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TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION the Africa we need by 2030



01 EDITORIAL – EDUCATION FOR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE: The Education We Need By 2030 Alice D Kanengoni 08 “WHAT WAS MY EDUCATION FOR?” Transformative education and the Africa we need by 2030 Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe

THE ROLE OF AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES in Agenda 2030: Empowering women and decolonising the 13 academy Prof. Hanne Kirstine Adriansen

18 THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE as a medium of delivery in education Lazarus Miti 22 FEMINIST PEDAGOGY: Unpacking the reality and building towards a new model of education for women and girls in Zimbabwe Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje 30 THE GENDERED INTERFACE between education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Prospects and pitfalls Hilda Makamure 36 PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY in education in Kenya: A case for innovative programmes to bridge the divide Dr Joyce Kinyanjui 41 ENHANCING SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY in the education sector in Africa towards 2030 Limbani Eliya Nsapato 49 THE WONA SANANA ECDE PROGRAMME in Mozambique: Lucia’s story Bukeka Mkhosi 53 STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: The Ugandan experience Christine Apiot Okudi 59 THE DANGERS OF CORPORATE POWER to the realisation of girls’ right to education Ashina Mtsumi and Zizipho Zondani 67 THE IMPACT OF PRIVATISATION of education on gender inequality Veronica Otuko Dzeagu

ENGENDERING NEW AID MODALITIES (budget support) for girl’s education in Uganda: Opportunity 71 for involving the women’s movement Tabitha Mulyampit

78 STATE CAPACITIES and challenges in educating women and girls: Harnessing the momentum of community mobilisation for infrastructure development in Zimbabwe Ellen Chigwanda 83 FINANCING FOR EDUCATION 2030 in Africa: An examination of the costs, funding gaps and financing strategies Limbani Eliya Nsapato 94 THE BASIC INCOME GRANT (BIG) as a strategy to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and enhance educational outcomes in Namibia Herbert Jauch and Bronwyn King 101 BLACK FEMINIST REVOLT and digital activism working to end rape culture in South Africa Simamkele Dlakavu 108 THE POLITICS OF CHOICE AND AGENCY: A case study of the black hair movement Mazuba Haanyama


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112 MAKING EDUCATION SAFE for women and girls in Africa Portia Tshegofatso Loeto 117 MAPPING OUR FUTURES: How integrating Participatory Urban Planning tools into the education of young women and girls can help achieve Agenda 2030 Raisa Cole 123 INFORMAL LEARNING, cultural traditions and transformation Goitsione Mokou 125 PEOPLE’S EDUCATION: A case study of alternative strategies to impart knowledge Evan Abrahamse 129 THE ECONOMIC COSTS of not educating women and girls: Child, early and forced marriage Cynthia Ngwalo-Lungu 134 PREGNANT OR NOT, EVERY GIRL COUNTS: Weighing the cost of teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone Katharina Wuppinger 139 EDUCATION FOR ALL: Reaching vulnerable children through non-formal education programmes in Zimbabwe Patience Tapiwa Ndlovu 144 REVOLUTIONISING THE GENDER DIVIDE in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Memory Zonde Kachambwa 151 UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF ONLINE EDUCATION in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa Samantha Sanangurai 156 “KNOWING FEMINISTS”: Women as role models and champions for girls’ education Edinah Masanga 160 PUBLIC LIBRARIES AS DRIVERS TOWARDS AGENDA 2030: A case study of Lubuto Library Partners Kasonde Mukonde and Elizabeth Giles 167 THE INTERFACE OF EDUCATION, health and other social services for women and girls Naomi Sophia Mnthali 172 EDUCATION POLICY ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPACTS in Africa: A case study of access to feminine hygiene products for the girl child in Zimbabwe Maxim Murungweni 177 OBSTACLES TO BIRTH REGISTRATION and access to education in Zimbabwe Audrey Chihota 179 THE STRUGGLE OF GIRLS with disabilities to access education in rural Zimbabwe Agness Chindimba and Onai Hara 183 A STRATEGY TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS which exclude children with disabilities from education in Southern Africa Kudakwashe Dube 185 T HE ROLE OF SAIES, the Southern Africa Inclusive Education Strategy for Learners with Disabilities, in girls’ education Bronwyn King 186 REVEALING THE POWER of inclusive education Spiwe Chakawa 187 NAMIBIA: Girl calls for education for all Taati Niilenge

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


EDUCATION FOR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE: The Education We Need By 2030 Alice D Kanengoni Alice D Kanengoni is Editor of Buwa! and also manages the Women’s Rights Programme in OSISA. She has worked on issues of social justice, human rights and policy advocacy for over 20 years. She is passionate about people development, coaching and mentoring. Write to her on, twitter: @adkanengoni, skype: alice.kanengoni1 towards such a vision as well as demanding duty-bearers to deliver on this. Would it be a citizenry who merely banks on having universal access to primary education? The answer may lie in the fact that the MDG goal of achieving Universal Primary Education (MDG 3) has since been escalated in the SDG framework. It has been expanded to quality education (SDG 4), which is broader, and focuses on the nature, quality and full spectrum of education. The thinking is that this might be the kind of education required to shape citizens and societies that can adapt and engage with the complexity and dynamics of world politics, economics, and the social and cultural fabric. Therefore, it is critical to explore what needs to change in policy, governance practices and programming for education to be an effective vehicle for social justice, especially for women and girls on the African continent. This issue of BUWA explores these questions and provides space for African women and men to define the kind of education that can drive such an agenda. Articles in the issue assess the existing policy frameworks and the officially stated drivers which are shaping them as well as those which are not stated. The various tested and emerging untested models for delivering quality education for women and girls on the continent are considered, as well as key questions around innovative, robust financing models and challenges for education. The main focus here is the extent to which the provision of quality education has to be fully catered to through domestic finances and resources – both for sustainability and ownership purposes. Dr Connie Nshemereirwe provides a framework for this issue by making a solid case for rethinking educational approaches towards


One thing that has become clear during the process of developing the new global framework for development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is that the world is quickly growing in complexity. Faced with challenges such as increasing poverty, hunger, inequality, unemployment, climate change and depleting natural resources, among others, the new framework for achieving sustainable development has to be much more ambitious. The fact that the global development goals and targets significantly increased in number – from eight in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework to 17 SDGs plus 169 targets – bears testimony to this. Dubbed “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the vision of the SDGs is to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. Throughout the process of crafting the SDGs, feminists have kept a close eye on the nodes that could potentially ensure a positive shift in the various oppressive systems, and change the disadvantaged position of women and girls across the globe. The idea has been to ensure that gains made in the past are protected, and opportunities for advancing new frontiers are identified and capitalised on. It is against this backdrop that much lobbying to ensure gender equality occurred. This remains a standalone goal (SDG 5: Gender equality) as well as being systematically mainstreamed into all the other goals. Analysing the aspirations expressed through the 17 SDGs, the building blocks towards ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030, it is clear that there is a need to rethink the “calibre” of citizenry who can use their agency to work

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences



education that “liberates” Africans to effectively deal with the plethora of challenges facing the continent today. She argues for the kind of education that responds to the economic, environmental and other challenges the continent is grappling with. Similarly, Prof. Hanne Adriansen’s article singles out the need to address the politics of knowledge, especially at tertiary levels, and argues that, if we address the power and politics of knowledge, African universities and higher education can play a more powerful role in the SDG “transforming our world” agenda and empowering women. The need for this cannot be overemphasised, particularly on the African continent, considering how cultural and traditional practices have often been invoked when deciding and shaping what women get to know (and not know), how they get to know it, and how men (through established institutions such as schools and universities) control the politics of knowledge production and consumption. An important dimension also brought out in Prof. Adriansen’s argument is the power dynamics between the Global North and South, and how these play out in shaping knowledge production in universities on the continent. Linked to the politics of knowledge generation is the politics of the language of instruction and education in and outside classrooms on the continent. Prof. Lazarus Miti makes a strong case for the need to review the role language plays in shaping what and how citizens access knowledge and education. Alternatives to the nature and form of education seem to be in order, and Grace Chirenje offers a useful feminist analysis and framework for an alternative model of education in her article. Her feminist analysis of pedagogical architecture explores prospects therein for achieving gender equality and social justice. She offers six principles of feminist pedagogy which, if applied across the education spectrum, could ensure that women not only play an effective role in knowledge generation within and outside the education systems, but also lead their agency in the direction of Agenda 2030. Getting education on track is critical because education interfaces with all of the other 16 SDGs, as Hilda Makamure clearly illustrates. Makamure makes a compelling case for why real improvements in education will inevitably determine to what extent the rest of the SDG goals will be realised on the continent. She makes a passionate appeal to African governments and development agencies to reflect more on the current nature and quality of education curricula, systems and models of delivery, among other factors, which shape the outcomes of education, as reflected in the ability of the citizenry to drive the continental development agenda. In a similar vein to the discourse by Nshemereirwe, Adriansen, Chirenje and Makamure, Dr Joyce Kinyanjui shows how Kenya needs to bridge the gender divide in its education sector to ensure that women play an effective part in society. This requires a radical, game-changing approach to education on the continent and more solid, equally radical shifts in policy. Additionally, such radical policy shifts are not merely required in education.


Other policy spaces that interface with education on the continent must adapt to meet African challenges. This issue of BUWA offers a collection of articles that interrogate the policy choices, processes and models of education. Our contributing authors explain how these enable or hinder access to education and its benefits which position individuals, especially women and girls, as active citizens who can influence developmental agendas and outcomes. It is important to note that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a region is not short of progressive policies on education. These include policies for the reintegration of girls into school after pregnancy, inclusive education responding to the special education needs of children with disabilities, and for marginalised individuals such as children from indigenous populations. Additionally, a number of countries in the region already have policies in place for free education, largely at the level of primary schooling under the auspices of Free Primary Education (FPE) programmes. The non-provision of Free Secondary Education (FSE) in the majority of states on the continent points to the absence of relevant policies, political will and commitment to guarantee the right to quality education. The major challenge and gaps become visible in attempts at implementing these policies. It has been identified that successfully applying them for girls and boys in practice in an equitable manner is impractical at best. Most policies are not gender-responsive and do not adequately consider the gendered needs of girls and women, both in formal and informal education spaces. The net result is a significantly high number of children, mostly girls, who either remain outside the school system or who stand the chance of never even setting foot in a classroom. This sobering reality carries grave consequences for the future developmental trajectory of African states today and needs to be addressed with utmost urgency. In the first of his two articles for this issue, Limbani Nsapato argues that part of the reason why there are yawning gaps in policy and practice is limited social accountability, i.e., actions and mechanisms besides voting which should be used to hold the state to account, as well as actions by the government, civil society, media and other societal actors which facilitate these efforts in Africa. Nsapato motivates for enhanced social accountability as the means to pressure duty bearers to deliver on education and other essential goods and services. He makes a compelling argument in this regard, using cases from Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) where specific social accountability initiatives successfully delivered for women and girls. Bukeka Mkhosi provides visual and narrative documentation of the circumstances of a five-year-old girl and her access to an Early Childhood Development Centre (ECDC) through the Wona Sanana Association’s pilot project in rural Mozambique. Through photography Mkhosi captures the daily life of the girl-child in detail and in relation to the ECDC she attends, giving insight into Wona Sanana’s philosophy, achievements and challenges. It is quite worrying that one of the largest gaps in education policy and practice in the region tends to be at TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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the most critical and foundational level of education – Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE). The early years in a child’s life offer a unique opportunity to shape healthier, more prosperous, stable and participatory societies in the future. Yet, most countries in the region have not prioritised this level of education. This has inevitably affected the quality of teaching and learning and prospects for ensuring capacitated learners at higher rungs on the education ladder. Most investments in this sector have largely been made by non-state actors and within policy vacuums which compromise the quality and levels of access for the majority of communities. The Wona Sanana Association is one such non-state actor providing ECDE in parts of Mozambique, with support from OSISA and others. The duty to provide citizens with education in most countries on the continent rests with the state. In almost all cases, constitutions and corresponding laws place the responsibility squarely on states and thus the government in place. However, states seem to be struggling to honour this obligation. A number of compelling articles in this issue explore and highlight the experiences of governments, citizens and others active in the delivery of education with regards to financing, programming and regulating the education sector. The authors suggest innovative approaches to financing, planning and advocating for girls’ education, highlighting the prospects for transforming education pedagogy to deliver for women come 2030. Christine Okudi uses a case study from Uganda, one of the many African contexts in which governments are struggling to meet their obligations to provide education, to highlight the challenges government faces pertaining

to inadequate budget commitments, inadequate infrastructure and insufficient teacher training investment, among others, which inadvertently results in a vacuum. Over the last decade, this vacuum has been increasingly filled by a proliferation of corporate investors in the education sector, often operating as private schools, with governments seemingly resigning their responsibility to these private interests. The private investors have used a variety of models and variations in offering education, with mixed results. This phenomenon has raised serious concerns on the part of human rights activists, academics and UN bodies, especially as to the negative effects these schools have on equitable access and the quality of education and infrastructure provided for the children attending these schools. Ashina Mtsumi and Zizipho Zondani share findings of empirical research conducted by human rights organisations and academics on the impacts of privatisation on the right to education, demonstrating how this model of corporatised education results in discrimination and the restriction of education for the vulnerable and economically disadvantaged, with girls and women disproportionately affected. They illustrate this using the case of Bridge International Academies (BIA) and its model which has been challenged by the Ugandan government and other nations hosting their schools. In her submission on how this privatisation dynamic has played out in Ghana, Veronica Dzeagu further explains how women and girls have been adversely affected. Core arguments advanced by those concerned about the privatisation of education on the continent are that the models are discriminatory and serve to benefit overseas

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences



companies’ financial aims far more than the needs of the students. Evidence shows that this type of privatisation in education in Africa has been detrimental in a number of ways. These authors argue that it may be better for private investors to donate funds directly to the public purse and governments will then have adequate resources to upscale public schools and fulfil their mandate. However, Tabitha Mulyampiti cautions us on the nature and form of donor funding coming into the public purse which has not necessarily yielded the required results, especially for girls. She opines that the manner in which the new aid modalities, particularly budget support, are being implemented by development partners and national governments requires constant monitoring and remodelling if girls and women are to fully benefit. Mulyampiti demonstrates this through experiences from Uganda. She pushes for women’s movements in the country to be part of the budgeting processes, and to monitor, track and demand accountability to ensure girls benefit fully from such partnerships. Where the government seeks strategic public-private partnerships with corporate investors, the results could be different. This argument is advanced by various authors including Ellen Chigwada who considers the case of Zimbabwe, where, as she argues, this has worked well. In her article, Chigwada describes a model where community initiatives have played a significant role and the benefits resulting from the initiatives. This could increase the burden on already struggling communities, but a community involvement model can be structured to allow the government to tap into the resources communities have without losing control of the necessary policy and quality monitoring. There are some who remain optimistic about governments’ capacities and abilities to mobilise the required resources internally by means of more efficient tax collection and fiscal management. Limbani Nsapato sees an opportunity for governments to increase domestic revenue for social services – including education for girls – if they increase their political will. This is quite possible if the recent escalation and amplification of voices calling for tighter and more prudent government expenditure is anything to go by. Furthermore, social justice movements pushing for tax justice on the continent have become more visible and more audible of late. These movements are placing considerable pressure on governments to tighten tax systems and public budget management. The Basic Income Grant (BIG) initiative is a case in point. Herbert Jauch and Bronwyn King share how the Namibian Government’s Tax Commission (NAMTAX) proposed a universal grant as a way of fighting poverty and reducing inequality. The BIG was piloted by a coalition of civil society organisations and others. The pilot project outcomes provide evidence that the BIG model can be highly beneficial for the Namibian citizenry, its economy and society while experts’ calculations confirm its feasibility. Jauch and King demonstrate how the BIG model relates to the SDG agenda and responds to the gendered needs and lived realities of women and girls in the communities, and


they advocate for the national implementation of the pro-poor BIG to achieve the same positive results on a macro level. Citizens on the continent are strengthening their voices and making demands for delivery on their right to education. Although the continent has a history of formidable student movements, especially at tertiary levels, there has been a marked shift in how these movements are organising, mobilising and pushing governments to deliver. Organisation among feminist students has become more visible, with students demanding gender-responsive education policies, and safe spaces at schools and universities. A number of such campaigns have broken national boundaries to achieve global impacts. Simamkele Dlakavu’s article shows how female students in South Africa have mobilised, especially through social media platforms, to challenge the culture of rape, racism, and other challenges that make women vulnerable and hinder them from enjoying their right to education. Dlakavu tracks three campaigns at universities in the recent past in South Africa. Mazuba Haanyama shares her personal experiences as a high school student which resonate with another recent campaign waged at that level of the education system and in the same country, focusing on the politics of black hair. Africa women and girls are vulnerable at all levels of education, and Portia Tshegofatso Loeto describes her own experiences as a primary and high school-going girl and at university in Botswana, as well as evidence of this widespread problem from numerous other sources. It is critical for duty bearers to seriously consider the issue of girls’ safety in and out of school premises if their right to education is to remain secure. For this reason, Raisa Cole calls for integrating participatory urban planning tools into the education of young women and girls in order to help achieve Agenda 2030. There is also an argument that the continent has placed too much focus and investment on formal education at the expense of other forms of education, including informal and non-formal education which has thus far produced limited outcomes but nevertheless has great potential. There is a cluster of articles in this issue which make a compelling case for the need to recognise and invest in other forms of education as the continent pursues the SDG targets. These articles explore some of the non-formal and informal models, and how they offer opportunities to increase access, quality and, more importantly, relevant context-tailored education. In their articles, Goitsione Mokou and Evan Abrahamse argue that informal learning plays a critical role in shaping indigenous and local knowledge and knowledge-making practices. Mokou considers the role of informal learning, the process of action-reflection and praxis in recovering indigenous knowledges and cultural traditions that are otherwise silenced by dominant knowledges. Informal pedagogical practices, and their emphasis on participatory modes of learning toward collective knowledge production reflect indigenous knowledge-making practices and give voice to local and/or indigenous knowledge. Abrahamse validates this point using the case of People’s Education, an initiative that employs theatre, art and music TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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to educate on matters of sex, sexuality and other subjects important to communities. Second-chance education is one of the options that many believe will be game-changing for women and girls on the continent. Two of the major impediments to education which result in girls dropping out of school are teenage pregnancy, and early or child marriage. Global movements have emerged advocating for the abolition of child marriages and second-chance education for girls. Cynthia Ngwalo-Lungu throws light on the magnitude of this challenge on the continent and in southern Africa, demonstrating the economic cost of not educating girls and not giving them a second chance at education. Katharina Wuppinger shares how context-specific and tailored education in Sierra Leone responded to the need for second chance education for teenage mothers who fell pregnant during the Ebola crisis in the country in 2015. Patience Tapiwa Ndlovu confirms this through a demonstrative case of the WEI-Bantwana project and the value of second-chance education in Zimbabwe. Another non-formal model explored in this cluster of articles is Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), as discussed by Memory Zonde Kachambwa who uses Zimbabwe as an example to show its status and gendered aspects. Given the limitations and insufficient provision of education infrastructure, the resultant long distances students have to travel, and the reduced access to education for many who need it, Samantha Sanangurai sees the growing trend towards online education as an innovative option to be seriously considered. There is also a group of articles that interrogate how education is delivered, arguing for holistic rather than sectoral approaches. Edinah Masanga argues that the first port of call should be working on and investing in changing societal attitudes about what women can and cannot do in order to enable girls to remain in the education system and complete their schooling. The intersections of education with other sectoral needs of children need to be considered holistically. For instance, the availability of libraries which go beyond merely providing reading material is important, as illustrated in Kasonde Mukonde and Elizabeth Giles’s article on the Lubuto Library Project in Zambia. This project’s approach is flexible, tailored to meet the community’s needs and has thus achieved success. The content of the education offered, be it formal, informal or non-formal, also has to recognise and acknowledge the intersectionalities in women’s lived realities, as Naomi Sophia Mnthali argues in

her article in this issue. Mnthali looks at the interplay between education and health and other social services for women and girls. Maxim Murungweni gives attention to the lack of feminine hygiene products and sanitary facilities for girls which, though certainly related to health, is primarily an education issue and should be addressed as such. Many girls in Africa cannot fully enjoy their right to education because of this problem. Murungweni describes the situation in Zimbabwe as an example of this obstacle to girls’ education which is endemic to rural Africa. Even the issue of children’s birth registrations, as an impediment to education, is hardly considered in discourses on education, as shown in Audrey Chihota’s article. Probably, and most importantly, whether formal, non-formal or informal, the education systems have to be cognisant of those women and girls who are particularly vulnerable and provide special policy and programmatic mechanisms to ensure they access education. These include girls and women with disabilities, who often fall through the cracks in education policies and practices, as discussed by Agness Chindimba and Onai Hara, as well as in Spiwe Chakawa’s case study of the Chiedza Care Centre in Zimbabwe. Others fail to enjoy their right to education because of who they are, as illustrated by the plight of San children in the article by Taati Niilenge. As a region, the SADC has signalled its intentions by crafting a policy for inclusive education, and Kudakwashe Dube shows how this policy, known as the Southern Africa Inclusive Education Strategy for Learners with Disabilities (SAIES), can work in practice. Bronwyn King gives a short overview of the role SAIES has in girl’s education. It is clear from the opinion pieces, research findings, photo-essay, personal stories, case studies and arguments shared in this issue from Botswana, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Sierra Leone and South Africa – to mention a few countries – that both challenges and opportunities abound in securing the right to education and the right to the kind of education that includes women’s agency. We hope the journal provides you with new insights for policy advocacy and programming and points you towards potential mechanisms and strategies you may want to target for changing the game for women towards 2030. Alice D Kanengoni is the editor of BUWA!: A Journal on African Women’s Experiences. Write to her by email at with comments, contributions and ideas on other topical issues you want to see covered in the next issues of the journal.

