There is a sparkle in Edouine’s eyes when she speaks of how her father supported her throughout her schooling.
“My father wasn’t like other men. He taught his daughters how to dream and dream big!”
Edouine considers herself a feminist. She participated in a regional Gender-Responsive Education Sector Planning (GRESP) workshop, held in Dakar, Senegal, September 27–30, 2021.
In this first in-person workshop on GRESP since COVID-19 multiple partners joined forces to drive forward gender equality in and through education. Facilitated by FAWE and ANCEFA, the workshop brought together civil society actors as well as feminist activists like Edouine.
Participants represented 11 French-speaking countries in West and Central Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo), and included representatives from the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), GIZ and GPE, with additional support from UNICEF and Gender@Work.
Role, challenges and opportunities of civil society in West and Central Africa
The GRESP is an approach to embed gender equality in the DNA of national education planning process. It focuses on mainstreaming a gender lens in the strategies to identify and tackle disparities and roadblocks in education. GRESP workshops also reinforce the leadership skills and competencies of its participants and raises the issue of oversight and accountability - all of which are critical to make systemic change happen.
Progress in this field helps countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5 and meet the gender targets of the African Union’s Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) and their commitments enshrined in the Gender Equality Strategy for CESA (GES4CESA).
Since 2017, GPE, UNGEI and other partners have led national and regional workshops for education stakeholders in 28 countries across Africa and Asia, with over 200 participants trained. The workshop was the first one designed specifically for civil society actors, to strengthen their capacity to support governments and society more widely, in building truly gender-responsive education systems.