially for women’s rights organisations about how to understand and use data effectively in advocacy, covering topics including finding and advocating on data gaps and communicating data to different audiences, to name a few.
Cognisant of the power of data in the hands of women’s rights organisations, the Government of Canada, in line with its commitments in the Charlevoix Declaration, and its Feminist International Assistance Foreign policy, supported a bold partnership with EM2030 and its partners, FAWE and IPBF[i], based in Kenya and Burkina Faso, to drive equitable and coordinated provision of education for girls and women. In 2021, EM2030 worked closely with stakeholders in both countries to support advocacy and convening, working towards the ultimate goal of ensuring that education systems are data-driven and gender-responsive. This partnership and the data produced have re-affirmed EM2030’s belief that there is under-explored potential to better engage local women’s rights organisations and movements in EiE planning and programming – especially in ways that are not purely extractive.
The report “Leveraging data and partnerships with women’s rights organisations to strengthen girls’ education in emergencies” details experience, findings, and recommendations for a world that is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and with most of our education systems into disarray. It re-affirms EM2030’s commitment to recognizing and reinforcing the role of WROs in data production and use in emergencies. When decisions are informed by knowledge of grassroots women and girls who understand the real barriers and challenges, they are facing, not only will we begin to shift the power in the EiE ecosystem, but more responsive, tailored and effective solutions will result.
At the launch event, speakers discussed and exchanged around the findings from the report, in light of national experiences and data from Burkina Faso and Kenya. It addressed some of the challenges of linking humanitarian and development stakeholders through existing emergency systems that influence decision making. It was also an opportunity to engage with the key role WRO’s play as frontline actors to collect, analyse, and use quality data to advocate for better policies for girls’ education in emergencies and the importance of making their voices heard in decision-making processes and spaces to ensure education systems are gender sensitive, and girls’ right to education is realized.
- Highlight the key role of women’s rights organisations in collecting, analysing, and using data to advocate for quality education for girls in emergency settings, and the importance of amplifying their voices in decision-making spaces.
- Influence key decision-makers to make bold commitments on barriers to girls’ education in crisis- and conflict-affected or fragile situations for relevant policymaking.
- Position EM2030’s as a legitimate partner for WROs working on barriers to girls’ education, as well as convene a group of key stakeholders to take forward the report’s recommendations at all levels.
Primary audience: The primary audience for this event will be gender equality advocates, especially from the African continent, UN agencies, NGOs, funders, and policy and decision makers working on girls’ education, including representatives from governments that have prioritized education for girls in their Foreign Policy.