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


“WHAT WAS MY EDUCATION FOR?” Transformative education and the Africa we need by 2030 Connie Nshemereirwe Dr Connie Nshemereirwe is a Ugandan civil engineer turned educator and is passionate about improving the quality of basic education across Africa. She spent 15 years as an academic at the Uganda Martyrs University, and currently runs her own firm developing digital resources for early childhood literacy and numeracy development. She is also active in civil society through the Kigo Think Tank and is engaged in leadership training for academics. Twitter handle: @Nshemeshe

Introduction My maternal grandmother underwent two years of formal education and, as a result, was able to read and write in her own language for the rest of her life. Beyond that, she was knowledgeable of our tribe’s traditions and rituals, and she fully participated in them. My mother made it to college and, along the way, was still able to imbibe plenty of knowledge on how to take care of cows, and the herbs to administer for many illnesses. She also knew the history of the Ankole people for generations into the past. I have gone on to obtain a doctorate, I speak my mother tongue enough to be understood, but I cannot tell the difference between a potato and a groundnut plant. I was never any good at agricultural studies in school, but now, 20-odd years after I left, I have been informed that it has even been struck off the curriculum at my old high school. In Uganda, a country with an agriculture-based economy (more than two-thirds of the population rely on agriculture for their livelihood) (DfID, 2002), this state of affairs raises the questions: what is the purpose of the current education system and who is it aimed at?

Education for what purpose? In the foreword to Paulo Freire’s (2000, p. 34) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Richard Shaull says: There is no such thing as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes “the practice of freedom,” the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality, and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. Many people may say that the purpose of education is to enable the younger generation to find their place in the world or to meet the labour demands of the workforce. Few expect the education system to prepare their children to change that system. Rather, they children are only expected to survive within it. Inadvertently, then, our current education systems function as an instrument to facilitate conformity to the present system. At the same time, we lament the state of our


economies, our environment, and our societies. How can these same systems bring us the transformation we hope for by 2030? Despite our expectations for our children, many of us have a vague sense that our education systems do not serve their needs exactly. Rwomire (1998, cited in Woolman, 2001, p. 30) has described the graduates of some African universities as “docile, dependent, low on initiative and immoral.” Certainly, rural dwellers have known for a long time that “the educated African [becomes] a misfit… in his own village,” and is expected to leave his village when he graduates; “his parents [do not] expect him to continue living with them, tending the cattle or cultivating the land” (Mazrui, 1978, cited in Woolman, 2001 p. 29). Some, such as Okoro (2011), attribute this to the fact that many education systems are still modelled on the colonial system, at which time the purpose of education was mainly to feed the colonial administration machinery. After national independence had been achieved by African countries, African scholars set out to contribute to an Africanisation of the education system. Some of their suggestions were quite radical, such as those of Unwuachi (1972, cited in Woolman, 2001, p. 32) who favoured a complete departure from the colonial systems since “black cultural objectives can never be obtained using… white European standardised educational processes.” Others, like Mazrui (1978, cited in Woolman, 2001), thought that sacrificing the benefits of the scientific and technological revolution by completely returning to traditional values would be unwise. Some individuals held that traditional education offered useful learning methods, such as learning through discovery and observation of nature, but that it also had its shortcomings, such as harmful superstitions and the subordinate place of women in society (Woolman, 2001). The idea that the panacea for Africa’s educational woes involves a rediscovery of our cultural roots is still echoed today. At the Second Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF II) in 2005, delegates agreed that future education policies had to be “infused with an awareness that a culturally sensitive view of education, and a thriving, dynamic cultural identity that is rooted in its own values and open to the world, are pre-conditions for societies to develop sustainably” (African Union, 2005, p. 5). It is not immediately clear why, after the years since independence, these aspirations have not yet become a reality. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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Our inability to bring this about could partly be due to what Mazrui (1978, cited in Woolman, 2001, pp 30-31) calls “cultural bondage”, a psychological by-product of a Eurocentric education, and this, he says, has bred among the educated a kind of “African self-contempt”. Beyond the individual level, Le Grange (2015) contends that African countries may have achieved the independence signified by the colonial powers physically leaving, but this was followed by further generations of colonial influence after the first. These generations are characterised as follows: the second generation is a “colonialism of the mind through disciplines like education, science, economics and law”; the third generation, also known as neo-colonialism, is the continued dependence of colonised countries upon the world’s superpowers, including international banking institutions and multinational corporations; and the current, fourth generation is known as neoliberalism with a commitment to the regulation of public affairs by market forces, among other features (Le Grange, 2015, p. 4). It would appear that our cultural bondage and the continued covert colonisation have made it difficult for us to conceive of and implement an education system that can free us from this bondage, and instead bring about the transformation of our societies. Freire (2000, p. 48) poses the central problem as follows: How can the oppressed, as divided inauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation? ... As long as they live in the duality in which to be is to be like, and to be like is to be like the oppressor, this contribution is impossible [emphasis not in original]. Freire (2000) contends that our primary vocation as humans is to become more fully human; when this is thwarted by injustice, exploitation or violence, humans are oppressed. From the start, the replacement of our traditional education systems with formal colonial education systems interfered with this vocation. Education policy in British Africa was aimed at “Training to meet the everyday needs of native life, to correct the present glaring deficiencies and to strengthen and develop the good points” (Jones, 1925, cited in Mukoboto, 1978, p. 2). Existing traditional education structures were believed to be “immoral and dangerous and to be avoided at all costs” (Dougall, 1930, cited in Mukoboto, 1978, p. 16). In the words of one of the policy advisors of the time, “Since the African child cannot learn habits of cleanliness and order and notions of morals and religion in his own home, he should learn them at school” (Dubois, 1929, cited in Mukoboto, 1978, p. 26). We are thus not left in doubt as to the intentions and objectives of the colonial education system. Furthermore, as late as 1969, Andrew Skeen (cited in Mungazi & Walker, 1997, p. 37), spokesman of the Rhodesia Front party that ruled Zimbabwe from 1962 to 1979, said: We in the Rhodesia Front Government are determined to control the rate of African political advancement till time and education

make it a safe possibility. Besides, we wish to retain the power to retard the advancement of the Africans through education to make sure that the government remains in responsible [white] hands [emphasis not in original]. By unquestioningly holding on to an education system that is rooted in the alienation of Africans from their social and cultural reality, we inadvertently perpetuate a system that exploits the masses in service of the selfish interests of the elite (Moumouni, 1968, cited in Woolman, 2001). Such an education cannot lead to transformation because it aims at “changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them” (de Beauvoir, 1963, cited in Freire, 2000, p. 74). In turn, the elite, culturally colonised as they are, serve the interests of the superpowers Africa continues to depend on. Realities like the rural-urban divide, an artefact of the colonial system, echo the economic exploitation under colonialism; the continued marginalisation of African languages reinforces the superiority of foreign languages; and the paucity of content about African history and geography in the African education curricula deepen the alienation from our own culture and traditions. These practices keep us in cultural bondage.

Education for conformity Education in colonial times had to proceed according to what Freire (2000 p. 76) refers to as the “banking system of education”. In this system, the teacher knows everything, and the student knows nothing (or what they knew was wrong or unimportant). To aid in their education efforts, the colonial powers trained teachers from among the locals, and these teachers carried what they had been told and filled their students’ heads with it. These teachers occupied a very high status in

To aid in their education efforts, the colonial powers trained teachers from among the locals, and these teachers carried what they had been told and filled their students’ heads with it. their communities and, combined with the African tradition of respecting one’s elders, this created an even greater veneration for the white man’s education in the minds of African students. This banking system of education remains widely evident in African education systems. The teacher’s role is still to manage “the way in which the world ‘enters into’ the students” (Freire, 2000, p. 76). Unfortunately, this one-way exchange in the banking system of education results in the students perceiving themselves as objects upon which action is carried out, rather than as subjects capable of engagement, participation and contribution. In this way, the banking system of

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education produces people with a limited capacity to act upon their own world in order to change it. They are raised to think of the world as motionless, compartmentalised, and predetermined. In place of thinking, reflecting and engaging, the banking education system only asks that the student memorise their lessons and reproduce the information as-is in the examinations.

An education that liberates An education that liberates, on the other hand, is aimed at developing the critical consciousness necessary for the educated person to intervene in the world and transform it. “Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information” (Freire, 2000, p. 79); and in acts of cognition on the part of both the teacher and the student. Freire, in that case, advocates for a problem-posing rather than a banking type of education. In this system, teachers and students are in a dialogue that advances both parties’ understanding of how their world functions, and this, in turn, gradually reveals the true nature of the world (Nshemereirwe, 2016). In this interaction, the distinction between teacher and student dissolves, as both inhabit each role interchangeably, each learning from themselves and from the other. The students are no longer passive, but active co-learners and investigators. A problem-posing education approach allows the student to gradually discover their own place in, and relationship with the world. This enables them to perceive reality, not as static, but as being in a process of transformation. Reality is no longer revealed to them via a teacher filling them like vessels, but through direct experience (Freire, 2000). Education that continuously presents students with questions relating A problem-posing education approach allows the student to gradually discover their own place in, and relationship with the world. This enables them to perceive reality, not as static, but as being in a process of transformation.

to them and their world encourages awareness of the way the world is, and they cannot help but feel challenged to respond in order to transform it. Liberation, as Freire (2000, p. 79) says, is active: “The action and reflection of men and women upon their world in order to transform it.”

The practice of freedom At the societal level, the first step towards the practice of freedom is to recognise that, through our education systems, we (especially the educated elite) have “internalised the image of the oppressor”, and


have ourselves become oppressors of those who should be our fellows (Freire, 2000, p. 48). The oppressed thus should consider how they may be unwitting “‘hosts’ of the oppressor”, and how the “pedagogy of the oppressed” can be used to reveal the dehumanisation perpetrated by both the oppressed and the oppressor (ibid). The oppressed have adopted the oppressors’ teachings and values, and become reluctant to give them up. What will it take to have the courage to dispense with the aspirations to be like (the oppressor), and instead start the journey towards becoming wholly who we are? Freire (2000, pp 47-48) explains that: Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility… The conflict lies in the choice between being wholly themselves or being divided; between ejecting the oppressor within or not ejecting them; between human solidarity or alienation; between following prescriptions or having choices; between being spectators or actors; between acting or having the illusion of acting through the action of the oppressors; between speaking out or being silent, castrated in their power to create and re-create, in their power to transform the world. This is the tragic dilemma of the oppressed which their education must take into account. Once the elite recognise themselves as the oppressors of their fellow human beings, and also as under oppression themselves, the journey towards transforming our society can begin. The pedagogy of our combined liberation must, therefore, go further and enter into a dialogue with the oppressed. However, this requires deep humility on the part of the educated elite, because such a dialogue is impossible if one party does not recognise and respect the humanity of the other. According to Freire (2000), we have to develop a deep love and concern for our fellows who are oppressed, and have faith in individuals’ ability to become fully human, even when at first some show a lack of interest in engaging. Through this dialogue, both the “educated” and the “uneducated” can obtain a fuller picture of their reality and have a better chance of building an education system that more closely responds to that reality. This reflects what the African Ministers of Culture noted at a conference in 2005: The WANANCHI (the ordinary people) have been the custodians of African culture in the true sense of the term. In many parts of Africa, a large majority of the ‘wananchi’ is still considered ‘uneducated’. This is due to one great paradox that has characterised education in the continent, where those who live the culture but who have not been to school, are considered ‘uneducated’, while those who have been through school but who do may not necessarily possess the culture of the people, are considered ‘educated’. In societies in which education has not lost touch with acculturation, to be educated is also to be cultured (Obanya, 2005, p. 5-6). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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Towards Agenda 2030 Our quest to transform our education system so as to achieve the goals of Agenda 2030 will require the participation and the inclusion of all parts of society. While we need to employ the opportunities provided by modern science and technology, we also have a lot to learn from our traditional education systems. By entering into the dialogue that Freire (2000) speaks of, the education of our young and old can take on more relevance and acquire a better fit to our context. If it was up to the African Ministers of Culture, we would locate “the Education that Africa lost” so that it can be “resuscitated for [the] genuine development of the mind and soul of the continent” (Obanya, 2005, p. 2). However, African traditional education is not a static point somewhere in the past. As Dei (2000, cited in Le Grange, 2016, pp 5-6) has put it, “indigenous knowledge does not reside in ‘pristine

fashion’ outside the influences of other knowledges.” That said, a form of the African traditional education still exists in our societies, since it is through this that the “uneducated” are socialised. The essence and advantages of African traditional education are summarised by Mungazi and Walker (1997, p. 38) in this excerpt: The relevance of education in African society made it possible for all students to have access to it… the purpose of African education was well defined, with functionalism as its major guiding principle – functionalism for self-sufficiency rather than functionalism for colonial labour… African society regarded education as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself… education was a lifelong endeavour, fully integrated into the major institutional structures and making it applicable and relevant to the needs of society from one generation to the next.

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“WHAT WAS MY EDUCATION FOR?” Transformative education and the Africa we need by 2030

Similarly, Obanya (2005, p. 2) notes in the report on the Fifth Conference of African Ministers of Culture that, “With colonialisation, Education became equated with mere schooling. In traditional societies Education for All was taken for granted; in a colonial setting, Schooling for All became a problem.” In re-imagining our education systems, we also need to re-imagine the concept of school; going to a building called “school” should no longer be the full definition of getting an education. African governments are stretched beyond their capacity; with the current youth bulge, we need to accept the fact that they are not able to meet the ever-growing need for quality education. Educational entrepreneurs around the world have already cottoned on to this fact. Charles Leadbeater (2010) has studied innovation in education around the world and observes that the most innovative systems extend education beyond the formal setting, and have also reinvented the learning environment. Freire (2000) arrives at a similar conclusion but from a different direction: with the formal education being so firmly in the grip of the oppressors and their agents, education for liberation may have to proceed by way of projects outside the formal system. Opportunities exist for innovative education projects beyond state actors and within informal settings like communities and homes, where the majority of the un-schooled currently operate. This provides an opportunity to plug into the traditional education systems. Furthermore, in a highly connected and digitalised world, the opportunities for access, as well as re-imagining the learning environment are vast. Taking stock and advantage of these opportunities provides the possibility of availing education in radically new ways: this is the essence of truly transforming our education systems.

That was the first time in my life I took note of the cocoa trees, and they are on the route I have walked countless times on my way to and from work. Every so often, I ask myself, “What was my education for?”

Reflection Mine is a rural campus, and the other day I was walking through the village when I ran into two colleagues of mine. I observed that they were each eating what appeared to be one-half of a yellow oblong fruit, out of which they scooped some cream-coloured fleshy seeds. The flesh they proceeded to suck off and then they put the seeds aside. I asked them what they were eating, and they told me they were eating cocoa. I thought, “What? Cocoa is bitter! And where did they get it from anyway?” They told me it grew in the village, and that only the seed was bitter, which is why they did not eat it. I asked them who brought it to


the village. I thought the cocoa plant only grew in West Africa and must have been brought to Uganda recently. “No, no,” they told me – there are several trees in the village, and the locals even have a name for them. I asked them to show me the trees. That was the first time in my life I took note of the cocoa trees, and they are on the route I have walked countless times on my way to and from work. Every so often, I ask myself, “What was my education for?”

REFERENCES 1. African Union (2005) Education and culture in Africa’s quest for development. Report on COMEDAF II. 8-11 April, Algiers. http:// pdf (accessed 14 January 2017). 2. DfID (2002) Better livelihoods for poor people: The role of agriculture. Department for International Development, Glasgow. People_The_Role_of.htm (accessed 14 January 2017). 3. Freire P (2000) Pedagogy of the oppressed. Translated from Portuguese by Ramos MB. Bloomsbury Publishing: London. 4. Le Grange L (2016) Decolonising the university curriculum. South African Journal of Higher Education, 30(2): 1-12. http://dx.doi. org/10.20853/30-2-709 (accessed 28 January 2017). 5. Leadbeater C (2010) Education innovation in the slums. TED Talks. (accessed 14 January 2017). 6. Mukoboto S (1978) The British adaptation of education policy for Africans in Zambia 1925-1964: A problem in synthesis. Masters thesis. Marquette University, Milwaukee. http://epublications. (accessed 14 January 2017). 7. Mungazi DA & Walker LK (1997) Educational reform and the transformation of Southern Africa. Greenwood Publishing Group: Westport. 8. Nshemereirwe C (2016) How a theory born in the 1930s could transform African education systems. The Conversation. http:// (accessed 14 January 2017). 9. Obanya P (2005) Culture-in-education and education-in-culture. Report on the Fifth Conference of African Ministers of Culture. 10-14 December, Nairobi. ocr_document/UA_AfrMinCult_Culture+Education_2005_en.pdf (accessed 14 January 2017). 10. Okoro NP (2011). Comparative analysis of Nigerian educational system. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(21): 234-238. 11. Woolman DC (2001) Educational reconstruction and post-colonial curriculum development: A comparative study of four African countries. International Education Journal, 2(5): 27-46. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE ROLE OF AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES in Agenda 2030: Empowering women and decolonising the academy Prof. Hanne Kirstine Adriansen Hanne Adriansen is the International Coordinator and an Associate Professor at the Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. Originally trained as a human geographer, her research interests include spatial aspects of education and knowledge production as well as the internationalisation of higher education. She has extensive fieldwork experience in West and North Africa where she has worked in close collaboration with local universities and other research institutions. Prof. Adriansen has participated in a number of research capacity-building projects in Africa and Asia. Her current research projects concern geographies of knowledge and place-making through student mobilities. She is the co-editor of Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The Geography and Power of Knowledge under Changing Conditions (2016) published by Routledge. I recently attended a dinner for speakers at a conference in an African capital. I had expected to meet all the speakers, but it turned out only to be for the chosen few. Sitting there, I could not help wondering how we had been selected. It was clear that the number of white faces exceeded the black ones – interesting considering the purpose of the conference was to discuss the future role of African universities. Needless to say, the majority was men. This was an interesting example of the power and politics of knowledge, and there were many other examples during the conference – both as deliberate academic contributions and in the practices of hosting a conference. I will argue that, if we address the power and politics of knowledge, African universities and higher education can play a more powerful role in “transforming our world” and empower women. Writing from the vantage point of a white, female researcher who has studied Africa for almost 20 years, I will draw on my experiences as well as my research to explore the role of African universities in reaching the goals of Agenda 2030, with a particular focus on women.

Agenda 2030 and universities In the UN (2016) document, “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development”, quality education, lifelong learning as well as gender equality and empowerment of women are high on the list of priorities. Universities and higher education, however, receive little attention (one and two hits respectively). The word “research” is mentioned eight times in the document, most often in relation to higher education. It may thus seem odd to focus on higher education in relation to Agenda 2030 and women in this article. Nonetheless, I have chosen this perspective because I find higher education institutions in general and universities in particular important for achieving the goals of Agenda 2030. Universities have two main objectives: to educate students and to produce knowledge. Hence, universities play a major role in procuring the human and intellectual resources needed for fulfilling the various goals of Agenda 2030. In the following, I will focus on the role of universities in relation to two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the overall perspective on sustainable development.

SDG 4, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UN-DESA, 2016a), includes ambitions to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education including university. Education should, among other things, ensure the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development and lead to an appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. In order to do so, there is a need for well-trained teachers, who can offer an appreciation of local knowledge and of all experiences, including those of African women – something that can be difficult if schooling is based on a colonial curriculum and the language of the coloniser. SDG 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” (UN-DESA, 2016b), is related to SDG 4 in a number of ways, but SDG 5 also focusses on policies and legislation that can promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at all levels. There should be equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. To ensure women’s full and effective participation in society, there is a need to empower women and girls. This is where education and the politics of knowledge are necessary. Attending school is not enough if the knowledge offered there is not something girls and women can relate to. Quite a few of the goals are related to the environment, climate and resource management. The discourse of the document implies that sustainable development requires knowledge. Environment, climate, and resource management in particular call for scientific knowledge and research. Local knowledge is mentioned a few times in the document in a manner similar to the sentences about being appreciative of cultural diversity and culture’s contribution to sustainable development. Altogether this calls for the production of new knowledge both through research and teaching at universities and other higher education institutions. Hence, while research and higher education are sparingly mentioned in the Agenda 2030 document, the discourse of the document implies a strong need for universities in order to fulfil the aspirations.

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THE ROLE OF AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES in Agenda 2030: Empowering women and decolonising the academy

Power and the politics of knowledge It is interesting to see the growing number of academic conferences and journal articles discussing the power and politics of knowledge in Africa. While there have been African institutions of learning for over 1 000 years, the most evident type of higher education on the continent today has its roots in colonial-era institutions (Jensen, Adriansen & Madsen, 2016). Franz Fanon, a Martinique-born, Afro-French psychiatrist, philosopher and revolutionary, wrote about the colonisation of the mind some 50 years ago. Fanon (1968) argues that the colonised have adopted the colonisers’ historical perspective, using the concept “colonial identification” to denote this and similar tendencies whereby the colonised take on the perspective of the colonisers. Independence in Africa did not necessarily change very much. For many years, African intellectuals have argued that African universities and school systems in general reproduce(d) their colonial legacy, for instance, through curriculum and language. The Beninese philosopher

the colonised have adopted the colonisers’ historical perspective, using the concept “colonial identification” to denote this and similar tendencies whereby the colonised take on the perspective of the colonisers. Paulin Hountondji (1990) and the Kenyan political scientist Ali Mazrui (2003) have both pointed to the intellectual and epistemological dependency of African scholars. The Ugandan social scientist Mahmood Mamdani (1993, p. 15) argues: In our single-minded pursuit to create centres of learning and research of international standing, we had nurtured researchers and educators who had little capacity to work in surrounding communities but who could move to any institution in any industrialised country, and serve any privileged community around the globe with comparative ease. In our failure to contextualise standards and excellence to the needs of our own people, to ground the very process and agenda of learning and research in our conditions, we ended up creating an intelligentsia with little stamina for the very process of development whose vanguard we claimed to be. The question is if African universities are still suffering from some sort of colonialisation of the mind.1 As a European, I should not be the one to judge. However, knowledge production is not neutral, objective, or power free. African women’s narratives about their journeys in academia show us how the power and politics of knowledge are intrinsically linked to gender. In her chapter, “My knowledge, your knowledge, whose knowledge is it?


