Freetown manifesto for gender transformative leadership in education
Aichetou Mint Mohamed Ali, 14, in class at College Riyad 5, Tarhil, Nouakchott, Mauritania. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Aichetou Mint Mohamed Ali, 14, in class at College Riyad 5, Tarhil, Nouakchott, Mauritania.
GPE/Kelley Lynch

We, Ministers of Education, working to achieve quality education for every child, reaffirm our firm belief in the equality of all humanity and the catalytic role of girls’ and women’s empowerment in equitable and equal human development.

By signing this Manifesto, developed in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 18-20 May, 2022 and in line with the United Nation’s Secretary General’s vision to transform education to achieve all SDGs, we resolve collectively to focus our leadership on empowering girls through education while seeking to achieve gender equality in and through education.

This means that we will continue our work on access to quality education for the most marginalized children while accelerating our support for education systems and actors to become gender equal. Towards this end, we commit to transforming our systems, pedagogies, institutions and indeed our own mindsets so that we can end harmful gender norms and stereotypes and help each child achieve the freedom they need to dream and grow without barriers.

We thus commit to the following:

  1. In Education Sector Plans, include and increase clearly delineated budgets, strategies and commitments to gender equality in and through education with separate commitments to addressing harmful gender norms in pedagogy, gender capacity building for education sector staff and other selected priorities.
  2. Participatory, citizen-inclusive data gathering from households on out of school children with strong support of gender and child rights experts so that we pay special attention to how intersectional gendered norms and expectations (for example, disability, minority status) have led to their being out of school.
  3. Provide all reopened schools in conflict settings and emergencies with voluntary teachers and other learning alternatives and provide safe temporary learning spaces for all girls affected by crisis.
  4. Multi-sectoral efforts with relevant National Ministries and Global Agencies working for employment, economic development and women’s empowerment to build effective links between education and formal workforce employment, with a focus on girls and young women.

We make these commitments because we believe that it is only through education that we can transform our nations and our world. In making these commitments, we want to note that we can only achieve them in partnership with line Ministries, religious and cultural leaders, the private sector and the civil society organizations that serve the most vulnerable children on the ground as well as young activists who speak up for their needs and the needs of their communities and schools.

We promise to prioritize these commitments in education processes and budgets, recognizing that what the most marginalized children need is not more promises but action on the ground that will transform their lives.


  • Burkina Faso, Hon. Wendkouni Joël Lionel Bilgo, Minister of National Education
  • Cameroon, Hon. Laurent Serge Etoundi Ngoa, Minister of Basic Education
  • Chad, Hon. Mog-Nan Djimounta, Minister of Basic Education and Civic Promotion
  • Gambia, Hon. Claudiana A. Cole, Minister of Basic and Secondary Education
  • Liberia, Hon. D. Ansu Sonii, Minister of Education
  • Mali, Hon. Sidibe Dédeou Ousmane, Minister of National Education
  • Mauritania, Hon. Mohamed Mélainine Eyih, Minister of National Education
  • Mozambique, Hon. Carmelita Rita Namashulua, Minister of Education and Human Development
  • Niger, Hon. Ibrahim Natatou, Minister of National Education
  • Nigeria, Hon. Adamu Adamu, Federal Minister of Education
  • Sierra Leone, Hon. David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education
  • South Sudan, Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction
  • Tanzania, Hon. Adolf Mkenda, Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training
  • Uganda, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, Minister of Education and Sports


  • Charles North, Acting CEO, Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
  • Robert Jenkins, Global Director UNICEF Education
  • Antara Ganguli, Director, UNGEI Secretariat
  • Karen Mundy, Director of IIEP-UNESCO
  • Kevin Frey, CEO, Generation Unlimited
  • Pauline Rose, Director, REAL Centre, University of Cambridge
  • Elaine Unterhalter, Professor of Education and International Development, University College London (UCL)
  • Martha Muhwezi, Executive Director, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)
  • Susan McIsaac, President and CEO, Right to Play
  • Geetha Murali, CEO, Room to Read
  • Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO, Lego Foundation
  • Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait (ECW)
  • Solange Akpo, Regional Coordinator, ANCEFA
  • Stephen Omollo, CEO, Plan International
  • Safeena Husain, Founder, Educate Girls
  • Lucy Lake, CEO, CAMFED International
  • Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Education-US

Practitioners & Activists

  • Night Stella Candiru, Education Specialist, UNICEF
  • Anu Bazarragchaa, Regional Facilitator, FRIDA
  • Landy Rasamoeliniaina, Education and Gender Specialist, The World Bank
  • Moyomade Aladesuyi, Advisor, FRIDA
  • Harika Srinivasan, Social Worker, Marasiyal
  • Ashlee Burnett, Founder, Feminitt Caribbean
  • Sapphire Alexander, Regional Facilitator, FRIDA
  • Anna Murru, Global Strategic Advisor Partnerships, VVOB
  • Tom Dannatt, CEO, Street Child
  • Brenda Bih Chi, Co-founder, My African Womanhood
  • Anke Adams, Director of Communications, Camfed International
  • Penina Mwajanji, Executive Director, Girls Action For Change
  • Alfred TM Navo, Head of Programmes and Partnerships, Restless Development Sierra Leone
  • Isa Abubakar, Manager, RHI Nigeria
Aichetou Mint Mohamed Ali, 14, in class at College Riyad 5, Tarhil, Nouakchott, Mauritania. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
Aichetou Mint Mohamed Ali, 14, in class at College Riyad 5, Tarhil, Nouakchott, Mauritania.
GPE/Kelley Lynch

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