MALAWI: Implementing gender-responsive policies and programs is crucial
"In Malawi, we provide bursaries for girls at both primary and secondary levels, as well as sanitary supplies and cash transfers to families. We are also setting up a legal framework to ensure that we are all on the same page. There’s a separation between gender experts and gender activists. We need to bring both sides together to analyze the issues.
The workshop helped refresh our knowledge. We will continue to enhance our gender activities so that gender responsiveness is taken more seriously." Ken Ndala, Secretary of Education, Ministry of Education, Malawi
"My take-away from the workshop will be to apply myself to gender equality in project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. I will share experiences with our membership, which has 82 local and international organizations. Our annual general assembly on May 15 will be a great opportunity to ensure that members can pay particular attention to gender issues in their programming.
I hope to continue to collaborate with the ministry to champion a national agenda on gender through the local education group. Malawi’s current sector plan will expire by September 2017 so this is a critical opportunity for us to feed into the next plan. We need a broad-based consultative process: chiefs, religious leaders and other interest groups so that at the end, they don’t look at an approved program, but at something they’ve contributed to." Benedicto Kondowe, Executive Director for Civil Society Education Coalition on Education, Malawi
TANZANIA MAINLAND: Ensuring gender is included during preparation of the sector plan
"In our unit, we advocate for re-admission of girls after they drop out of school. During the planning process for the education sector plan, we remind planners of the importance of gender and provide input, including suggesting indicators that are gender-sensitive. Currently, we are reviewing the gender mainstreaming strategy, which expired last year.
I have learned many things at the workshop from other countries and how they deal with gender issues. From the Zambian experience, we learnt of the importance of forgiveness as in the Bible, and that one needs to forgive a person seven times seventy - so they developed a re-admission policy for girls. Tanzania also is in the process of developing a school re-admission guide for girls. From Uganda, we heard that gender issues should also be discussed with boys, not just girls." Venance Manori, Assistant Director, Diversity Unit, Ministry of Education, Sport and Technology, Tanzania Mainland
"I am a member of the gender in education working group and represent civil society also in the local education group. My organization trains school administrators on ending violence in schools and we document all cases.
At the workshop, I appreciated being exposed to what others have to say and to network with other experts.
In Uganda, to address the gender gap, we need to stop focusing solely on girls and women and start including men and boys, expanding their opportunities, nurturing leaders that are responsible, conscious, to ensure they respect themselves and others. This will be the magic bullet." Patrick Kaboyo, Executive Director, Coalition of Uganda Private School Teachers Association. Uganda
TANZANIA-ZANZIBAR: Training teachers on life skill for all girls and boys
"In my unit, we travel to schools to train teachers in giving children life skills in all grades, stating from nursery school. The training covers self-awareness, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS, and provides guidance and counselling on gender issues and substance abuse. We deal with child protection through positive discipline and have developed a teachers’ guide and manual on this.
We are looking to integrate life skills training into the curriculum so that they can get covered by teachers during regular instruction time.
At the workshop, I learned that we need to sensitize about gender issues in everything we do. And the sensitization must cover everyone, not just the education sector." Zulfa Kabanga, Assistant Gender Officer, Ministry of Education, Zanzibar
ZAMBIA: Expanding consultations on gender beyond the ministry of education
"We have many policies on gender: for example, we have a 50/50 gender enrollment policy at entry (Grade 1, 8 and 10 levels). We also have a re-entry policy to allow girls who leave school due to pregnancy to come back.
In addition, we provide bursary support for the vulnerable learners at secondary level. Initially, the beneficiaries were only girls, but as enrollments have improved, the funding now goes to girls for 60% and to boys for 40%.
We are developing a new Education Sector Strategic Plan, and during drafting, we took gender issues into consideration, including through a diagnostic study. I will be able to use what I learned at the workshop to ensure our own ESSP will be gender-responsive.
Up to now, our consultations focused on a handful of ministries, but we will now broaden the collaboration to ensure we can achieve our targets. We are very thankful to GPE for the grant to help us develop the ESP." Stephen Zimba, Principal Planning Officer, in charge of Policy and Research, Ministry of Education, Zambia
"We build capacity to carry out gender analysis in all sector ministries. We ensure that policies and programs are gender responsive. We receive draft policy document and provide input. The issue is that there are limited resources.
We have developed guidelines for gender-mainstreaming, but it’s too general, so we will look at each sector individually to improve them." Wallace Nguluwe, Gender Specialist, Ministry of Gender, Zambia