Reflections from a researcher’s journey through universities in North and South”, the Zimbabwean researcher Bevlyn Sithole (2016, p. 188) writes: “My gender, race and historical experience situate my interpretation of the life journey within a cultural political space where the discourse of domination and imperialism is never far away.” Sithole discusses the location of scholarship and ownership of knowledge. She tells of how an African scholar asked if she – as an African scholar in the diaspora – could legitimately represent Africa. Sithole (2016) wonders who has the right to speak on behalf of Africa. Is location important? I may add, what is the importance of colour and gender? For the South African educationalist Thabisile Nkambule, access to university and to certain courses is the main issue. As a black woman from a “disadvantaged” background (black, rural, woman), access to university in post-apartheid times is still far from easy (Nkambule, 2014). Her father disapproved of her idea of going to university; he did so by referring to her gender and the risk of falling pregnant. Apparently, gender and potential pregnancy were not a problem at teacher’s college where her father wanted her to study. Nkambule found that her father objected to the idea of his daughter obtaining a postgraduate degree. While Nkambule managed to attend university, her rural background continued to be a challenge as the white male professors and white female tutors had certain ideas about suitable subjects for students coming from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. First, they questioned her ability to study psychology; then it was her ability to study English. A tutor said to her that English was a difficult course to pass for somebody from a township school and suggested she studied Xhosa instead. Later, it was Nkambule’s competencies to become a researcher which were questioned because she did not match the cultural practices of the predominantly white university. The obstacles Nkambule met seem to relate to race rather than gender at university, which is no surprise in a South African context. However, gender was an issue in the socio-cultural context she grew up in. Similar experiences can probably be found in many rural African contexts. Thus, power and politics of knowledge entail race, gender, history, and other considerations; which means issues of colonialism, imperialism and dominance are never far away. The two women’s narratives also show that it is not always simple to determine who exercises power over whom and when. For Sithole, dominance is also seen when researchers take ownership over communities’ knowledge, and she highlights the importance of co-producing knowledge: “Co-production of knowledge between scientists and communities is a prerequisite for research aiming at a more sustainable development path” (Sithole, 2016, pp 180-181). Thereby we return to the issue of Agenda 2030. How can we produce knowledge of local relevance and include the perspectives and cultures of the people? How can we, as stated in SDG 4, build the knowledge needed to promote sustainable development and appreciate culture’s contribution to sustainable development? Mamdani (1993) has argued that contextualised understandings can be a way forward if we want to produce knowledge with local relevance. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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Contextualised understandings of climate Climate change is a significant problem for the African continent. It is mentioned in Agenda 2030 multiple times beyond SDG 13 which calls for “urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” (UN-DESA, 2016c). This field demands contextualised understandings in order for locally relevant and suitable solutions to be developed. All too often, localised methods and theories from the Global North are portrayed as universal methods and theories, and they are therefore transferred to an African context without recognising their particularity. The Senegalese climate change researcher Cheikh Mbow has explained the difficulties in conducting valuable climate change research when scientific knowledge production is based on particular theories and methods that are presented as universal rather than context-specific. Mbow (in Adriansen, Mehmood-Ul-Hassan & Mbow, 2016) argues that well-informed citizens, responsive institutions, and problem-focused knowledge generation are imperative to achieving sustainable development and that universities in Africa clearly have a vital role to play. As the North-Irish geographer David Livingstone (2012) points out, climate knowledge is not self-evident, universal or reliable and, therefore, we need to seek discrete, specific knowledge applicable to a spatial location. In other words, we need to attend to individual and community experiences of climate:

What climate means to people is conditioned by the places people occupy, the histories they share, the cultural values they absorb. Presumptions about what the idea of climate change must – or should – mean to people fall foul of precisely this careful interrogation of particularity (Livingstone, 2012, pp 92-93). We should add gender to Livingstone’s list of contextualised understandings. Hence, the ability to attend to both men and women’s experiences of climate, through inquiring into the particular, the specific and the spatially located, is pertinent for African universities if they want to produce the research called for in Agenda 2030.

Universality of knowledge and Africanisation of curriculum Along with the so-called African renaissance (an increased optimism and self-awareness on the continent), there has been a new consciousness about the historical roots of higher education. It has been argued that it is necessary to decolonise the academy, for instance, through an Africanisation of the curriculum (Adriansen, 2016). Africanisation can be understood as a focus on African knowledge, ways of thinking, cultural heritage, and identity.2 In higher education institutions, the process of Africanisation has not been easy due to the claim that knowledge is universal (Jensen et al., 2016).

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THE ROLE OF AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES in Agenda 2030: Empowering women and decolonising the academy

The debate about Africanisation of curriculum and knowledge production further relates to the debate on universities’ role as local drivers of sustainable development with regard to internationalisation and competition as increasing demands of the global knowledge economy (Adriansen, 2016).3 Can a university be locally relevant, focussing its teaching and research on local needs while remaining involved in global competition with an increasing emphasis on homogeny? It has been argued that capacity-building activities and donor control of project development processes are causing a renewed curriculum dependency (Brock-Utne, 2002). These are the kind of projects we are likely to see as a result of Agenda 2030. Having participated in capacity-building projects myself, I would argue that decolonisation of knowledge and methodology is necessary in higher education.4 The question is how it can be done. The first step is to pay attention to the apparent universality of knowledge. In the words of the Indian author and activist Vandana Shiva (2012, p. 9): The western systems have been viewed as universal. However, the dominant system is also a local system, with its social basis in a particular culture, class and gender. It is not universal in an epistemological sense. It is merely the globalised version of a very local and parochial tradition. Emerging from a dominating and colonising culture, modern knowledge systems are themselves colonising. While I agree with Shiva, I will also warn against moving towards a complete Africanisation of curriculum and knowledge production. The dilemma is that this may entail an unproductive essentialisation of the “African”, for example, who the African is, where the African lives, and what the African can study. The two narratives presented above are both cases in point. Sithole experienced being questioned about her legitimacy as an African scholar because she lives in the diaspora. Moreover, Nkambule’s abilities to study English were questioned because she is black. Hence, I would argue that we should try to contextu-

Having participated in capacitybuilding projects myself, I would argue that decolonisation of knowledge and methodology is necessary in higher education. The question is how it can be done.

alise knowledge and pay attention to the difference between universal knowledge and dominant knowledge, yet we should also acknowledge that, without ideas about universality, universal human experiences and human rights, Agenda 2030 would never be realised.


The role of African universities in Agenda 2030 So, how can African universities contribute to realising the aspirations of Agenda 2030? African education will not reach its transformative potential through the mindless transfer of knowledge, theories and methods from other parts of the world (primarily from the North). This will reproduce dependency. Instead, empowerment of women and sustainable development require that more contextualised knowledge be produced. We need to analyse the power and politics of knowledge. It is necessary to differentiate between dominant knowledge and universal knowledge and, through this, decolonise the African academy. Acknowledgement of local knowledge can lead to the empowerment of people, but Africanisation of curriculum and knowledge production is needed without essentialising the African. At the dinner I attended, the future role of African universities was debated. The highly ranked African professors around the table were occupied with building centres of excellence in Africa, so the continent could be globally competitive. During the next days of the conference, however, quite a number of the African scholars (not invited to the dinner) argued that global ranking meant little to the average African woman struggling to make ends meet. Those scholars wanted to focus on local relevance and the transformative potential of higher education. I understand them and hope that African universities can join forces in solving the continent’s problems instead of joining the “competition fetish” – maybe through joint forces they can make transformative education which can lead to the empowerment of women and sustainable development?

NOTES 1. The expression is from Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Decolonizing the Mind (1987) in which he explores the dominance of Eurocentric theories and language in African education systems. 2. An example of how this can be done and some of the dilemmas Africanisation entails can be found in Naidoo, Adriansen and Madsen’s (2016) analysis of the teaching at Khanya College in Johannesburg, South Africa. 3. Please refer to Naidoo (2016) for an analysis of the consequences of the “competition fetish” in higher education. 4. Several analyses of capacity-building projects in African higher education can be found in Adriansen, Madsen and Jensen (2016).

REFERENCES 1. Adriansen HK (2016) Can African universities deliver knowledge for ‘Transforming our World’ without decolonizing the academy? Norrag Blog, 20 June. (accessed 1 February 2017). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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2. Adriansen HK, Madsen LM & Jensen S (2016) Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The geography and power of knowledge under changing conditions. Derby: Routledge. 3. Adriansen HK, Mehmood-Ul-Hassan M & Mbow C (2016) “Producing scientific knowledge in Africa today: Autoethnographic insights from a climate change researcher.” In Adriansen HK, Madsen LM & Jensen S (Eds.), Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The geography and power of knowledge under changing conditions (pp 124-146). Derby: Routledge. 4. Brock-Utne B (2002) Whose Education For All? The Recolonization of the African Mind. New York: Falmer Press. 5. Fanon F (1968) The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press. 6. Hountondji PJ (1990) Scientific dependence in Africa today. Research in African Literatures, 21(3): 5-15. 7. Jensen S, Adriansen HK & Madsen LM (2016) “Do ‘African’ universities exist? Setting the scene.” In Adriansen HK, Madsen LM & Jensen S (Eds.), Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The geography and power of knowledge under changing conditions (pp 12-37). Derby: Routledge. 8. Livingstone DN (2012) Reflections on the cultural spaces of climate. Climatic Change, 113(1): 91-93. 9. Mamdani M (1993) University crisis and reform: a reflection on the African experience. Review of African Political Economy, 20(58): 7-19. 10. Naidoo R (2016) The competition fetish in higher education: Varieties, animators and consequences. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1): 1-10.

11. Naidoo R, Adriansen HK & Madsen LM (2016) “Creating an African university: Struggling for a transformational curriculum in apartheid South Africa.” In Adriansen HK, Madsen LM & Jensen S (Eds.), Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The geography and power of knowledge under changing conditions (pp 193-215). Derby: Routledge. 12. Nkambule T (2014) Against all odds: The role of “community cultural wealth” in overcoming challenges as a black African woman. South African Journal of Higher Education, 28(6): 1999-2012. 13. Shiva V (2012) Monocultures of the Mind – Perspectives on Biodiversity and Biotechnology. Penang: Third World Network. 14. Sithole B (2016) “My knowledge, your knowledge, whose knowledge is it? Reflections from a researcher’s journey through universities in North and South.” In Adriansen HK, Madsen LM & Jensen S (Eds.), Higher Education and Capacity Building in Africa: The geography and power of knowledge under changing conditions (pp 171-192). Derby: Routledge. 15. UN (2016) Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. New York: UN. https:// (accessed 31 January 2017). 16. UN-DESA (2016a) Sustainable Development Goal 4. https:// (accessed 31 January 2017). 17. UN-DESA (2016b) Sustainable Development Goal 5. https:// (accessed 31 January 2017). 18. UN-DESA (2016c) Sustainable Development Goal 13. https:// (accessed 1 February 2017). 19. Wa Thiong’o N (1987) Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature. London: Currey.

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THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE as a medium of delivery in education Lazarus M Miti Lazarus Miti is currently Adjunct Professor of Communication and Applied Language Studies at the University of Venda. He holds a PhD in General Linguistics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has taught linguistics at the Universities of Zambia, Swaziland and Venda. Prof. Miti also served as Language Rights Fellow at the OSISA in Johannesburg from 2005 to 2013 and as Deputy Director of the Cape Town-based Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS) from 2013 to 2016. He is the author of four books on linguistics, five novels, several chapters in linguistics publications, and seven interdisciplinary monographs written in Nsenga, a Bantu language spoken in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Prof. Miti’s research interests are in historical and comparative linguistics, phonology, language rights, and the description of African languages.

Introduction Education is crucial in the world’s efforts to realise the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is thus imperative for every country to provide inclusive and equitable education for its citizens. This entails not only that there be adequate schools, relevant curriculums, appropriate and sufficient learning and teaching materials, as well as properly trained teachers, but the language of instruction should also be inclusive. This article discusses factors that impact adversely on the achievement of inclusive and equitable quality education in Southern Africa. These factors include the use of unfamiliar languages in the delivery of education; sexist language use in schools; and cultural beliefs that reinforce the marginalisation of females and of differently-abled persons. The article further recommends measures to be taken to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for every child, regardless of their socio-economic status or gender. The final section briefly describes the role of international languages in Africa.

Language policies in education In Africa, language policies for education are based on official languages inherited from former colonial masters. These official languages in Southern Africa are English in the Anglophone countries, French in the Francophone Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Portuguese in the Lusophone countries Angola and Mozambique. Moreover, even in South Africa, where the constitution states that there are 11 official (and equal) languages (Government of South Africa, 1996, p. 4), in practice, English and Afrikaans remain the dominant official languages. The language of instruction in African countries mirrors the official language policy. Thus, English, French or Portuguese are mostly used in the delivery of education, depending on the country’s colonial history. The use of colonial languages for instruction disadvantages children from families who do not speak these languages. This is particularly challenging in the formative grades of schooling. The choice of the language of instruction in Southern Africa varies from country to country but generally favours the use of colonial languages. This is baffling because it has been empirically established that children learn best


when they are taught in their mother tongue, or at least in a familiar language. Studies on the merits of mother-tongue education date back to 1953 when UNESCO specialists on the use of vernacular languages in education emphasised its importance as follows: It is axiomatic that the best medium for teaching a child is his mother tongue. Psychologically, it is the system of meaningful signs that in his mind works automatically for expression and understanding. Sociologically, it is a means of identification among the members of the community to which he belongs. Educationally, he learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar linguistic medium (UNESCO, 1953, p. 11). African countries that have attempted to implement mother-tongue education have not demonstrated full commitment as they have confined it to the first three or four years of primary school. This is contrary to UNESCO’s (2003, p. 31) recommendation that mother-tongue instruction “should be extended to as late in education as possible.” Southern African countries that have introduced mother-tongue education in the first three, four or five years of schooling include Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In Namibia, some national languages are to be used as languages of instruction from pre-primary to Grade Five (Namibia Ministry of Education, 2014). At the beginning of 2014, Zambia decided to implement a 2013 recommendation for the use of selected indigenous languages for instruction from Grade One to Four (Zambia Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education, 2013). Previously, English was the sole language of instruction from Grade One to the tertiary level in Zambia. In Mozambique, 16 local languages have been used for instruction up to Standard Three since 2003 (UNICEF, 2016). With respect to Zimbabwe, “the closest document on which one can make inferences on language policy is the Zimbabwe Education Act of 1987, Chapter 55” (Khumalo, 2003, p. 175). Zimbabwe’s Education Act (1987) states that Ndebele, Shona or English may be used as a medium of instruction during the first three years of primary school, depending on which language is more commonly spoken and understood by the TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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pupils, while English shall be the medium of instruction from the fourth grade (Khumalo, 2003). Language-of-education policies in other countries are less encouraging. For example, in 2013, the Malawian Government abandoned a draft policy which would have made local languages the medium of instruction during the first four years of primary school. Instead, the Education Act of 2012 was adopted, which stipulates English as the medium of instruction in schools and colleges (Government of Malawi, 2012). In Botswana, Setswana, the national language, has been used only in Standard One since the early 2000s. From Standard Two, English is the only language of instruction (Botswana Government, 1994). The use of English as the medium of delivery in education causes children from homes where English is not commonly spoken to experience challenges, not only when they start school, but throughout their education career. They have difficulty grasping the subject matter because new knowledge is provided in an unfamiliar medium. The situation for the girl-child is more challenging for she faces gender discrimination in addition to linguistic marginalisation.

where it is not alphabetical. For example, “him or her” would better read “her or him” because, alphabetically, the letter “e” comes before “i”. However, even this style is sexist because it places one gender before the other. The sexist use of pronouns arises from the archaic use of the word “man” to refer to a “person” or “human being.” The solution lies in restricting the word “man” to refer to “male person”, and never to both “man” and “woman”, while using the third-person plural pronouns “they/them/their” as gender-neutral singular pronouns, in addition to their regular use. Sexist language is also found in school textbooks in the form of illustrations showing women doing domestic chores such as washing clothes, fetching water from the well, pounding grain, and cooking. In contrast, men are shown reading newspapers, driving buses, or doing tasks that assumingly require physical strength. Other gender stereotypes include the portrayal of boys as “being good at science subjects and taking up related professions, while girls are portrayed as adopting more traditional roles” (Nkhoma, 2011, p. 62). Curriculum developers must ensure that study materials are gender sensitive.

Language use in schools and the plight of the girl-child

Culture, language and gender

The girl-child faces many hurdles in her pursuit of education. Firstly, like her male counterparts, she is faced with an unfamiliar language of instruction. Secondly, she has to put up with adverse forms of language used by her teachers and schoolmates within and outside the classroom. Thirdly, she is demeaned by the language and illustrations used in study materials. Above all, the marginalisation of girls is reinforced by sexist proverbs and idioms in some of the literature. Language used by teachers and peers which perpetuates the marginalisation of the girl-child is found in both colonial and local languages. With regard to English, sexist language appears in small aspects such as the use of pronouns where the masculine gender is used to refer to both males and females. Illustrations of this can be drawn from the 1953 UNESCO statement cited in the previous section. Examples where sexist items are found are reproduced and the keywords italicised below. • the best medium for teaching a child is his mother tongue; • the system of meaningful signs that in his mind works automatically; • the community to which he belongs; • he learns more quickly through it (UNESCO, 1953, p. 11). The above examples create the impression that education is not meant for girls but for boys alone. Sexist language used by teachers is particularly harmful to the girl-child as she listens to the teachers every school day. Moreover, learners are expected to take their teachers’ pronouncements seriously as they are assumed to be knowledgeable and beyond reproach. Some speakers and writers use phrases such as “he or she”, “him or her”, and “his or hers”. These expressions are sexist as, in each case, the masculine pronoun is mentioned first, even

The sexist use of pronouns is also prevalent in other Indo-European languages. In contrast, pronouns in Bantu languages are gender neutral. For example, the pronoun given in each of the following languages refers to “her” or “him”: yena (in all Nguni and Sotho/Tswana languages); ene (in Venda); iye (in Nyanja); and yeve (in Nsenga). However, sexist use of pronouns exists in some Bantu languages where they signal power relations. For example, in Nsenga, the equivalent of the singular pronoun “you” is wewo, while the plural “you” is mwewo. Unlike English, the Nsenga plural “you” (mwewo) can be used in addressing one person as a form of respect or reverence. Thus, a boy addresses his father as mwewo (plural “you”) to show respect, while a father addresses his son as wewo (singular “you”) as a sign of authority. Similarly, any child addresses any adult as mwewo, whereas any adult addresses any child as wewo. Traditionally, this is extended to husbands and wives. Like a child, a woman is traditionally expected to address her husband as mwewo in respect, whereas a man is expected to address his wife as wewo to signify his authority over her. Another example is from Lozi, a language spoken in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. This language distinguishes between the pronouns wena (singular “you”) and mina (plural “you”), where mina signifies respect (Lubinda, 2014, p. 256). It is sexist for a husband to address his wife as wena, while a wife is expected to address her husband as mina. Such cultural practices must be discontinued. Couples teaching in the same school could directly be reinforcing this sexist use of pronouns if the female teacher addresses her husband with a pronoun signifying her reverence, while the male teacher addresses his wife with a pronoun signifying his authority. The ideal is for husbands and wives to use pronouns which signify mutual respect.

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THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE as a medium of delivery in education

Besides sexist language use, girls’ education is also adversely affected by the use of proverbs, idioms and folktales which perpetuate their marginalisation by training them to be submissive and subservient to men and boys. As Nkhoma (2011) proposes, governments must work with custodians of culture to ensure that customs and traditions that are detrimental to girls’ education are abolished.

Language, gender and disability We have noted above that children who do not know English, French or Portuguese are disadvantaged when they start school. Furthermore, girls are more disadvantaged than boys as they experience two forms of discrimination. The situation is more severe for the girl-child who is differently-abled, for example, in the case of a girl who is deaf. The challenge for such a child is not just that she does not know English, but that she does not know any spoken language since her only means of communication is Sign Language (if she has been taught Sign Language). Moreover, not many teachers know Sign Language. As Chindimba (2011, p. 99) puts it, “girls with disabilities are likely to find access to education more limited than girls in general, and in turn their opportunities for employment.” Even when they get a place in school, the quality of education deaf girls receive is relatively poor due to the communication barrier between them and their teachers, as Chindimba and Hara argue later in this issue. What further frustrates the deaf girl-child is the language used in referring to her. In many African languages, the word for a deaf person takes a prefix used in words that refer to non-humans such as ci- in Nyanja, isi- in Zulu, and xi- in Tsonga. Derogative terms must be replaced with ones that the Deaf themselves prefer. Furthermore,


teachers must be taught Sign Language and should be trained to use it in teaching the Deaf. The Deaf are not the only differently-abled persons disadvantaged by education systems in Southern Africa. Equally marginalised groups include the visually challenged, the physically challenged, and persons with albinism. Special reference is made to the Deaf in this article only because their situation has direct relevance to language use which is the main theme of the present discussion. What is common for all differently-abled persons is that women and girls face more challenges than their male counterparts.

The development of indigenous African languages One of the reasons given by those who are against the use of indigenous African languages in the delivery of education is that the languages are not developed enough. Although this is currently true, the fact is that African languages are developable, and it is the responsibility of governments to ensure that their languages are developed. Stages in the development of African languages include the following: • Standardisation and harmonisation of orthographies; • Production of grammatical descriptions of African languages; • Production of monolingual dictionaries in African languages; and • Development of specialised terminology in African languages for various professions. These activities are already being undertaken by research centres such as the Cape Town-based Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), the Centre for the Promotion of Literacy in sub-Saharan Africa (CAPOLSA) based in the Department of Psychology at the University TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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of Zambia, and by other universities such as the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Malawi and the University of Zimbabwe. Besides producing original texts in African languages, indigenous knowledge which exists only in oral forms should be written down and published. In the course of recording this indigenous knowledge, aspects that are harmful to women and girls should be dropped altogether. Once written down, indigenous knowledge found in one African language should be translated into other African languages. In this manner, Africans from different linguistic groups will share knowledge. They will also become aware of similarities in their beliefs which will, in turn, lead to greater inter-ethnic and international cooperation.

The role of European languages It is often argued that Africans should study European languages, such as English and French, because they are international languages used in commerce, governance and international relations. Although this is true, it does not mean that these languages should be used in the delivery of education. English and other European languages should be taught properly as subjects from as early as the first or second grade but need not be languages of instruction for learners with other home languages. English and the so-called modern languages have roles to play which the indigenous African languages do not fulfil yet. However, these colonial languages cannot totally replace African languages because African indigenous knowledge is conceived in and conveyed through the indigenous languages. Furthermore, what are today international languages may not be international forever. As the economies and international power of more countries grow, Africa will have to teach the languages of the emerging world powers. Already, a number of African countries have started teaching Chinese in their universities. It would not make pedagogical sense for Africa to introduce Chinese as a language of instruction in schools in addition to English, French or Portuguese.

Conclusion Article 26 of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, in part, that “Everyone has the right to education” and that “Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages” (UN, 1949). This right to education is enshrined in the bill of rights of many African countries. However, even if education is made free and compulsory, where it is delivered in an unfamiliar language, it is not possible to achieve universal primary and secondary education, let alone affordable vocational training and access to higher education envisaged in SDG 4 because those for whom the language of delivery is unfamiliar will not receive good quality education and are likely to drop out. This article has shown that, while all those children for whom the language of instruction is unfamiliar face challenges in education, girl-children are more disadvantaged than their male counterparts. Furthermore, girls who are differently-abled, such as the Deaf and

those with albinism, face more hurdles. The author recommends that the mother tongue or the most familiar language should be used in the delivery of education, at least in the formative years of education. It is further recommended that indigenous African languages be developed for them to function not only as languages of instruction, but also for development in general.

REFERENCES 1. Chindimba A (2011) The place of women with disabilities in the feminist movements. Buwa! A Journal on African Women’s Experiences, 1(2): 98-100. 2. Government of Botswana (1994) The Revised Policy on Education. Gaborone: Government Printer. 3. Government of Malawi (2012) Education Bill of 2012. Malawi Government Gazette Supplement 26, November. Lilongwe: Government Printer. 4. Government of South Africa (1996) The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa: Act 108 of 1996. Pretoria: Government Printer. 5. Khumalo L (2003) “Nguni Languages in development: Their status and role.” In Chebanne A, Jokweni M, Mokitimi MI & Ngubane S (Eds.) Unifying Southern African Languages: Harmonization and Standardization (pp 173-185). CASAS: Cape Town. 6. Lubinda J (2014) “A contrastive study of pronouns of solidarity and power in Silozi and French: A pragmatic and sociolinguistic perspective.” In Khumalo L (Ed.) African Languages and Linguistic Theory: A Festschrift in Honour of Professor Herbert Chimhundu (pp 247-267). CASAS: Cape Town. 7. Namibia Ministry of Education (2014) Draft policy for schools in Namibia. August. (unpublished). 8. Nkhoma WG (2011) Girls’ education: Key to development. Buwa! A Journal on African Women’s Experiences, 1(2): 59-63. 9. UN (1949) Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.jus. a4.pdf (accessed 28 November 2016). 10. UNESCO (2003) Education in a multilingual world. UNESCO education position paper. UNESCO, Paris. http://unesdoc.unesco. org/images/0012/001297/129728e.pdf (accessed 28 November 2016). 11. UNESCO (1953) The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education: Monographs on Fundamental Education. UNESCO: Paris. 12. UNICEF (2016) The impact of language policy and practice on children’s learning: Evidence from Eastern and Southern Africa. Mozambique country review. UNICEF(2016)LanguageandLearning-FullReport(SingleView).pdf (accessed 6 January 2017). 13. Zambia Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education (2013) Zambia Education Curriculum Framework 2013. Curriculum Development Centre (CDC): Lusaka.

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FEMINIST PEDAGOGY: Unpacking the reality and building towards a new model of education for women and girls in Zimbabwe Grace Ruvimbo Chirenje Grace Chirenje is a growing feminist leader from Harare, Zimbabwe. Her background is in the humanities. She holds an Honours degree in African Languages and Culture, and a Masters in Leadership and Management. She is currently studying towards her PhD in Gender, Feminism and Sexualities with a minor in Leadership. Grace’s passion is working with women and girls and helping them reach their full potential. Grace is known for her magnanimity, energy and strong dedication to life and her work in all its facets. She is also a writer, mother, wife, sister and talk-show host. She works hard to juggle her athletic and relaxation activities with her work, research and role as a black African feminist leader. Twitter handle: @graceruvimbo

Introduction During the month of June 2016, I came across a very interesting website, the Global Change Lab (n.d.) which has online “training bits” for activists around the world. What struck the chords of my soul was a discussion of training on feminist pedagogy and women’s learning experiences. It became apparent why I had always struggled with mathematics and science subjects during my high school years – no one considered my ways of learning at all and so I have had to deal with years of “numerical trauma”. What is key to this realisation is that, if education is going to become meaningful to women and girls’ lived realities, there is a need to feminise the school system and make it work for women and girls so that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 becomes more of a reality than a mirage. The SDGs are a welcome strategy for furthering development around the world. Dobriansky (2006), reflecting on the just-ended MDGs, explains that, in spite of the progress made, only one-sixth of the world’s population is literate and more than half of those still in dire need of literacy are women. This causes many challenges as women have, since time immemorial, held major roles in educating society and facilitating the progress of humanity. This article focuses on the critical aspects of education bringing feminist pedagogy to the centre of education. The author considers education from the viewpoint of women and girl’s experiences with feminist pedagogy at the centre of education and learning. The author will explore a definition of what a feminist pedagogy education for women is, and how it has a great influence in not only educating women and girls but also in facilitating agency by having women as key drivers of education and development. This article will also include recommendations on the way forward in developing education systems that include feminist pedagogy and place women at the centre of SDG 4.

Defining feminist pedagogy and its roots In the early 1990s, I kept questioning the person I was and my intellectual capacity. I achieved high marks in all the arts-related subjects but, when it came to the numerical or scientific subjects, my mind some-


how shut down. Today, I know it is because of the lack of feminist pedagogy as part of the principles of education, which should be intended to help me as the learner. But, what is feminist pedagogy? According to Bowker and Dunkin (1992, p. 261), feminist pedagogy is: a way of being, knowing, and acting that intends empowerment rather than oppression by power; validation of race, class, and gender dynamics that create valued difference but not oppressive hierarchy; and recognition of the meritorious complexities of various ideologies. In addition our feminist perspective honors the personal as a way of knowing, giving credence to thought, feelings, and experience. Feminist pedagogy is deeply engrained in the learner or community of learners, which is at the centre of redefining what traditional learning or education entails. It is about clearly acknowledging women and girls’ lived realities when it comes to them getting a lasting education. This means that, for today’s classrooms to be meaningful in addressing development and have women and girls at the forefront, they must be part of defining their own learning journey. It is about facilitating the development of alternative models of education that ensure women bring their whole selves into the education space and facilitate their growth as a whole person. This is basically what defines feminist pedagogy. If this had been the case with me as a young learner, it would have been phenomenal indeed! But, before digging deeper into the different aspects of feminist pedagogy principles, where this notion and ideology emanate from, as well as what the key proponents of the ideology, must be discussed. Feminist pedagogy stems from critical theories such the Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) and Pedagogy of Indignation (2004) by Paulo Freire. Freire (2004, p. 15) believed that: education makes sense because women and men learn that through learning they can make and remake themselves, because women and men are able to take responsibility for themselves TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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as beings capable of knowing — of knowing that they know and knowing that they don’t. Freire (1970, p. 77) is also known for his disdain of what he called the “banking” concept of education – discussed in more detail in Dr Connie Nshemereirwe’s article in this issue – in which a student is viewed as an empty “account” waiting to be filled by the teacher. He said that it “transforms students into receiving objects” and “attempts to control thinking and action, leading men and women to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power” (ibid). Feminist pedagogy, therefore, postulates that no one is an empty vessel waiting to be filled by the “expert” educator, as women can actually make a distinct contribution to their own learning and education. Manicom (1992) argues that the distinctive qualities of feminist pedagogy are the tradition of focusing on gendered subjects, and the opening of taboo topics for discussion. It is, at its core, about the feminist critique. Brown (1992) and Sandell (1991) argue that feminist educators utilise new approaches that replace old paradigms, they focus on personal experiences being brought to the fore as lessons, and they recognise the true learning context. These new methodologies of learning facilitate the learner’s empowerment of the self, build community bonds, and, therefore, also build personal leadership (Brown, 1992; Sandell, 1991). If women and girls are to become part of transforming their own and others’ lived realities, they need an educational experience that will facilitate their critical thinking through building political consciousness at many levels. Giroux (2013) argues that feminist pedagogy shares certain characteristics with critical pedagogy, but that feminist pedagogy has an explicit foundation in feminism. It is argued that, like all forms of critical pedagogy, feminist pedagogy aims to help students “develop consciousness of freedom, recognise authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action”(ibid). It can be further argued that the uniqueness of feminist pedagogy is its emphasis on gender and how this plays out in the education system. From the discussion above, based on the work of various scholars who have propounded theories on feminist pedagogy, I have come to better understand my challenges in numerical and science subjects. I was never at the centre of my learning. I was “an empty subject”, and the teachers would bank their knowledge with me. I would simply regurgitate what I had learnt come exam time. I never had the zeal or passion for transforming my life or that of others with the kind of education I received. Neither were other learners a healthy part of this educational journey. I struggled through these subjects, and there was not much support from the other learners whose goal was also, generally, to achieve good marks in their exams. If development is to be sustainable and meaningful to the women’s human rights development discourse propounded by SDG 4, a shift in the way education is viewed and supported is necessary. This includes looking at the

various notions of feminist pedagogy and making them a reality in women’s lived experiences and then perpetuating their existence in the different educational arenas.

Feminist pedagogy principles: Their interaction with Zimbabwe’s education system and the SGDs From a broad analysis of Webb, Walker and Bollis (2004), Shrewsbury (1987) and Walker (2002), it seems that there are six basic principles of feminist pedagogy. These are “reformation of the relationship between professor and student, empowerment, building community, privileging [the individual] voice, respecting the diversity of personal experience, and challenging traditional pedagogical notions” (Walker, 2002). Each one of these principles contributes to the co-creation and collaboration of the learning experience, which is what contemporary feminist pedagogy is all about. If the Zimbabwean educational system and SDG 4 are going to be transformational and revolutionary for women and girls and their developmental course, there is need to urgently implement feminist pedagogy. Each of the principles from Walker (2002) is reviewed below as well as what they mean for, and how they are linked to, women and girl’s learning and development. The main focus is the lived realities of women and girls in Zimbabwe. The principles are also considered relation to other author’s thoughts on them. 1. Reformation of the relationship between teacher and student Christie, (1997, p. 148) argues that: a classroom based on feminist pedagogy is a community of learners where power is shared and where participatory democratic processes help learners develop independence… an active, collaborative classroom where risk-taking is encouraged; where intellectual excitement abounds; and where power is viewed as energy, capacity, and potential, rather than domination. This means that, if Zimbabwe’s education system is to be relevant to the realities of women, teachers need to understand the notions of sharing power with their students. The notion of the teacher having absolute power does not contribute to the effectiveness of learning and the environment thereof. Imagine transforming classrooms in Zimbabwe and across Africa so that women and girls are able to view the teacher as an equal in that the latter merely holds space for learning and sees the female learners as co-creators in the class, and not as “subjects” that they merely communicate knowledge to. This goes beyond the classroom to transforming the way teachers are trained to teach. If only my teachers had viewed my learning of

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FEMINIST PEDAGOGY: Unpacking the reality and building towards a new model of education for women and girls in Zimbabwe

numerical subjects in this way instead of exerting more power and pressure. If they shared some of their power with me, and better understood my internal battles and my journey, the learning process would have been more effective. This could have been a powerful means of aiding my learning. Teachers ought not to be feared or to exude all the power in their classrooms. They can work with the girls and women by inviting the former to share their insights, views and experiences so that they too become a source of their own power and share the teacher’s power as they learn. Foss and Griffin (1995, p. 10) sum this up beautifully when they explain that the teacher should seek to communicate a relationship of equality, respect, and appreciation that creates three conditions in interactions with learners: safety, value and freedom. 2. Empowerment Stanton (1996, pp 45-46) argues that teachers should have a “midwife” type of role in the classroom and facilitate women and girls’ subjective learning. Empowerment is about women being able to gain an education that provides them with the necessary tools to transform theirs and others’ lived realities. Walker (2002) notes the following: Education either functions as an instrument facilitating students’ integration and conformity into the logic of the present system, or it becomes “the practice of freedom” teaching men and women to deal critically and creatively with reality and to learn to participate in transforming their world. Lather (1991) reiterates this point, suggesting that the whole pedagogical situation needs to be recognised for what it is – the teacher is not a neutral transmitter, neither is the student passive, while the knowledge is not immutable material to impart. Women and girls in Zimbabwe have occupied the periphery of the development discourse for too long. This can be attributed to many factors and patriarchy is at the centre of this. Men, normally old (or aged), lead the development discourse, which started in the education system and can be traced back to the pre-1980 colonial era. Lather (1991) reiterates this point, suggesting that the whole pedagogical situation needs to be recognised for what it is – the teacher is not a neutral transmitter, neither is the student passive, while the knowledge is not immutable material to impart. With feminist pedagogy, women have the opportunity to find redress and experience what an empowering education actually is.


The kind of education empowerment advocated for in this article is one where women and girls are at the centre of their learning and are able to gain insight and knowledge as tools to transform the status quo. This is necessary for building a new reality where women question and challenge the status quo and where they can contribute to ensuring a new model of education and learning. This is about the Zimbabwean education system realising that, in order to become empowering, it must facilitate women and girls’ empowerment so that they become thought leaders and implementers in the world. This will be realised through their ways of knowing and facilitating their empowerment in the education sphere. SDG 4 could support this notion by holding countries accountable through measuring its impact on the lived reality of women and girls. Some of the technical jargon utilised in assessing the progress of countries in their educational systems and means of doing things at a global and national level perpetuates abusive and non-transforming institutional structures, as is the current case in point. After all – as noted by UNISA – education is one of the key vehicles of socialisation and, through its formal and non-formal processes; knowledge, habits, attitudes and values are transmitted to create conformity with the status quo. We are not out to enhance, but to transform the status quo and the related systems need to understand this in order to make SDG 4 and education in Zimbabwe more meaningful for both women and men. 3. Building community Feminist pedagogy is about building community and cooperation within the classroom, as well as between the classroom and its broader environment. Gawelek, Mulqueen and Tarule (1994, p. 182) explain that “Collaborative learning assumes that learning occurs through relationships and dialogue; and collaborative learning assumes the learner to be active in her or his own meaning-making and to be a knower in her or his own right.” This also means that the learner is not an empty vessel or a blank slate, but that they have something to give, to gift, to offer to fellow learners and the teacher as well. This knowledge is essential outside the classroom and may also be obtained outside the classroom. Treichler and Kramarae (1983, p. 126) substantiate the need for community building by highlighting that “A collaborative floor gives an individual speaker some power over the meaning of words, not usually available to those in a hierarchy who are least powerful and typically muted.” This means that bringing experiential learning to the fore in a learning environment aids in women and girls’ deconstruction of the knowledge and in their ability to grasp concepts, new ideas and notions that they will utilise as individuals. Shrewsbury (1987, p. 9) supports the feminist pedagogy principle of building community through collaboration in which “students integrate the skills of critical thinking with respect for and ability to work with others.” Women and girls will understand the notion of building community and this is very useful in their role as caregivers and agents of socialisation at many levels. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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This will also be useful if role-play and practical aspects of schooling are utilised. Bright (1993, cited in Walker, 2002) explains that the “philosophy of education is that people learn by doing” and Walker (ibid) supports this idea by adding that “Indeed, collaborating on tasks and projects helps create a learning community.” This is a critical insight for developing a community of learning in educational systems that will help women and girls support each other and build a community of learning and knowledge support base even outside the classroom. This is important if we are to walk together in a progressive and coherent Zimbabwean society and in other African societies equally. The Zimbabwean education system is quite competitive, and this has proven to be negative in as far as building a healthy learning and broader community. Christian leaders in Zimbabwe have argued that stable and progressive nations are built on healthy families and healthy socialisation at the family level. Women and girls, from time immemorial, have been known to be very active agents in socialising the community and, in order to build healthy communities, a healthy education that promotes the building of the community is critical. Walker (2002) states that “Developing a community of growth and caring is key in critical/feminist education” for this enables the development of individuals who will, in turn, build healthy communities. The Holistic Educator (n.d.) argues that: Feminist pedagogy emphasizes the importance of respect for the differences among all people... [It] is based on principles of collective liberation and humanization as the basis for social justice. As a truly “innovative” method and pedagogy of “non-traditional”

education, feminist pedagogy has the effect of liberating the learner from the authoritarian role of the teacher, the curriculum and the institution. It encourages the learner to have the freedom to develop self-discipline, engage in self-directed learning, and achieve spiritual maturity or “self-actualisation”. As an innovative pedagogy of liberation in education, feminist pedagogy can lead to the person’s full humanization and to the humanization of society. As this is the aim of education, then it can be considered as valuable pedagogy for the education of children. In light of this, it is essential to remember that education in Zimbabwe (and in line with SGD 4) can only be transformative when integrated into the evaluation of progress in education. Unless and until this happens for women and girls, enhancing societies through their participation, agency and education will not be possible. 4. Privileging the individual voice I remember a reflective conversation I had with one of my friends who assumed that those who participated in class were “teacher’s pets” while those, like herself, who had to be drawn out to participate, were “cool” but often felt left out. This conversation came to mind as a learning point when unpacking the principle of “privileging the voice” in feminist pedagogy. Walker (2002) explains that: Voice need not be reserved for oral performance courses; rather, the unique voice of each student in any classroom affords a path

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to knowledge and a methodology for instruction. Students can be encouraged to emerge into the public space, speak for themselves, and bring their own questions and issues to the material they are studying. Barr (1999, p. 115) notes that feminist pedagogy seeks to help women speak in their different individual voices, and to create spaces for listening to what women’s silence has to say. So it is about understanding that, even in their silence in education spaces, women are speaking, and it is the role of the educator to understand silence as a voice and work with the very individual to deconstruct that voice as a form of enhancing women and girls’ education. In classrooms this notion of how women utilise their voice needs to be politicised for it to be meaningful. Belenky (1986, pp 23-34) states that many women who fit into this category of silence have been, or continue to be, abused, and they have not yet had an opportunity to work through these experiences. Often, their silence may be the closest they can come to a cry for help. For example, other learners seemed surprised that I would be an active participant in arts classes and yet silent in science subject classes. I was struggling internally with my own learning journey, but that was never unpacked with the educator’s help. As I was writing this article, I had the privilege to sit in one of the schools and observe this notion of voice. I asked a young sister why she had been so quiet and even failed to participate despite the teacher trying to draw her out. She confided in me that she was actually pre-occupied at that time because her menstruation had suddenly taken onset and she was concerned she might soil her school uniform and be ridiculed for it. I understood right then how women and girls lived

I asked a young sister why she had been so quiet and even failed to participate despite the teacher trying to draw her out. She confided in me that she was actually pre-occupied at that time because her menstruation had suddenly taken onset and she was concerned she might soil her school uniform and be ridiculed for it. realities become a source of their inner conflict and affect their voice in a classroom set up. Unless an educator can facilitate by making the space safe enough for women to explore their innermost realities, then the classroom may even become a place of violation. There is nothing wrong with physiological responses as far as women’s bodies are concerned. It is, however, important to make the spaces for education safe enough for women and girls to voice their realities without fear because, after all, “the personal is political” (Siegal, 2001). Learning is more than interaction with learning materials, but also how a woman or girl’s lived reality interacts with the materials as well as how her


voice is utilised in relation to this notion of education. In as much as it might not be related to the education material, it is very important to a woman or girl’s learning and how her voice is used in the learning process. Gawelek et al. (1994, p. 181) explain that “Thinking about voice in teaching leads one to be concerned with how students feel about speaking up in class, about sharing their thinking out loud.” They further note that “Voice is the ‘currency’ of the academy – in lectures, writing, discussions, doctoral committees, and in faculty meetings. If the only voice heard is the instructor’s, the students are deprived of a primary and critical way of knowing” (ibid). This goes further than merely hearing the voice, but it also entails understanding the voice, especially and including the silence. It entails considerations of how best to support women and girls so as to aid learning and education, as Barr (1999) also discusses. On this feminist pedagogy principle on voice, it is essential for authorities in the education system of Zimbabwe and beyond, and those spearheading SDG 4 across the globe, to understand what Belenky (1986, pp 23-34) says on women’s voices and education: Women perceive themselves as mindless and voiceless – their voice is replaced by the voice of whichever external authority is present. For them, authorities are all-powerful, and in order to survive they blindly obey and allow the “other” to shape their choices. They are isolated from others and do not seek nor find opportunities for dialogue with others. There is little awareness of the power of language for sharing thoughts and insights. It is, therefore, essential to formulate new models of education that understand these realities of women and girls’ and seek to redress them for the betterment of education and women’s development discourse. This also means taking into account how women’s personal issues become political in the learning environments. 5. Respect for diversity of personal experience Learners are not a homogenous group, and each member of the learning community brings to the classroom a set of experiences and lived realities that they harness in their learning process and also in sharing learning with others. Parry (1996, p. 47) explains that feminist pedagogy affirms the value of personal experience as a central component of learning. The Holistic Educator (n.d.) website says the following of women’s lived realities and experiences: Women of the early consciousness raising groups were aware that their perceptions were devalued. They explored their own experiences and feelings as sources of “true” knowledge. They claimed that people can come to an understanding of their own power to make social change if they first understand their own experiences TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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and their feelings which are the source of the knowledge of one’s humanness. The human capacity to feel is the basis of the vision of a humanized society. Under the feminist pedagogy principle of building community, the above assertion would also ring true. With regard to the principle of respect for the diversity of personal experiences, it is critical to emphasise that women’s lives are actually part of aiding their learning. These personal experiences may be directly or indirectly linked to the actual educational experience. However, what is of paramount importance is that although these personal experiences are diverse, they are, nevertheless, very real to each learner and ways to make them part of a syllabus can be explored. I recall during my A Levels in Zimbabwe, one of my teachers used to come into class and rant about menstrual cramps (Dysmenorrhea), saying it is nothing serious. She said that whoever did experience such pains should kick a ball around instead of missing class. I was shocked because, as a young girl, I used to faint each month and wake up in bed as a result of menstrual pain. This happened each month consistently, and it was the most excruciating pain I ever experienced up to this day. I am sure my reality is common to many other women and girls. I have been witness to this reality as women and girls share their stories of pain and suffering. The diversity of women’s experiences implicates that the teacher not impose a certain reality, whether personal or otherwise, on the learner, but allow the learner to define her own reality and link it to the learning experience. The same notion applies to the girl whose voice was silent in the above example. An educator could assume it is a personality trait and that she is shy. However, on further inquiry, the educator may discover it is not really the case. I have just

used these two examples, but there are many which could be mentioned. I am sure, dear reader, you have come across your very own. In her analysis of this principle, Schoeman (2015, p. 5) emphasises that: Feminist theory also privileges personal lived experiences as the basis for analysis, theory generation, activism, and research, and which results in positive outcomes such as increased respect, enhanced empathy, improved critical thinking skills, and a broader understanding of truths. The example above of a personal lived experience is worth taking into account if a learner is to be comfortable and achieve actualisation in the classroom and the world at large. This is critical for enhancing the success of SDG 4 and also for transforming how education is attained in a context like Zimbabwe. At the SDG 4 level, the powers that be, which include the Zimbabwean governments and various UN monitoring bodies, could explore how best to track women and girls’ education to ensure that it is both qualitatively and quantitatively fair. It is not merely about the classroom experience, but also about the personal becoming highly political. It is about the girls and women bringing to the fore of their learning whatever personal experiences they are or have had and using these experiences to aid in their learning. 6. Challenging traditional views Webb et al. (2004) postulate that this feminist pedagogy principle is about revealing the social and political origins of theory. This entails questioning the ways information is generated and how meaning is

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FEMINIST PEDAGOGY: Unpacking the reality and building towards a new model of education for women and girls in Zimbabwe

drawn for women. It is not just about respecting the authority, but unpacking them at many levels so as to understand why individuals think the way they do. This feminist pedagogy principle is premised on the previous five principles. Walker (2002) argues that, in this principle, “feminist teachers challenge the origins of ideas and theories, the positions of their promoters, and the factors influencing how knowledge comes to exist in its present form.” Moreover, feminist pedagogy challenges the notion that knowledge and teaching methods can be value free. Scering (1997) adds that “Schools reproduce and reinforce the social construction of gender through the dichotomization of nurturance and autonomy, public and private, and masculine and feminine.” It is critical to follow a process in which the women and girls can question, contest and challenge the societal norms and values. This facilitates the learning of women and girls and also the development and establishment of new models of education and ways of knowing. Education in Zimbabwe has always followed a model in which authority is centralised on the teacher who is the expert and treats learners as empty vessels. For too long, only minor transformation has happened in the Zimbabwe education sector, which has inherited the colonial syllabi as an anchor for learning. Despite the many changes the current Minister of Education has sought to effect, feminist pedagogy remains a pipe dream. Education is in the hands of a structural government and, in order for there to be transformation, insight into feminist poststructuralist theories in as far as feminist pedagogy is concerned is urgently needed. Weedon (1987, cited in Schoeman, 2015, p. 3) argues that the two cannot be separated and explains that feminist poststructuralism: uses poststructuralist theories of language, subjectivity, social processes and institutions to understand existing power relations


and identify areas and strategies for change. The fundamental aspects of feminist post-structuralism(s) that are applicable to this study are the poststructuralism theories of language, subjectivity, power and agency.1 Unless this principle of challenging traditional views is incorporated into education in contemporary Zimbabwe, women and girls education will perpetuate the same rhetoric and fall short of meeting essential learner needs. Without doing so, education in Zimbabwe and beyond will fail to enhance the development discourse propounded by SDG 4. Traditional views need to be challenged so that women and girls harness their energy to develop a new education model.

Going forward: Ideas for a new model of education for women and girls Having defined feminist pedagogy and unpacked how it is linked to the current realities of women and girls in Zimbabwe and SDG 4, we will now consider how best to move forward to see the current reality transformed for women and girls. I suggest a few key steps be followed and that the six highlighted principles underpinning feminist pedagogy be fully adopted. The UN needs to monitor the implementation of SDG 4 by governments, and how feminist pedagogy as a tool of measurement is being implemented. This will ensure that this development track is both quantitative and qualitative. The process must delve into what education is and means for women and girls. The above will help make it more robust and holistic, and more likely to transform women and girls’ lives for the betterment of the development discourse. Nothing stays the same forever. Education systems need to be overhauled to include principles of feminist pedagogy if they are to be TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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meaningful to women and girls’ agency as thought leaders. Governments and the UN system, especially as they pertain to SDG 4, have to consider feminist pedagogy in their structural realities so that the tracking and implementation of education infuse these principles and a fair assessment of women and girls’ education can be given. You and I can begin that journey by doing whatever we can to lobby and advocate for this.

NOTES 1. To unpack these notions further, see Schoeman’s (2015) original research on “Feminist pedagogy as a new initiative in the education of South African teachers” (more details in the reference list).

REFERENCES 1. Barr J (1999) Liberating Knowledge: Research, feminism, and adult education. National Institute of Adult Continuing Education: Leicester, UK. 2. Belenky MF (1986) Women’s Ways of Knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. Basic Books: New York. 3. Bowker JK & Dunkin PR (1992) “Enacting feminism in the teaching of communication.” In Perry LAM, Turner LH & Sterk HM (Eds). Constructing and Reconstructing Gender: The links among communication, language, and gender (pp 261-265). State University of New York Press: Albany. 4. Brown J (1992) Theory or practice – What exactly is feminist pedagogy? The Journal of General Education, 41: 51-63. 5. Chicago J (2002) No Compromise: Lessons in Feminist Art with Judy Chicago. WTIU documentary. (accessed 24 January 2017). 6. Christie AA (1997) Using e-mail within a classroom based on feminist pedagogy. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 30: 146-176. 7. Dobriansky P (2006) The education of girls in the developing world. Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs’ remarks at UN headquarters, New York, 25 September. https://2001-2009. (accessed 15 February 2017). 8. Foss SK & Griffin CL (1995) Beyond persuasion: A proposal for an invitational rhetoric. Communication Monographs, 62: 2-18. (accessed 24 January 2017). 9. Freire P (2004) Pedagogy of Indignation. Paradigm: Boulders, Colorado. 10. Freire P (1970) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum: New York. 11. Gawelek MA, Mulqueen M & Tarule JM (1994) “Woman to women: Understanding the needs of our female students.” In Deats SM & Lenker LT (Eds). Gender and Academe: Feminist pedagogy and politics (pp 179-198). Rowman & Littlefield: Lanham, MD.

12. Giroux HA (2010) Lessons to be learned From Paulo Freire as education is being taken over by the mega rich. University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. node/47936 (accessed 24 January 2017). 13. Global Change Lab (n.d.) Training bits. http://www. (accessed 13 February 2017). 14. Holistic Educator (n.d.) Feminist pedagogy as liberatory pedagogy. htm (accessed 24 January 2017). 15. Lather P (1991) Feminist Research in Education: Within/Against. Deakin University Press: Geelong, Australia. 16. Manicom A (1992) Feminist pedagogy: Transformations, standpoints, and politics. Canadian Journal of Education, 17(3): 365-389. 17. Middlecamp CH & Subramaniam B (1999) What is feminist pedagogy? Useful ideas for teaching chemistry. Journal of Chemical Education, 76: 520-525. 18. Parry SC (1996) Feminist pedagogy and techniques for the changing classroom. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 24(3&4): 4554. 19. Pryse M (1999) Defining Women’s Studies scholarship: A statement of the National Women’s Studies Association Task Force on faculty roles and rewards. NWSA, Baltimore, June. pdf (accessed 24 January 2017). 20. Sandell R (1991) The liberating relevance of feminist pedagogy. Studies in Art Education, 32(3): 178-187. 21. Scering GE (1997). Themes of a critical/feminist pedagogy: Teacher education for democracy. Journal of Teacher Education, 48: 62-68. 22. Schoeman S (2015) Feminist pedagogy as a new initiative in the education of South African teachers. Koers, 80(4): 1-9. http:// (accessed 24 January 2017). 23. Shrewsbury CM (1987) Feminist pedagogy. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 15(3/4): 6-14. 24. Siegal DL (2001) “The Personal is Political”: Travels of a slogan in second and third wave feminism. University of WisconsinMadison: Madison, WI. 25. Treichler PA & Kramarae C (1983) Women’s talk in the ivory tower. Communication Quarterly, 31: 118-132. 26. Walker KL (2002) Feminist pedagogy: Identifying basic principles. (The scholarship of teaching and learning). Academic Exchange Quarterly, 22 March. (accessed 24 January 2017). 27. Webb LM, Walker KL & Bollis TS (2004) Feminist pedagogy in the teaching of research methods. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 7(5): 415-428.

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THE GENDERED INTERFACE between education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Prospects and pitfalls Hilda Makamure Hilda Makamure is a public policy and communications strategist and has a Masters in Public Policy and Governance. She is a trained journalist and she has worked mostly in health research. Her previous work concerned the youth and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Hilda’s research interests have been shaped by her experiences as a woman living in the social, economic and political realities of Zimbabwe and by the more recent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 17 on fostering partnerships for the upliftment of Zimbabweans. She is also an avid runner. “Countries that invest in the education of women do better in a variety of development indicators. In fact, educating girls is one of the wisest investments any developing country can make” – Rosalyn McKeown (2004).

Introduction This article analyses the gendered interface between education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discusses the opportunities, constraints and implications for the role that women can play in the achievement of the SDGs on the continent. The SDGs were adopted in September 2015 by the UN member states under a resolution popularly known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 goals are designed as a follow-up agenda to build on the achievements of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (2000-2015). In recognising the complex relationship between the environment, the economy and society, or the three Ps (people, planet and profit), the SDGs are founded on the realisation that “human activity has come to play a central and threatening role in the fundamental earth dynamics” (Sachs, 2012, pp 2206-7). In an attempt to balance the demands of unmet aspirations for human progress and economic development on one end, and the planet’s boundaries on the other, a new framework of thinking is viewed as a prerequisite by Greggs et al. (2013). Key to this framework are education systems which recognise the demands of and for this balance. Prior to the 2015 MDGs deadline, several policies on education were developed in preparation for the post-2015 global policy agenda. These included the Muscat Agreement (2014) which reaffirmed the importance of education post-2015 and reiterated the need for education that “should take a holistic and lifelong learning approach, and provide multiple pathways of learning using innovative methods and information and communication technologies” (UNESCO, 2014, p. 2). In May 2015, the education community at the World Education Forum adopted the Education 2030 Incheon Declaration by “recognizing the important role of education as a main driver of development and in achieving the other proposed SDGs” (UNESCO, 2016a, p. iii). Following the adoption of Agenda 2030 in 2015, several new global policies on education were also developed to aid in the achievement


of the SDGs related to education. These include the Education 2030 Framework for Action (2015) which, according to Eck, Naidoo and Sachs-Israel (2016, p. 36), is based on the principles of education as a fundamental and enabling human right, education as a public good (with the State as the duty bearer), and lifelong learning. The Education 2030 Framework for Action focuses on access, equality, inclusion, gender equality and quality of education and calls for education systems which are: relevant and respond to rapidly changing labour markets, technological advances, urbanization, migration, political instability, environmental degradation, natural hazards and disasters, competition for natural resources, demographic challenges, increasing global unemployment, persistent poverty, widening inequality and expanding threats to peace and safety (UNESCO, 2016b, p. 26). At the continental level, education has also been identified as a key social development issue and priority which prompted the African Union Commission (AUC) to develop the Continental Educational Strategy for Africa (2016-2025) (CESA 16-25) which is driven by the desire for a: qualitative system of education and training to provide the African continent with efficient human resources adapted to African core values and therefore capable of achieving the vision and ambitions of the African Union. Those responsible for its implementation will be assigned to reorient Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation and creativity required to nurture African core values and promote sustainable development at the national, sub-regional and continental levels (AUC, 2016, p. 7)

The importance of education in development Realising the milestones reached by UN member states towards achieving Education For All, as well as the importance of education in the achievement of the SDGs, education has been made a stand-alone goal, in addition to the education-related targets under other SDGs. As a stand-alone goal, SDG 4 on education emphasises educational/ TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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learning outcomes and cognitive skills more than attendance and enrolment with a subtle emphasis on creating skilled workers as opposed to self-reliant individuals who can drive entrepreneurship (Burchin & Rippin, 2015, p. 27). SDG 4 on education has 10 targets which embrace various aspirations for women and men’s equal access to the highest levels of education available (UN-DESA, 2016). Hanushek and Woessman (2010) argue for the role of quality education in achieving economic growth and conclude that there is strong evidence that the population’s cognitive skills, rather than mere school attainment, are powerfully related to long-term economic growth. Education is thus likely to assist in the achievement of SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). According to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2012, p. 182), the skills of the labour force and their price determine a country’s success in the global market: “As services and production systems become more complex, they require workers with higher levels of education.” In other words, the more developed a country, the higher the demand for skilled labour and, therefore, the greater the economic opportunities for both women and men. This would result in the achievement of several SDGs as well as sustainable development in general. Education is also part of the goals for health (SDG 3), growth and employment (SDG 8), sustainable consumption and production (SDG 11), and climate change (SDG 13). This article will analyse the need for rethinking the role of education to achieve these four specific SDGs which have clear, identifiable interfaces with the SDG on education.

Assumptions of an overly simplistic view of education and the SDGs The interface between education and the rest of the SDGs is not simple. It is unwise to assume that merely providing education will inevitably lead to the achievement of the SDGs. It is much more complex and poses real challenges for policy-making, governance and society. This is particularly true in developing countries where citizens are deprived of many basic needs, and decision making is a matter of survival and not based on free and informed choices. In overly simplistic terms, “Education is seen as a veritable tool for the socio-political and economic emancipation of any country from the shackles of ignorance, poverty, unemployment and low economic growth” (Ehigiamusoe, 2013, p. 554). The assumption is that education is a basic human right and, therefore, every government will ensure that all its citizens go to school, thereafter finding good jobs and providing the necessities for themselves and their families and, ideally, fulfilling some personal desires and aspirations. This reasoning assumes that they will be able to access healthcare and better employment opportunities, have a clean environment, and water and sanitation services available. It also presumes that these educated citizens are more likely to care for the environment, observe related laws, and

live in harmony with their environment as well as society. The assumptions about what education can do for people and the environment are many and have been propounded by epistemic communities who argue for education’s ability to improve livelihoods and health and stimulate innovations in all spheres of life including the environment. For example, the Institute of Development Studies (1997, p. 1) contends that there is a high correlation between levels of education and levels of economic development. This view is further advanced by the Human Capital Theory, propounded by economists Gary Becker, Jacob Mincer and others who argue that a person’s education is an investment in their human capital, which makes the individual productive enough to accrue a future stream of benefits such as higher wages and other non-monetary benefits for the individual and the society (Mulongo, 2012). This thinking, however, only appears to hold water in growing economies with opportunities for formal employment, thereby negating the developing country context, such as is the case in most African countries which are currently characterised by low economic growth, high unemployment, and an inflated informal sector characterised by self-employment.

Education can reduce poverty and increase incomes Certain research findings on the interface between education and poverty have led to three broad conclusions being drawn. Appleton, Kingdon, Knight, Söderbom and Teal (2014) note, firstly, that education is universally found to lift people out of poverty. Secondly, they assert that, compared to other forms of investment, returns for investing in education are on average low; and, thirdly, the returns on education accrue with each year of education completed (ibid). Their study on whether education reduced poverty in Ghana, Uganda and South Africa shows that households with higher education levels are less likely to be poor, and they confirmed that returns on education rose with the level of education (Appleton et al., 2014). The Global Partnership for Education (2015) supports the above claims and argues that education interfaces strongly with SDG 1 on poverty and SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth. They assert that, “If all children left school with basic reading skills”, we could see a 12 percent decrease in poverty (ibid). Furthermore, for one extra year of schooling, the earnings of women would increase by 20 percent (Global Partnership for Education, 2015) However, the reality of the links between education as a mainstay for the achievement of the SDGs cannot be analysed in isolation. For example, education can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs if governments invest in education to ensure full access for all their citizens, particularly girls and women. However, Ehigiamusoe (2013) argues that, while some African countries like Nigeria have continued to increase their budget on education, high poverty and low economic growth prevail. In his view, there is a need to overhaul education curriculums so

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THE GENDERED INTERFACE between education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Prospects and pitfalls

that they really contribute to economic growth needs and poverty reduction (ibid). Added to this is the need for governments to address the various socio-economic and cultural impediments to education for girls and women. For girls, the issues are disproportionately complex. In Kenya, the girl child may miss up to 20 percent of her total school year due to mobility restrictions she faces during her menstruation cycle (Jewitt & Riley, 2014). The lack of feminine hygiene products and sanitary facilities in schools across Africa prevent girls from attending school regularly, affecting their overall performance, chances and opportunities to escape poverty through education. The argument for the role of education in poverty reduction is relevant. Nevertheless, other cultural, socio-economic and political factors weigh in. Policy makers often have control over these factors, but most governments in developing countries fail to provide quality education that can change the mindsets of people to articulate their immediate needs within the framework of sustainable development, and they do not pay sufficient attention to the practical needs of women and girls. Fadeeva (2015) calls for innovative education systems and cultures that are commensurate with the immediate economic conditions of people, as the learning process should resonate with their realities, culture, history and social relations. At the centre of these innovative learning processes are women who play a key decision-making role as homemakers and traditionally interact directly with the environment in their household chores which include carrying water, and gathering firewood, seasonal wild fruit and vegetables to supplement household nutrition. Likely, many women will assume the role of community leaders in educating others on the SDGs and the role that communities can play in the achievement of the SDGs, hence the need for policies that empower women in this key role.

At the centre of these innovative learning processes are women who play a key decisionmaking role as homemakers and traditionally interact directly with the environment in their household chores which include carrying water, and gathering firewood, seasonal wild fruit and vegetables to supplement household nutrition.

The Common African Position (CAP) on the post-2015 Development Agenda (UNECA, 2014) notes that many African countries made progress towards achieving MDG 2 (universal access to primary education). Nevertheless, the gains were quickly eroded by various factors, many as a result of the lack of reliable resourcing for education (p. 4). The lack of education administrators to identify, analyse, formulate and implement context-relevant policies is also mentioned in the report (pp 9-10). Suitably qualified individuals are needed to help lead citizens


towards the achievement of the education SDG, which was also expected to facilitate the achievement of other MDGs. In the context of education and the SDGs, there is potentially the same threat of failure to addressing these issues. Many African governments are pressed for human, financial and material resources, riddled with corruption and greed, and undermined by poor public policies. Prioritisation of policies and their implementation will call for stronger political will and tougher decision making on issues that will help achieve the SDGs. Already some governments, like Zimbabwe, are faced with an assortment of economic challenges that are negatively impacting on the education sector. It was estimated in 2014 that one million pupils could drop out of school because the government failed to provide money for their fees (Mutenga, 2014). In South Africa, the government’s continued failure to conduct appropriate inspections and monitoring has created negative perceptions of the teaching profession (Centre for Education Policy Development (CEPD), 2008, p. 1). In Zambia, “Weak policy implementation, combined with inadequate funding, has undermined the effectiveness and efficiency of education service delivery” (Atchoarena, 2016, p. 4). These multifarious challenges will hinder access to education and ultimately the achievement of the SDGs.

Education leads to better health Education is believed to be directly linked to better health which could result in good health and wellbeing (SDG 3), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), and a reduction in hunger and malnutrition (SDG 2). The Population Research Bureau (PRB, 2011) states that much research has linked girls and women’s education with reduced child and maternal mortality, improved health of children, and lower fertility. “Women with at least some formal education are more likely than uneducated women to use contraception, marry later, have fewer children, and be better informed about the nutritional and other needs of children” (ibid). Research by UNESCO in 2010 (cited in PRB, 2011) in a number of African countries illustrates this. In Mali, women with secondary and higher education have an average of three children, while those without such education have an average of seven children (ibid). In Burkina Faso, mothers with secondary education are twice as likely to have a safe birth in healthcare facilities compared to those without this level of education (UNESCO, 2010, cited in PRB, 2011). In Malawi, only 27 percent of women without education know that HIV transmission from parent to child could be prevented by taking drugs during pregnancy, but the figure rises to 59 percent for women with secondary education (ibid). Feinstein, Sabates, Anderson, Sorhcundo and Hammond (2006) also found international evidence that higher levels of education positively influence health-related behaviour and decision making, management of risky situations, and preventive service use. Although education is an important mechanism for enhancing the health and wellbeing of individuals, it was also noted that education does not TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

influence health in isolation from other factors such as income. Vogl (2012) analysed the relationship between education and health in poor countries and made similar observations. The study found that multiple factors link education and health across different phases of the life cycle and across generations: “Within an individual, childhood health enhances schooling outcomes, longevity incentivizes human capital investment, and education improves adult education. Across generations, the health and education of parents – particularly mothers – boost both outcomes in their children” (Vogl, 2012, p. 1). Li (2014) notes the effects of additional years in school on health habits later in life, including diet, exercise and decisions to engage in risky behaviour. The positive effect is greater on women than men. While prioritising the SDGs for most governments is likely to be difficult, Niles (2016) argues strongly that an educated global population is more likely to stem climate change, achieve gender equity and live healthier lives than an uneducated or only partially educated population.


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Education helps protect the environment Steele (2010, p. 4) posits that: Environment and education are both vital elements of human existence that can be used to enhance the quality of the human condition. The environment provides the space and essential ingredients for life where humans are able to interact with each other, with the infrastructure and with the environment itself… education is the process and result through which teaching and learning operate. Through this process, knowledge, values, attitudes and skills are imparted to the learner. In his view, education will enhance society’s understanding of sustainable development and increase “ecoliteracy” (Steele, 2010, p. 4). It is hoped that this will culminate in the achievement of SDG 7 on affordable, clean energy, SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production, SDG 13 on climate change, SDG 14 on life below water, and SDG 15 on life on the land. Ecoliteracy refers to “the ability to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible” (Steele, 2010, pp 4-5). The connections between women and the environment are perceived by Rahman (2006, p. 2) as being more obvious in less industrialised countries where women still grow much of the food, and are typically depicted as “hewers of wood, haulers of water”. Central to their role is their knowledge of poisonous and non-poisonous plants, medicinal plants, edible wild vegetables and fruits, good practices for harvesting, and managing common resources such as water, firewood and forests. This indigenous knowledge can impact positively on modern science developments in the areas of agriculture, science and technology, healthcare delivery, natural resource management, and sustainable development (Abah, Mashebe & Denuga, 2015, pp 670671). The challenge for education is integrating indigenous knowledge BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences



THE GENDERED INTERFACE between education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Prospects and pitfalls

systems with science to ensure that modern concepts, such as climate change, are better understood by local communities. It is essential to recognise women as knowledge bearers and custodians of knowledge on environmental issues and ecosystems in their communities. Culturally, women are regarded as consumers rather than producers of knowledge. Therefore, education systems need to challenge this patriarchal view and create spaces for women to participate as knowers and knowledge producers who equally contribute and shape policies and practices in this regard.

Education prevents inequality and injustice Education is directly related to SDG 5 on general inequality, SDG 10 on reduced inequalities, and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. When education removes human-made biases, empowerment and justice can be achieved. Education creates a citizenry conscious of their rights and duties (Rajendrakumar, 2013). People who are educated find their voice and speak out about inequality and injustice they see or experience. They are also more likely to participate in political decision making, such as voting, and exercise their civil rights. De Kadt (2009, p. 26) shares a similar viewpoint: education has the potential to address “societal injustice by equalising opportunities, facilitating development and strengthening democracy.”

Conclusion The SDGs will direct policy making at the national level for most UN member states over the next 13 years to 2030. The role of education in the SDGs agenda is critical. There is a need for African governments and development agencies to reflect more on the current education systems, including curricula and models of teaching and resourcing for education, among others, to ensure that they drive economies towards a sustainable path for development. While there are numerous similarities in the challenges ahead for most developing countries on the continent, each country also has its own unique features and problems which will need to be factored in when considering education for sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs. More


importantly, the role of women as key decision makers in education and in the environment will also need to be taken more seriously in striving for equitable, sustainable development across the continent. Failure to adopt a gendered lens will prevent the continent from making strategic inroads in various crucial development areas towards achieving SDG 4, as well as all the SDGs and targets which rely on education to realise their own value.

REFERENCES 1. Abah J, Mashebe P & Denuja DP (2015) Prospect of integrating indigenous knowledge systems into the teaching of sciences in Africa. American Journal of Education, 3(6): 668-673. http://pubs. (accessed 29 January 2017). 2. Appleton I, Kingdon G, Knight J, Söderbom M & Teal F (2014) Does investing in education reduce poverty? Evidence from Ghana, Uganda and South Africa. investedu/default.html (accessed 22 January 2017). 3. Atchoarena D (2016) Zambia education policy review: Paving the way for SDG4 Education 2030. September. UNESCO, Paris. (accessed 14 February 2017). 4. AUC (2016) Continental education strategy for Africa (2016-2025). AU, Addis Ababa. documents/29958-doc-cesa_-_english-v9.pdf (accessed 30 January 2017) 5. Burchin F & Rippin N (2015) “Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.” In Lowe M & Ripplin N (Eds). The Sustainable Development Goals in the post-2015 agenda: Comments on the OWG and SDSN Proposals (pp 27-29). Revised version, 26 February. DIE: Bonn. on__SDG__proposals__150226.pdf (accessed 22 January 2017). 6. CEPD (2009) Challenges facing education in South Africa. CEPD, Johannesburg. Challenges%20Facing%20Education%20Interview%20Nov%20 09.pdf (accessed 29 January 2017). 7. De Kadt J (2009) Education and injustice in South Africa. Focus – Journal of the Helen Suzman Foundation, 55: 26-30. http://www. (accessed 22 January 2017). 8. Eck M, Naidoo J & Sachs-Israel M (2016) The new global education agenda. Education 2030 – Developing a new education agenda: An inclusive, comprehensive and country owned process. (accessed 22 January 2017). 9. Ehigiamusoe KU (2013) Education, economic growth and poverty rate in Nigeria: Any nexus? Journal of Social and Development Sciences, 4(12): 544-553. article/download/797/797 (accessed 22 January 2017). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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10. Fadeeva Z (2015) Change through learning. United Nations University, Tokyo. change-through-learning.html (accessed 22 January 2017). 11. Feinstein T, Sabates R, Anderson MT, Sorhcundo A & Hammond C (2006) What are effects of education on health? Measuring the effects of education on health and civic engagement. Proceedings of the Copenhagen Symposium, 23-24 March. OECD CERI. (accessed 22 January 2017). 12. Global Partnership for Education (2015) Education and the Global Goals. Infographic. 14 September. http://www.globalpartnership. org/multimedia/infographic/education-and-global-goals (accessed 22 January 2017). 13. Greggs D, Stafford-Smith M, Rockström J, Ohman CM, Shyamsundar P, Steffen W, Glaser G, Kanie N & Noble I (2013) Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature, 495(7441): 305-307. doi: 10.1038/495305a 14. Hanushek EA & Woessman L (2010) Education and economic growth. In Peterson P, Baker E & McGaw B. International Encyclopaedia of Education, Vol 2 (pp 245-252). Oxford Elsevier: London. 15. Institute of Development Studies (1997) Education and Poverty: A Gender Analysis Report. Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. (accessed 29 January 2017). 16. Jewitt S & Ryley H (2014) It’s a girl thing: Menstruation, school attendance, spatial mobility and wider gender inequalities in Kenya. Geoforum, 56: 137-147. science/article/pii/S0016718514001638 (accessed 22 January 2017). 17. Li J (2014) More education leads to a healthier lifestyle. The Conversation Blog, 3 February. more-education-leads-to-a-healthier-lifestyle-22540 (accessed 22 January 2017). 18. McKeown R (2004) Education for sustainability. Education policy and gender issues: A sustainability perspective. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. 19. Mulongo G (2012) The Human Capital Theory in education: Principles, critiques and current thinking. Blogspot, 6 June. http:// (accessed 14 February 2017). 20. Mutenga T (2014) Zimbabwe education better off with donor funding. Financial Gazette, 22 January. http://www. (accessed 14 February 2017). 21. Niles M (2016) Pulling together to achieve SDG4. Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) Blog, 1 February. PEAS, London. (accessed 29 January 2017).

22. OECD (2012) Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators. OECD: Paris. (accessed 29 January 2017). 23. PRB (2011) The effects of girls education on health outcomes: Fact sheet. (accessed 23 January 2017). 24. Rahman F (2006) Women: Custodians of the environment. Paper on the Women’s Global Connection International Conference. San Antonio, 17-20 May. publication/273761817_Women_Custodians_of_the_Environment (accessed 14 February 2017). 25. Rajendrakumar H (2013) The role of education sector in removing gender inequality. Legal Services India. http://www. (accessed 22 January 2017). 26. Sachs JD (2012) From the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Lancet, 379(9832): 22062211. (accessed 22 January 2017). 27. Steele R (2010) Environment protection. Reorienting teacher education to address sustainable development: Guidelines and tools. UNESCO, Bangkok. images/0018/001890/189062e.pdf (accessed 22 January 2017). 28. UN-DESA (2016) Sustainable Development Goal 4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. https:// (accessed 22 January 2017). 29. UNECA (2014) African Common Position (CAP) on the post-2015 Development Agenda. 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, 31 January, Addis Ababa. default/files/uploaded-documents/Macroeconomy/post2015/ cap-post2015_en.pdf (accessed 23 January 2017). 30. UNESCO (2016a) Education 2030. Incheon Declaration. Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. (accessed 22 January 2017). 31. UNESCO (2016b) Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4. (accessed 5 February 2017). 32. UNESCO (2014) Global Education For All meeting. Final Statement. The Muscat Agreement. images/0022/002281/228122E.pdf (accessed 29 January 2017) 33. Vogl TS (2012) Education and health in development economics. Princeton University and NBER. vogl_ed_health_review.pdf (accessed 22 January 2017).

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY in education in Kenya: A case for innovative programmes to bridge the divide Joyce Kinyanjui Dr Joyce Kinyanjui is the Programme Manager and the previous Executive Officer at Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK). She is currently an Echidna Global Scholar at the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings Institution. Her research at CUE is an 11-county landscape analysis of mentorship programmes being implemented in government schools and their impact on retention and learning outcomes for learners, particularly for girls. Dr Kinyanjui has been involved in the CUE Learning Metrics Task Force and works closely with ministry officials and those involved in CUE’s current Learning Champion collaborations. Her PhD work dealt with the financial literacy skills of women entrepreneurs in Kenya. Twitter handle: @jwkinyanjui

Introduction It has been universally acknowledged that a gender divide exists in the world today (UNESCO, 2016a). In order to transform our world, as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality and women’s empowerment must be achieved. One of the ways of doing this is through education since education has the power to transform the world because of its ability to equip people with the necessary skills, attitudes and behaviour. This article looks at the legal and policy provisions for gender equality in Kenya, followed by a discussion on the nexus between education, development and gender equality. It then provides an overview of how this translates to the participation of women in the social, economic and political affairs of the country. The article concludes by putting forward a case for innovative education programmes to bridge the gender divide. At the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015, member states adopted a new global development agenda, “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” As a way of reaffirming their commitment to women’s empowerment and to gender equality, member states (including Kenya) unanimously ratified SDG 5 which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030 (UNESCO, 2016b). The Kenyan government is also committed to providing equal opportunities and quality education, as enshrined in the following national policy documents: the Sessional Paper No. 14 of 2013; the Basic Education Act (2013) which makes provision for the elimination of all forms of gender discrimination in education; the National Education Sector Plan (2015) that has gender parity and inclusion in education as one of its pillars; the Constitution of Kenya (Government of Kenya, 2010) which, in Articles 27 and 43, protects the rights of women including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres; the National Gender Equality Commission (NGEC), which is a constitutional commission established by an Act of Parliament in August 2011, and deriving its mandate from the Constitution of Kenya; and the NGEC Act of 2011 (Chapter 15 section 8), which has the objectives of promoting gender equality and freedom from discrimination.


The above policies, laws and institutions espouse the rights of women as being equal to men in law and entitled to enjoy equal opportunities in the political, economic, cultural and social spheres. However, implementation is weak due to the lack of political will and clear mechanisms to implement the constitutional gender provisions, for example, Article 81(b) of the Constitution of Kenya (Government of Kenya, 2010), on the general principles of Kenya’s electoral system, states that “not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.” There is also a lack of sex-disaggregated data, a lack of understanding on the part of government officials on how gender perspectives can be identified and mainstreamed, few women leaders in key political positions in the country to push for gender equality due to low levels of education, and the lack of a critical mass of gender experts to ensure implementation of the laws and policies (Otieno-Omutoko & Mwaura, 2014).

Education, development and gender equality “Societies that discriminate on the basis of gender pay the cost of greater poverty, slower economic growth, weaker governance, and a lower living standard of their people” (Cheston & Kuhn, 2002, cited in Makka, 2004). Improving gender equality for Kenya is, therefore, more than merely being politically correct. It is a highly effective development strategy. Education has the power to transform the world because of its ability to equip people with the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour. Wagner and Puchner (1992, p. 16) acknowledge that although there does not seem to be universal agreement on the definition of literacy, it is a concept that is usually associated with the more positive aspects of human civilisation, like social and economic development. On the other hand, illiteracy is associated with hunger and malnutrition, a lack of basic necessities such as safe drinking water and health services, social isolation, exclusion from financial services, lack of access to justice, low political participation and poverty (UNESCO, 2016b). UNESCO (2005, p. 21) defines literacy as “the ability TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.” Kenya introduced free primary schooling in 2003 and, since then, the education sector has registered significant growth at all levels. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS, 2015a), the net enrolment rates are the highest ever – 74.6 percent for Early Childhood Development and Care (ECDE), 88.4 percent for primary schools, and 47.8 percent for secondary schools. However, according to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST, 2015), gender parity in access at primary level stood at 97 girls to 100 boys in 2015, decreases to 89 girls to 100 boys at the secondary level and, at university, only 30 percent of the students are girls and women. Seven percent of women aged 15 to 49 in Kenya have never been to school but, in some areas, like Wajir, Mandera and Garissa, the percentages are higher at 76.9 percent, 75.9 percent and 72.7 percent respectively (KNBS, 2015b).

Barriers to girls’ education The conditions that cause children, both boys and girls, not to enrol or drop out of school involve complex socio-economic, cultural, political, environmental and gender issues. “The socializing processes observed for boys and girls are designed and rigorously applied to instill a feeling of superiority to boys while girls are groomed to accept subjugation and inferiority with apathy” (Ras-Work, 2006, p. 2). Girls grow up with feelings of inferiority and suffer from lower self-esteem. With the resultant lack of ambition, they more easily give up and drop out of school. In Kenya, it was found that fifteen percent of women aged 20 to 49 had first sexual intercourse by age 15, 50 percent by age 18, and 71 percent by age 20 (KNBS, 2015b). This increases the likelihood of early pregnancies or infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The percentage of Kenyan women and girls aged 15 to 19 who already had a live birth was recorded at 15 percent, while 3 percent were pregnant with their first child in 2015 (KNBS, 2015b). In addition, marriage occurs relatively early in Kenya. Among women aged 25 to 49, 29 percent are married by age 18, and 48 percent are married by age 20. Girls from poor and marginalised communities are more likely to marry young and drop out of school (KNBS, 2015b). Twenty-one percent of women aged 15 to 49 have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) (ibid). This “circumcision” marks the transition from childhood to adulthood, and, for many girls who undergo this procedure, the likelihood of them dropping out to get married as child brides increases. Low learning outcomes significantly contribute to girls’ dropping out. According to a report by Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK) (Mugo, Kaburu, Limboro & Kimutai, 2011), after eight years of schooling, four out of 100 pupils cannot read a simple Grade Two story and nine out of 100 pupils cannot do simple Grade Two division sums. This means that some children are not acquiring the basic literacy and numeracy skills early enough. As they progress

through school, the curriculum becomes more complex, and they begin to drop out. Reasons for poor learning outcomes are unqualified teachers, overloaded and irrelevant curriculum, lack of instructional materials, inadequate teacher-pupil contact hours and overcrowded classrooms, among others. According to the Ministry of Devolution and Planning (MDP, 2015) a huge proportion (89 percent) of Kenya’s land area is desert, arid or semi-arid land. The main economic activity in these areas is nomadic pastoralism. This constant migration hinders girls’ regular participation in education, leading to them falling behind and eventually dropping out. Due to the long distances to school occasioned by small and dispersed populations, children start schooling late to allow them to grow older and become strong enough to walk the long distances to school. Those who start school late may be adolescents by the time they are in Grade Three or Four, and many of them end up dropping out of school. Forty-two percent of Kenya’s 44 million people live below the poverty line with children from the lowest wealth quintile at the highest risk of not attending school (KNBS, 2015b). Education is a great predictor of success later in life. King and Winthrop (2015, pp vii-viii) outline the following benefits of girls’ education: 1. Better educated girls and women aspire to become leaders and thereby increase the leadership and entrepreneurial talent of a nation. 2. Economic growth is faster when girls (and boys) are undergoing education. 3. More equal education means greater economic empowerment for women through more equal work opportunities. 4. Better-educated girls and women are healthier, as are their children. 5. Better-educated mothers have better-educated children, especially daughters. 6. Educated women can protect themselves and their families from the effects of economic and environmental problems more effectively. 7. Education is valuable for girls in and of itself. With the lower levels of access to basic education in Kenya, women’s participation in the political, social and economic affairs of the country becomes restricted.

Nexus between education and women’s participation in the nation’s social, economic and political affairs According to Moghadam and Senftova (2005), women’s empowerment refers to women’s achievement of basic freedoms and legal rights, and participation in key social, economic, and political domains. In this section, women’s economic empowerment and political participation are discussed.

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY in education in Kenya: A case for innovative programmes to bridge the divide

Women’s economic empowerment The patterns in girls and women’s education co-relatedly reflect in the employment patterns in the country. Although one-third of households are headed by women, only 61 percent of women (compared to 80 percent of men) are currently employed in the formal and informal sectors (KNBS, 2015b). Women tend to try and make a living in the informal economic sector. Access to formal financial services is one of the indicators of women’s economic empowerment. Formal inclusion of men is at 79.7 percent in 2015, whereas it is 71.2 percent for women (KNBS, 2016). Formal financial inclusion is related to the level of education with almost all Kenyans with tertiary education (98 percent) having access to a formal financial service provider, whereas only 37.3 percent of adults with no education use formal financial service providers (ibid). As fewer women have tertiary education than men, more women (51.4 percent) compared to men (30.9 percent) rely on informal financial service providers (KNBS, 2016). Informal financial service providers are relatives, friends, cash-on-hand, pawn-brokers, moneylenders, or keeping it hidden at home, which are normally insufficient, risky, expensive and unpredictable methods. Financial exclusion further prevents women from being able to make day-to-day transactions including receiving and sending money, saving money, receiving loans, planning and paying for recurring expenditure such as school fees, mitigating against expenses related to unexpected events such as medical emergencies, a death in the family, theft, or natural disasters. All these challenges prevent women from being economically empowered.

As fewer women have tertiary education than men, more women (51.4 percent) compared to men (30.9 percent) rely on informal financial service providers (KNBS, 2016).

Civic participation Levels of education have a key role in contributing to women’s political participation (UNESCO, 2016b). Participation, in this case, goes beyond the most basic form which is voter registration and voting during general elections. However, in 2015, the proportion of registered voters to total eligible population stood at 62.6 percent: 65.5 percent male and 59.9 percent women (KNBS, 2016). The year 2017 is an election year in Kenya and, unfortunately, many women will be unable to vote due to lack of registration. Yet, women’s meaningful and effective participation beyond voting is critical as participating and initiating social, political and economic changes in one’s own community results in more tolerant attitudes and


the permeation of democratic values, thus contributing to the quality of public policies and democracy (Branson, 1998). In order to guarantee the civic participation of women, the Constitution of Kenya (Government of Kenya, 2010) Article 81(b) states that not more than twothirds of the members of elective public bodies should be of the same gender. However, gender equality has not been achieved in the vast majority of cases, as can be seen in table 1 below on the participation of men and women in key decision-making positions in Kenya. According to the data in table 1, the share of female Members of Parliament in the National Assembly was at 19.8 percent of total legislators while female Cabinet Secretaries was at 25.5 percent (KNBS, 2016). The constitutional threshold of one-third has been met for Principal Secretaries, County Commissioners, judges, magistrates, lawyers and Members of the County Assembly. Agenda 2030 envisages a continent where all citizens are meaningfully and effectively participating in public life, engaging and shaping policy frameworks, challenging structural and practical barriers, and demanding accountability from duty bearers, among other forms of participation (UNESCO, 2016b). It is only when equality between men and women is achieved that social justice, development and peace can be achieved (UN Women, 2014).

Designing innovative programmes to address barriers to girls’ education and close the gender divide Innovation has become a buzz word in the education sector as State and non-state actors harness resources to realise gender equality and improved learning outcomes. In this article, the term innovation is used to refer to any new or improved product or idea that focuses on eliminating barriers to girls’ education and also the provision of quality education that transforms children, both boys and girls, to lifelong learners. To address some of the barriers to girls’ education mentioned above, education programmes should include the teaching of life skills, mentoring and leadership training. To guide implementation, the government should be explicit in policy documents on the teaching of life skills and mentoring in education. Innovative programmes that equip girls with life skills are necessary to support girls to remain and succeed in school and will build self-esteem and confidence to challenge gender stereotypes. To improve learning outcomes e-readers, tablets, smartphones, laptops and computers should be used as they enrich the learning experience due to their interactive nature. The Kenyan government has an ambitious plan to provide each child joining Grade One in 2017 with a laptop and all the relevant content digitised through the Digital Learning Programme (MoEST, 2016). The project is yet to be completed. If well utilised, the laptops can transform learning. Teachers can also be trained virtually and digital teaching resources made available. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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Although the initial costs for the resources may be high, this approach could be more cost effective in the long term. As Dayan (2016) states, “ICT has the potential to support, enhance, and enable education for the most marginalized, affected by war, natural disasters, and the rapid spread of disease.” In 2014, over 500 000 boys and over 700 000 girls (a total of over 1.2 million children) aged from six to 13 years in Kenya were not enrolled in school because they never attended school or they dropped out (MoEST, 2015, p. 42). The majority of these children are found among marginalised communities who make a living through nomadic pastoralism (MoEST, 2015). Any innovation targeting girls’ education should address the high number of out-of-school girls. Radios can be used to facilitate learning through recorded radio lessons while teachers can undertake professional development courses through the same medium. E-learning or virtual schools, if well planned in terms of support and supervision, can support out-of-school girls. Virtual schools promise flexibility for girls who drop out of school. This is especially advantageous for girls who have mastered basic literacy and numeracy skills. The challenges associated with the use of ICT, for example, the lack of electricity, proper storage facilities and technicians to maintain the equipment, may hinder their effective use. Although ICT is not a substitute for teachers, it can support learning, especially in communities where the teachers are few and untrained and where pastoralism is the community’s way of life. Kenya’s approach to meeting the right of every child to quality education includes partnerships with non-state actors. Too often non-state actors come up with innovations which are successful on a small scale or pilot level but cannot be scaled up to the entire public education system due to the costs associated with them, including the necessary human resources and infrastructure. Therefore, when designing programmes, scalability should be factored in (TEP Centre, 2016). Rigid, inflexible school term dates and class schedules lock many girls out of school, especially those from pastoralist communities because their migratory patterns do not always coincide with school dates and times. Among the urban poor, many girls are not in school as they earn a living through petty trading. The greatest innovation by the government to ensure out-of-school girls can enrol is to provide flexible alternative basic education where communities can set their own suitable term dates and class schedules. Class schedules can start as early as 6:00 am and end at 1:00 pm in areas with extremely high temperatures. Alternatively, schools for the urban poor could start in the afternoon at 2:00 pm and run until 8:00 pm. The government would have to ensure that the amount allocated for their schooling is comparable to the rest of the country. The education system should also be flexible, allowing for easier exit and re-entry of children from migratory populations and young mothers. Innovation in the teaching and learning process is required if education is to meet 21st-century challenges. To transform the education sector, the curriculum should be reviewed. The revised curriculum

TABLE 1: Representation of Kenyan women in key decisionmaking positions 2014-2015 (KNBS, 2016) KEY DECISION-MAKING Female Male TOTAL % POSITIONS IN KENYA females Cabinet Secretaries





National Assembly





Principal Secretaries





Diplomatic Corps















Deputy Governors





County Commissioners





Sub County Commissioners





Deputy Secretaries





Supreme Court Judges





Court of Appeal Judges





High Court Judge




















Assistant Chiefs










Members of the County Assembly





should move away from being exam-oriented to being competency-based. Acquisition of non-cognitive skills, for example, life skills, values and attitudes that allow girls to participate in the affairs of their communities should be explicitly included. With regard to life skills, particular emphasis should be placed on leadership, critical thinking and decision making, creativity and innovation, financial literacy skills and lifelong learning. A change in the curriculum without the accompanying teacher professional development (TPD) is not tenable. TPD should also be reviewed to include training on student-centred teaching techniques, experiential learning and gender-responsive pedagogy. Such a shift will allow learners to participate in their own learning instead of merely memorising and also prevent the reinforcement of gender stereotypes that further increase the gender divide. Girls are not homogeneous and face different barriers based on social, political, religious, economic and cultural factors. Schools and the girls themselves do not exist in isolation but are part of these varying contexts. Any programme that aims to improve girls’ education must take cognisance of this fact and ensure that it has the support of

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the community. For this to happen, the community should be involved when designing programmes. Only then can they support their girls to remain in school and succeed in life.

Conclusion This paper argues for innovative programmes to reduce the gender divide that currently exists in the education sector. However, for any innovative education programme to succeed, the community must participate throughout the programme cycle from analysis of the barriers and possible solutions to girls’ education to designing and implementation of the programmes. Leveraging ICT for content delivery, improving learning outcomes and increasing access should be considered. Flexibility in school and daily schedules will also decrease gender disparity in education. TPD that incorporates experiential learning and a competency-based curriculum will prepare girls to be lifelong learners who will participate in the social, economic and political affairs of their communities and nation. The government should provide a facilitative environment that supports innovation in education through relevant legislation.

REFERENCES 1. Branson MS (1998) The Role of Civic Education. Education Policy Task Force position paper from the Communitarian Network, September. Center for Civic Education, the Communitarian Network, Washington DC. role.html (accessed 28 January 2017). 2. Dayan N (2016) Education in conflict and crisis: How can technology make a difference? A landscape review. GIZ, Bonn. (accessed 28 January 2017). 3. Government of Kenya (2010) The Constitution of Kenya. Government Printer: Nairobi. 4. King EM & Winthrop R (2015) Today’s challenges for girls’ education. Working paper 90, June. Global Economy and Development at Brookings Institution, Washington DC. http:// (accessed 28 January 2017). 5. KNBS (2016) Kenya Economic Survey 2016. KNBS: Nairobi. http:// (accessed 15 February 2017). 6. KNBS (2015a) Kenya Economic Survey 2015. KNBS: Nairobi. http:// (accessed 15 February 2017). 7. KNBS (2015b) Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014. KNBS: Nairobi. (accessed 28 January 2017). 8. Makka S (2004) The ‘feminization of poverty’ in developing countries and the role of microfinance in poverty reduction. The Osprey Journal of Ideas and Inquiry, UNF Digital Commons Paper 87. (accessed 15 February 2017).


9. MDP (2015) National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands. Unlocking our full potential for realization of the Kenya Vision 2030. 23 July, MDP, Nairobi. (accessed 15 February 2017). 10. MoEST (2016) Digital Learning Programme. MoEST, Nairobi. (accessed 28 January 2017). 11. MoEST (2015) 2014 Basic Education Statistics Booklet. MoEST and UNICEF. ICT/2014BasicEducationStatisticalBooklet.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 12. Moghadam VM & Senftova L (2005) Measuring women’s empowerment: Participation and rights in civil, political, social, economic, and cultural domains. International Social Science Journal, 57: 389-412. Doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2451.2005.00557.x (accessed 11 October 2011). 13. Mugo J, Kaburu A, Limboro C & Kimutai A (2011) Are our children learning? Annual Learning Assessment Report. Uwezo Kenya and WERK, Nairobi. (accessed 28 January 2017). 14. Otieno-Omutoko L & Mwaura P (2014) Gender policy as a management strategy in education. (accessed 28 January 2017). 15. Ras-Work B (2006) The impact of harmful traditional practices on the girl child. Expert group meeting on the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child. Florence, 25-28 September. UNDAW and UNICEF. (accessed 28 January 2017). 16. TEP Centre (2016) Scaling up educational interventions in Nigeria: A call to action. White paper developed for Nigerian Education Innovation Summit (NEDIS), 18-19 July, Abuja. (accessed 28 January 2017). 17. UNESCO (2016a) Global Education Monitoring Report 2016: Gender Review. Education for people and planet: creating sustainable future for all. UNESCO, Paris. http://unesdoc.unesco. org/images/0024/002460/246045e.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 18. UNESCO (2016b) Education for people and planet: Creating sustainable future for all. Global Education Monitoring Report. UNESCO: Paris. images/0024/002457/245752e.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 19. UNESCO (2005) Aspects of literacy assessment: Topics and issues from the UNESCO expert meeting. 10-12 June 2003. UNESCO, Paris. images/0014/001401/140125eo.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 20. UN Women (2014) Beijing Platform for Action Mission Statement. Beijing+5 Political Declaration and Outcome. Reprint. http://bit. ly/1S7vsIA (accessed 29 January 2017). 21. Wagner DA & Puchner L (1992) World Literacy in the Year 2000. Sage Publications: London. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

ENHANCING SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY in the education sector in Africa towards 2030 Limbani Eliya Nsapato

Limbani Nsapato is a specialist in education theory and practice, project management, and business administration from Southern Malawi. He has 16 years’ professional experience with various organisations at national and international levels and is a regular media commentator on education policy matters. From 2012 to 2015, Limbani contributed to the development of the 2030 SDGs through participation in conferences and steering committees organised by the AU and UNESCO. Presently, he is working as the Malawi Country Representative for Edukans and studying towards a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).

Introduction The overall theme is strategies for enhancing social accountability in the education sector in Africa in the pursuit of the Education 2030 Agenda. Ahmed and Sanchez-Triana (2008, p. 22) explain social accountability as follows: Social accountability refers to the broad range of actions and mechanisms beyond voting that citizens can use to hold the state to account, as well as actions on the part of government, civil society, media and other societal actors that promote or facilitate these efforts. The absence of social accountability is retrogressive, especially in Africa, where corruption and governance failures are broadly acknowledged as major obstacles to achieving critical reductions in poverty and human development goals (UNDP, 2013). This article discusses strategies for ensuring social accountability based on good practices from initiatives undertaken across Africa since 2000. Potential challenges are also highlighted and recommendations for consideration towards 2030. The article pushes for social accountability as expounded by key global frameworks. According to the UNDP (2013, p. 4), there are four key elements of social accountability: preparing community and civil society groups to engage; collecting, analysing and using information; undertaking accountability engagements with governments using instruments such as scorecards, audits and budget analysis; and using information from accountability engagements with governments through strategies like advocacy, lobbying and campaigning. Seen in this light, social accountability has a positive impact on addressing citizens’ needs and improving governance, service delivery, resource mobilisation, allocation and utilisation. The core argument is that social accountability plays an important role in addressing gender gaps and promoting inclusion and gender equality in public sectors such as education.

Background: Social accountability to deliver Education 2030 Following the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the September 2015 UN General Assembly, the critical role of social accountability in the successful achievement of the new vision for education towards 2030 was escalated. The new vision is contained in SDG 4, which is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UN-DESA, 2015). The global education movement has welcomed this new vision and integrated it into the Education 2030 Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action (UNESCO, 2016). Education 2030 has been formulated against a backdrop of the massive annual funding gap of up to US$ 39 billion (UNESCO, 2015, p. 1). The funding gap means that all measures must be taken to ensure maximisation and mobilisation of domestic and external resources. Governance must also be improved to increase efficiency and ensure effective use of existing resources so that financing reaches the classrooms. The Incheon Framework For Action also demands that stakeholders ensure investments are focussed on inclusion, equity and quality; private financing resources are oriented towards countries and people most in need; challenging and exposing misuse of resources through corruption and other financial malpractices; and support institutionalisation of transparent monitoring and reporting (UNESCO, 2016, p. 34). These demands necessitate social accountability initiatives which are largely carried out by civil society organisations (CSOs) in partnership with communities and the media. Hence, the Incheon Framework has recognised that CSOs have a value-adding role in holding governments accountable for the delivery of the Education 2030 Agenda (UNESCO, 2016, p. 26). According to the framework, the participation of CSOs should be institutionalised and guaranteed. CSOs’ role is to document and share evidence from practice, from citizens’ assessments, and from research to inform structured policy dialogue (ibid). CSOs must also hold governments accountable for service delivery, track progress, undertake evidence-based

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advocacy, scrutinise spending and ensure transparency in education governance and budgeting (UNESCO, 2016, p. 26). The International Budget Partnership (IBP, 2015) has demonstrated that the world faces the challenge of accountability in general, and budget transparency, accountability and oversight in particular. The IBP (ibid) survey of 102 countries on budget transparency and accountability conducted showed that 96 percent of the countries (98 countries) surveyed lacked adequate systems for enforcing the efficient and effective use of public funds. The survey showed that the countries fell short on at least one of the three pillars of accountability which are budget transparency, citizen participation, and independent oversight institutions in the budgeting process (IBP, 2015, p. 5). African countries were among the majority of the countries that fell short. According to the survey, only four countries (Brazil, Norway, South Africa, and the United States) “provided sufficient budget transparency; established sufficient opportunities for public participation, and had strong legislatures and supreme audit institutions” (van Wyngaardt, 2015). In contrast, the survey found that 32 countries were insufficient on all three pillars of accountability, including a number of countries that have, over the years, offered minimal or no budget information disclosure such as Algeria, China, Fiji, and Saudi Arabia (ibid). The information above shows that social accountability efforts will need to be intensified in order to deliver Education 2030 to Africa and the world.

The information above shows that social accountability efforts will need to be intensified in order to deliver Education 2030 to Africa and the world. The section to follow highlights ways in which social accountability could be enhanced based on initiatives that have been carried out in Africa or have involved African countries.

Strategies for enhancing social accountability Strategies of social accountability are designed to ensure accountability in four broad areas of government function, namely, policies and plans, budgets and expenditures, delivery of goods and services, and public oversight (Silva-Leander & Reuben, 2008). Strategies of accountability are diverse and involve research, monitoring, planning, civic education, media coverage and coalition building (Public Affairs Foundation Bangalore, Sirker & Cosic, 2007, p. 4). According to the UNDP (2013, p. 3), “Early social accountability initiatives aimed to improve the efficiency of service delivery, and mechanisms and instruments of interventions included citizen report cards and scorecards, community monitoring, participatory planning tools and


social audits.” On the other hand, new social accountability initiatives have focused more on rights than efficiency and these are “participatory budgeting, public expenditure tracking, gender budgeting, citizen juries and other forms of public hearings, participatory monitoring of donor commitments to advance the MDGs and reporting to international treaty-monitoring bodies”(ibid). A number of case studies exist showing how these four key elements have made positive impacts on social accountability in various countries on the continent. For instance, the Zambia National Education Network (ZANEC), a civil society network in Zambia, has enhanced social accountability in the education sector through its Notice Board Initiative (Africa Network Campaign on Education For All (ANCEFA), 2016). In Burundi, CSOs, under the umbrella body Bafashebige EFA Coalition, influenced government to establish school management committees as a strategy for strengthening governance within the education system (ANCEFA, 2012). The government of Rwanda launched a Nine-Year Basic Education programme in 2009 to offer six years of primary and three years of secondary schooling free of charge (Transparency International, 2013). This programme involves substantial investments with provision for capitation grants to schools, among many others (ibid). However, because the primary focus of this article is the gender considerations, the author will highlight three other case studies that directly focussed on gender. These case studies illustrate how some of the strategies highlighted above have made a positive impact by enhancing social accountability and promoting gendered service delivery within the education sector and could thus be replicated in the future to deliver Education 2030. Case Study A: Gender budget analysis reveals shortfalls in allocations for equity in Malawi In Malawi, the Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) (formerly the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education (CSCQBE)) has, since 2001, been involved in budget analysis which forms the basis of the coalition’s advocacy for change in the education financing architecture of the country. The budget analysis is conducted before and after the approval of the national budget in parliament in order to influence allocations to the education sector in general and to specific areas of need in particular. The methodology for the analysis involves reviewing official budget documents for a particular financial year, identifying and analysing allocations to various education levels, sub-sectors and district councils and these are contrasted with the demands on the ground as well as international financing benchmarks. Results of the analysis are compiled in a report, which is presented to stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education and finance officials, members of parliament, the media, donors and CSOs. One of the areas of focus for the budget analysis has been the extent to which the budget is sensitive towards addressing gender issues TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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and promoting the education of girls and women. As such, for the past five years, the network has carried out a series of gender budget analysis in order to promote gender-responsive budgeting in Malawi. A review of various reports shows that, while the government is implementing actions towards addressing the needs of girls in schools, there is a long way to go for the education budget to be fully gender sensitive (CSEC, 2014, 2015; CSCQBE, 2010). For instance, in 2014, CSEC produced a multi-year analytical report which, among others, determined key gender provisions, allocations and outputs in the 2011/2012, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 education budget. The analysis showed gender awareness around the education sector budgets for the various financial years with the specific objective of ensuring gender issues are mainstreamed in education activities. Strategies supporting this objective included building girls’ hostels; rolling out “mother groups” in all schools; increasing “training, recruitment and retention of female teachers”, especially for rural schools; and development of a “comprehensive strategy for improving gender equality in education which specifically addresses the retention of girls in Standard 6-8 and the transition rate of girls into secondary education” (Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, 2011, p. 161). The budget included specific expenditure allocations targeting girls’ education such as the construction of 10 girls’ hostels and training and recruitment of female teachers (CSEC, 2014). table 1 below shows the gendered allocations for education in 2013/2014. However, the budget did not allocate funding for other critical strategies such as sanitation facilities (toilets and bathrooms for community day secondary schools) which were affecting the retention of girls in secondary schools (CSEC, 2014). In addition, the budgets did not have gender-disaggregated data for planned output targets that directly contribute to gender parity and equitable access to education. For instance, the budgets provided that a number of students would be enrolled in primary and secondary schools, technical colleges and teacher training institutions without disaggregating the target groups by sex. Furthermore, the budgets did not provide evidence of reporting, monitoring and evaluation of achievements made by the sector in terms of attaining gender-responsive budgets (CSEC, 2014).

Similar findings were also established in the analysis of the 2014/2015 education budget (CSEC, 2015). For instance, the data in table 2 below shows that most of the planned outputs were not gender disaggregated. Consequently, while hailing government for showing awareness of gender issues in the budgets in some areas, CSEC (2017) has been advocating that sufficient resources be allocated to address all gender-specific strategies and activities and also to ensure gender disaggregation of output targets in the budget to facilitate gender-responsive monitoring and evaluation. Case Study B: How budget initiatives raised the profile of women and children in Zimbabwe In Zimbabwe, two separate initiatives have raised the profile of women and children in the national development agenda in recent years. The women-oriented initiative, named the Gender-Responsive Budgeting Project (GRBP), is the work of the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN). The other initiative, the Child-Friendly National Budget Initiative is conducted by the National Association of Non-Government Organisations (NANGO). ZWRCN (2002) began developing the GRBP in 2001 as a follow-up to a study on the extent to which economic policies and national budgets were responsive to the needs and expectations of women. The study revealed serious gender-related disparities in national resource allocation, distribution and use. The slow progress in achieving women’s social, economic and political rights is largely the result of how national resources are allocated. The study further showed that women’s gains are being eroded primarily in three areas: access to education, social protection (including unpaid care work), and health (ZWRCN, 2002). Another study on unpaid care work conducted by ZWRCN (2003) observed that women’s contributions to the care economy remained unaccounted for and uncounted. Muchabaiwa (2010) reports that, following the study on unpaid care work in 2003, ZWRCN launched a workshop series to advocate for the recognition of unpaid care work in collaboration with individual

TABLE 1: Gender-specific and related allocations in education 2013/2014 in Malawian kwacha (MWK) (CSEC, 2014) Subprogramme and activities

Planned targets 2013/2014

MWK 000 000

Construction of girls’ hostels

10 girls hostels built


Mobilisation/training of mother groups

Not seen in the documents


Training of female teachers

6 105 students enrolled in technical colleges, 50% women

1 370

Secondary school bursary scheme

Not clear


Special needs education

Construction of special needs education


Basic education: adult literacy

Not clear


Out-of-school youth education

Not clear

1 300

Early Childhood Development (ECD)

50% of children, 0-8 years accessing ECD services


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TABLE 2: Review of other 2014/2015 Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology recurrent outputs (CSEC, 2015) Subprogramme

2014/2015 Planned outputs

Pre-primary and primary

4 188 677 pupils enrolled in primary schools

Secondary education

Higher education

2014/2015 Comments allocation – MWK millions 50 671.75 Output targets set are not sex disaggregated

Procure and distribute nine million primary textbooks

315 537 desks nationwide

Supporting up to 56 534 primary school teachers

Output targets set are not sex disaggregated

260 064 students enrolled in secondary school

12 734.69 Output targets set are not sex disaggregated

Supply 579 500 textbooks

60 000 desks and chairs

Supporting up to 11 701 secondary school teachers

Output targets set are not sex disaggregated

Supporting 653 residential and 400 open and distance learning (ODL) students at Domasi College of Education Monitored three universities (UNIMA, MZUNI and LUANAR)

Teacher training

8 378 conventional (IPTE 7+8) primary student teachers

620.08 Output targets set are not sex disaggregated 4 288.82 Output targets set are not sex disaggregated

11 587 ODL (ODL II+III) primary student teachers enrolled Complementary Basic Education (CBE)

Support 1 800 CBE centres in 21 educational districts

women and women’s and home-based care (HBC) organisations; and policymakers including parliamentarians, parliamentary portfolio committees, sector ministries and other stakeholders. A capacity-building workshop targeting women’s organisations involved in HBC was conducted in collaboration with the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). To follow up on the study about unpaid care work, ZWRCN decided to increase women’s understanding of unpaid care work and build the capacity of women leaders and organisations to lobby for the recognition of women’s contributions to the economy. Other workshops were held to train policymakers about care work and its impact on women. This led to a debate in parliament about care work and ways to lessen the burden on women (Muchabaiwa, 2010). ZWRCN later broadened the scope of its work to influence economic policies and budgets in favour of women. “In 2003, ZWRCN developed the Shadow Gender Budget Statement in consultation with women’s organizations, UNIFEM, grassroots women, and other stakeholders about what they would like to see in a gender-sensitive budget” (Muchabaiwa, 2010, p. 114). The statement lists the budgetary requirements of women and has been used for lobbying and advocacy. “Since its inception, the GRBP has consistently provided a gender-responsive perspective on each year’s budget (based on its wide-scale consultations



with grassroots women) and independent budget analysis, sometimes with the help of consultants” (Muchabaiwa, 2010, p. 114). According to Muchabaiwa (2010), the Child-Friendly National Budget Initiative (CFNBI) is a child rights-centred programme and partnership between various child-focused organisations in Zimbabwe. A comprehensive research report by Save the Children Norway (2000, cited in Muchabaiwa, 2010) focused on the situation of children in Zimbabwe and considered how children’s rights could be more effectively upheld by adapting the national budget for social sectors such as education, health and general child welfare, and this formed the basis of the CFNBI (ibid). The report was distributed widely and offered the following recommendations: • Improve government macroeconomic policies to generate sources to benefit children. • Design mechanisms to protect children from economic hardships and the humanitarian crisis. • Democratise the budget formulation process. • Restructure the budget with greater allocations for social sectors to improve children’s welfare (Muchabaiwa, 2010, p. 115). CFNBI endeavours to assist rural and urban children from all social classes, orphans and children in vulnerable situations (Muchabaiwa, TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

2010, p. 115). “Inclusion, participation, equity, and equality” are the CFNBI principles which ensure that issues regarding children and young people are given attention, “regardless of whether they are orphaned, living with HIV and AIDS, have disabilities, are from rural or urban areas, or are living on the street” (ibid). Case Study C: Global Education Aid Watch and the OECD DAC Gender Equality Marker have led to aid transparency, and accountability and focus on gender equality The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a civil society coalition operating in over 90 countries as well as across regional and international networks in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, is involved in undertaking the Global Education Aid Watch, an instrument that analyses the performance of a number of donors on aid to education. In 2000, during the Dakar World Education Forum, donors and cooperating partners committed to ensure that adequate aid was available for Education For All (EFA) by affirming that “no countries seriously committed to education for all will be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of resources” (UNESCO, 2000, p. 9). Furthermore, the UN set a target for donors to commit 0.7 percent of official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries, and between 0.15 percent and 0.2 percent of gross national income (GNI) to the least-developed countries (UNESCO, 2015, p. 32). The GCE (2015, p. 5) Education Aid Watch report on data about aid for the period 2002-2013 drew up individual profiles for 14 bilateral donor countries including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, UK, US and others. These 14 nations are the major bilateral donors and have the most active GCE coalitions (ibid). The EU, World Bank and Global Partnership for Education (GPE) are also profiled. Together these donors provide 80 percent of all aid for education (GCE, 2015, p. 5). The report analysis covers general trends in aid to education overall, for different levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary), and aid to the most underdeveloped countries and those facing humanitarian crises (ibid). Findings from the analysis demonstrate the following: failure to provide the pledged donor support – a neglect by many rich countries of their responsibilities and commitments, which is a key factor in explaining the failure to achieve the EFA goals and the MDGs… Over the whole of the MDG-EFA period, across all donors, an average of 8.6 percent of all development assistance went to education – far below what is needed, and falling far short of the priority that governments and citizens themselves place on education (GCE, 2015, pp 4, 6). The report further noted declining trends in aid, demonstrating that funding for education, as a share of all ODA, fell from 9.7 percent (2009) to 8.1 percent (2013) (GCE, 2015, p. 6). The report also claims


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that “it is the world’s poorest and most excluded children, young people and adults who have felt – and are still feeling – the impact” (p. 4). According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2016, p. 151), net ODA as a percentage of GNI was 0.3 percent in 2014/2015. In 2015, only a few donor countries reached the spending target of 0.7 percent (including Denmark, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and others) (p. 152). GCE used findings from its Education Aid Watch report to call for an increase in aid for education. According to the report, donors should: Make more aid available by setting out clear national plans to achieve the long-standing commitment to deliver 0.7 percent of GNP as ODA – a goal that was re-affirmed at the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference – at least by 2020. Moreover, donors should commit at least 15-20 percent of all their ODA to education (GCE, 2015, p. 11). Another accountability instrument focusing on donors is the Gender Equality Marker for the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) countries which has increased aid for gender equality as well as ensuring accountability among governments in promoting girls and women’s rights. According to the OECD (2016, p. 158) report: The DAC Gender Equality Marker is a statistical instrument to measure aid that is focused on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Activities are classified as “principal” when gender equality is a primary objective, “significant” when gender equality is an important but secondary objective, or “not targeted”. All DAC members screen their activities against the DAC Gender Equality Marker. The marker is an important tool for

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strengthening accountability and transparency in DAC provider financing for gender equality and women’s rights. In 2014, DAC countries committed US$ 33 billion for gender equality and women’s empowerment, while the DAC average across countries for the share of development cooperation with gender equality and women’s empowerment as objectives was 34 percent (OECD, 2016, p. 158).

Success factors and challenges for enhancing social accountability Success factors There are several factors which are critical for the success of social accountability initiatives. The key ones are access to information, legitimacy and technical capacity, use of media, and widespread support (Chase & Anjum, 2008, p. 12). Access to or generation of credible information is critical for social accountability initiatives. This involves accessing and analysing “supply-side information from government and service providers and demand-side information from users of government services, communities and citizens” and such information helps to build credible evidence for accountability and demanding necessary change (ibid). Legitimacy and technical capacity of the organisation leading a social accountability initiative are important factors for success (Chase & Anjum, 2008, p. 12). Legitimacy is earned by, among others, being duly registered with relevant authorities, and having credible membership and governance systems (ibid). Such legitimacy ensures that There are several factors which are critical for the success of social accountability initiatives. The key ones are access to information, legitimacy and technical capacity, use of media, and widespread support (Chase & Anjum, 2008, p. 12).

the organisation has the authority to speak on behalf of constituents, through open and accountable membership-based organisational structures (UNDP, 2013, p. 9). In addition, the lead organisation should have the technical capacity to direct the initiative in terms of financial resources, expertise in research, community mobilisation, advocacy, negotiation, budget analysis and expenditure tracking (ANCEFA, 2016; UNDP, 2013). Another factor for success is the use of media. Print, electronic and social media are important and powerful tools to use in ensuring social accountability as it ensures publicity of the issues being raised and the changes being called for (McNeil & Malena, 2010, p. 205).


Wide support from the grassroots communities, local civil society networks and international partners also ensures the success of social accountability initiatives. Broader support gives initiatives a voice, which helps governments understand citizen priorities better and how to serve citizens in the best possible manner. Communication can be strengthened by, among others: creating spaces for public debate and platforms for citizen-state dialogue, building citizen confidence and rights awareness, facilitating the development of coalitions and alliances that can speak with a strong, united voice, and making strategic use of (or helping to develop) both modern and traditional forms of media (YEM Consultant Institute, 2008, p. 13). Such communication platforms can be more relevant through the involvement of poorer and marginalised groups (YEM Consultant Institute, 2008). Furthermore, networking and alliance building at local and international levels are important strategies to compensate for coalitions’ lack of power and resources. The power of coalitions and networks is seen in the fact that they “frequently advocate from a stronger vantage point than individual organizations and are less vulnerable to charges of partisanship or representing special interests” (McNeil & Malena, 2010, p. 209). Coalitions with members in various sectors and including government, private and CSO actors are the most successful (ibid). Other factors for success include political timing, sustained commitment, innovation in using strategies, including through appropriate technology, an enabling socio-political environment and paying attention to incentives and sanctions (ANCEFA, 2016; UNDP, 2013; McNeil & Malena, 2010; World Bank, 2007). Challenges Social accountability initiatives sometimes fail to achieve intended objectives due to a variety of challenges. One such challenge is the lack of credible public information, especially on financing, expenditures, allocations and outputs as well as the implications of policies for boys, girls, women, men, orphans and vulnerable groups. This challenge is augmented by the lack of freedom of information, an issue in most African countries. Transparency international (2013, p. 47) observes that “Freedom of information is critical in ensuring transparency in the management of public affairs in the education sector.” However, according to the Open Budget Survey (IBP, 2015, p. 1) mentioned above, most of the 102 countries surveyed provided insufficient information for civil society and the public to familiarise themselves with and monitor the budget. A key aspect of this lack of credible information is the scarcity of gender-disaggregated statistics around education allocations, expenditures and outputs, as identified for many countries in Africa, particularly Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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Another challenge is the absence of legal and policy frameworks to institutionalise social accountability initiatives. It has been observed that governments often do not readily enact laws, regulations and policies to support the operations of CSOs. This is largely because of the absence of trust between the two sectors. However, CSOs are meant to be complementing the actions of government (ANCEFA, 2016). Lack of or inadequate capacity and expertise to coordinate social accountability initiatives is another challenge that stands in the way of success. Without such capacity and expertise, organisations leading social accountability initiatives are unable to engage with policymakers in government and influence them for meaningful change (ANCEFA, 2016; UNDP, 2013; McNeil & Malena, 2010). Moreover, the lack of a culture of compliance with governance and accountability systems, set rules and procedures make it difficult to ensure effective sanctions are imposed on public officials involved in corruption and other malpractices. In some countries, like Zimbabwe, this problem is exacerbated by a parliament which has limited powers to perform its oversight functions (McNeil & Malena, 2010). This leads to a culture of impunity or selective justice and prevents the enforcement of accountability (ANCEFA, 2016; Transparency International, 2013). Other challenges include the lack of financial and human resources to sustain social accountability initiatives, effective media strategies and support, as well as social, political and economic instability (McNeil & Malena, 2010).

Recommendations In order to maximise success and minimise failure of social accountability initiatives, the following recommendations could be useful:

1. Governments should ensure appropriate legislation is enacted, including freedom of information and freedom of association (Transparency International, 2013; McNeil & Malena, 2010). 2. CSOs should put in place awareness-raising and capacity-building initiatives around the positive impact of social accountability in the promotion of sustainable development goals (ANCEFA, 2016). 3. Cooperating partners from among government, donors and the private sector should provide material and financial support to CSOs to sustain social accountability initiatives (ANCEFA, 2016). 4. Stakeholders should promote the collection and publication of gender-disaggregated data to strengthen the evidence base for social accountability initiatives (CSEC, 2017, 2015; ZWRCN, 2002).

Conclusion This article has demonstrated that social accountability is important in ensuring effective service delivery and promoting inclusion and gender equality in society, and could play a critical role towards the success of Education 2030. However, McNeil and Malena (2010, p. 217) state that social accountability is about “power relations and how power is perceived and exercised.� Several challenges, including limitations on access to information, lack of capacity to engage government, and the unfriendly socio-political environment could stand in the way of ensuring a healthy relationship between citizens and duty bearers, making it difficult to ensure that power is monitored, checked and shared. By identifying and implementing effective strategies and mechanisms, and addressing expected challenges and potential risks, social accountability could significantly lead to the success of the new vision for education towards 2030.

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ENHANCING SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY in the education sector in Africa towards 2030

REFERENCES 1. Ahmed K & Sanchez-Triana E (2008) Strategic Environmental Assessment for Policies: An Instrument for Good Governance. World Bank Publications: Washington DC. 2. ANCEFA (2016) Improving accountability in the education and health sectors. A case study report. Unpublished. ANCEFA, Dakar. 3. ANCEFA (2012) Advocating for the right to education in Africa: Success stories from the work of ANCEFA with 10 national Education For All coalitions. ANCEFA, Dakar. 4. Chase RS & Anjum A (2008) Demand for good governance stocktaking report. Initiatives supporting demand for good governance (DFGG) across World Bank Group sectors and regions. Final Report, August. World Bank, Washington DC. http://bit. ly/2kT8LMi (accessed 10 February 2017). 5. CSCQBE (2010) Gender-responsive budgeting in Malawi. An analysis of the 2010/2011 National Education Budget. Lilongwe, CSCQBE. 6. CSEC (2017) Objectives and activities. Lilongwe, CSCE. http:// (accessed 10 February 2017). 7. CSEC (2015) Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Education Sector in Malawi: The case of the 2014-2015 Education Sector Budget. Lilongwe, CSCE. 8. CSEC (2014) Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Education Sector in Malawi: The case of the 2011-2013 Education Sector Budgets. Lilongwe, CSCE. 9. GCE (2015) Education Aid Watch 2015. Johannesburg, GCE. http:// (accessed 15 August 2016). 10. IBP (2015) Open Budget Survey 2015. IBP, Washington DC. http:// (accessed 14 September 2016). 11. Malawi Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2011) Output-based budget. MoEST, Lilongwe. (accessed 10 February 2017). 12. McNeil M & Malena C (2010) Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa. Washington DC: World Bank. (accessed 21 February 2017). 13. Muchabaiwa BL (2010) “Gender-sensitive and child-friendly budgeting in Zimbabwe.� In McNeil M & Malena C (Eds) (2010). Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa. Washington DC: World Bank. http://bit. ly/2kwRVlp (accessed 11 February 2017). 14. OECD (2016) Development Co-operation Report 2016: The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities. Revised version, July. OECD: Paris. doi: 10.1787/dcr-2016-en (accessed 11 February 2017).


15. Public Affairs Foundation Bangalore, Sirker K & Cosic S (2007) Empowering the marginalized: Case studies of social accountability initiatives in Asia. WBI working paper. World Bank Institute, Washington DC. 16. Transparency International (2013) Global Corruption Report on Education. London: Routledge. (accessed 11 February 2017). 17. Silva-Leander A & Reuben W (2008) Operationalizing social accountability in policy-based lending: Lessons learned from emerging experience. Social Development Papers: Participation and civic engagement paper no. 106, August. http://bit. ly/2l0p6kV (accessed 10 February 2017). 18. UNDP (2013) Reflections on social accountability: Catalyzing democratic governance to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. United Nations Development Programme, New York. (accessed 10 February 2017). 19. UNESCO (2016) Education 2030. Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action. Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. UNESCO, Paris. http://bit. ly/2luPTqe (accessed 10 February 2017). 20. UNESCO (2015) Pricing the right to education: The cost of reaching new targets by 2030. Education For All Global Monitoring Report. Policy paper 18, July update. http://unesdoc. (accessed 10 February 2017). 21. UNESCO (2000) The Dakar Framework for Action. World Education Forum. April, Dakar, Senegal. basisdokumente/dakar_aktionsplan.pdf (accessed 15 August 2016). 22. UN-DESA (2015) Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York. 23. transformingourworld/publication (accessed 25 August 2016). 24. Van Wyngaardt M (2015) S. Africa third in global budget index. Polity, 17 September. (accessed 10 February 2017). 25. World Bank (2007) Sourcebook on Social Accountability. Washington DC: World Bank. 26. YEM Consultant Institute (2008) Community score card (CSC) manual for facilitators. Relief Society of Tigray (REST), Ethiopia. (accessed 11 February 2017). 27. ZWRCN (2002) Gender-based budgeting scoping study. Research report. ZWRCN, Harare. 28. ZWRCN (2003) Unpaid care work. Research report. ZWRCN, Harare.

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE WONA SANANA ECDE PROGRAMME in Mozambique: Lucia’s story Curated by Bukeka Mkhosi Bukeka Mkhosi manages the OSISA’s inventory of publications and periodicals, coordinates electronic and hard-copy dissemination of all OSISA materials, provides a full range of customer service for publication and subscription orders, and provides general support to the organisation’s Communications Unit. Her main responsibilities include preparing web content, media materials, administering the grant and accounts management system for the unit, and input into various communications products covering the OSISA’s work. She has been in the NGO sector for over eight years, and her experience includes project management, office administration, media liaison and event management. Prior to joining the OSISA, Bukeka served in various roles at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation as well as at ActionAid International. She holds a Certificate in Public Relations from UCT and is in her final year of a BA (Sociology and Psychology) at Wits. Lucia Sergio Massingue (5) lives in Chate, a rural village in northern Mozambique. The household is headed by her grandmother. The girl has been living with her grandmother and her many aunts – the wives and daughters of her grandmother’s sons – since her mother left home when Lucia was a baby. Lucia’s father is in South Africa. He lives with his grandfather and brothers and works as a miner. When Lucia’s parents divorced, her mother left her at her father’s home, as is customary in Mozambique, where children “belong” to their fathers. Also, in order to remarry, which sometimes is the only means of economic survival, a woman often has to leave her children behind. Lucia and several of her aunts’ children attend the new preschool in Chate, Escolinha de Chate. The preschool is a pilot project run by Wona Sanana, an organisation devoted to caring for and protecting children. Mozambique has a 58.8 percent literacy rate (CIA World Factbook, 2016) and preschools are unheard of, especially in rural areas. “It’s good for a girl or a woman to get an education, even if she gets married and she gets divorced, she can get a job and depend on herself,” says Lucia’s grandmother, Cecilia Muchanga. “If a woman gets an education, she can go to the cities to get jobs... and have access to many services.”

Cecilia is one of her husband’s two wives. She depends on planting and working in the fields to feed her family. In addition to the potential for continued education, she is happy that the children have somewhere to play while the women go to the field, instead of being left at home unattended.

Lucia walks out of the hut where she sleeps to brush her teeth.

Lucia gets ready to go to school.


Lucia washes her face after brushing her teeth.

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THE WONA SANANA ECDE PROGRAMME in Mozambique: Lucia’s story

Lucia heads off to preschool.

Lucia and her preschool friends watch and wait.

Lucia heads off to preschool, walking alongside her “brother” Admiro Lourenco Massingue (6). The household is made up of many women who are the wives and girlfriends of Cecilia Muchanga’s sons. Their children live together and view one another as siblings. Since the preschool started in the village, Cecilia says her grandchildren behave differently. “Now, Admiro is happy to wake up in the morning and go to school,” she says. “I don’t have to force him to go. He says he wants to go to school and play.” She adds, “When they come home from school, they play some games they learnt from school. Some other things they didn’t use to do before.”

Lucia and her friends meet and have some fun.

Lucia leans against the wall of the primary school. Lucia leans against the wall of the primary school as she waits, early in the morning, for the preschool to open. The various school buildings are near one another so as to encourage the preschool children to continue to primary school and beyond. Lucia and her preschool friends watch and wait as the primary school learners line up for the start of the school day. Lucia and her friends meet and have some fun before preschool starts in the morning. Dorcia Albino Chauke reads a book about a crocodile to the children. Typed notes of the text translated into English are taped to the pages. The preschool uses the same books in the local language of


Dorcia Albino Chauke reads a book about a crocodile to the children. Shangaan as well as Portuguese, the official language of schools in Mozambique. Dorcia struggles a little to read in Portuguese as she is a new teacher. The preschool initiative is also designed to create opportunities for young people in the village. Although those selected to become preschool teachers are generally those with the highest education in the TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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village (except for the formally trained primary school teachers), a few years of secondary school is usually required at most. Some of the preschool teachers left to find work in the cities as they are boosted by newfound confidence, skills and stipend money. Wona Sanana thus decided to train more teachers than needed, hoping to ensure the viability of the school despite teacher attrition.

Lucia tries to follow the teacher’s moves as she wiggles her hips while counting.

Lucia pushes her “sister” Zaida Silva Massinge in the face as they fight over some items in a bag.

Lucia and Zaida learn how to count during a math period.

Lucia and her classmates during a lesson about shapes like triangles, rectangles and circles. While Lucia helps with chores like fetching water at home, she is also allowed time to play and be a child and to attend preschool. This is in stark contrast to the situation of many other girl children in Africa who do not have time to attend school because they are forced to walk hours every day to fetch water. Zodwa, who lives nearby, is a relative of Lucia and a teacher at the preschool. She is the teacher with the most education at the school. After she became pregnant while studying Marketing in South Africa, Zodwa’s father sent her back to live with her mother in Mozambique. “It’s really a hiding [punishment],” she says. “He is very angry at me... He wasted so much money for me to study.”

Zodwa and Lucia share a laugh over a cell phone photo. Zodwa would like to go back to school, but it would be difficult in Mozambique as she does not know Portuguese well enough. So it helps to learn the language along with the children at the preschool.

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THE WONA SANANA ECDE PROGRAMME in Mozambique: Lucia’s story

Lucia at the swings outside the preschool.

An older girl in the village helps Lucia get her jerry can of water onto the wheelbarrow at a village water point, about 1 km from her house.

Lucia and Zaida do the dishes at home.

Zodwa Muchavia (22) carries a sleeping Lucia to her grandmother’s hut.

Lucia and her family end the day with a meal and talking by the fire.


TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: The Ugandan experience Christine Apiot Okudi Christine Okudi is an active member of the education community in Uganda and has over 20 years of experience in education and development. Having worked with many agencies in various capacities in the past, she is a valiant promoter of quality education and has a passion for working with and for girls. Christine works through supporting programmes that enhance teacher training, curriculum development, community involvement in education, and child protection. She is currently a scholar at Brookings Institution and her research is on the role of the Senior Woman Teacher (SWT) within Ugandan schools. She has an MA in Development Studies from Uganda Martyrs University. Twitter handle: @christine.apiot

Introduction Global efforts to educate women and girls have been unwavering. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 (achieving universal primary education by 2015); the new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 (ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning); and the Dakar Framework for Action on Education For All (eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005, and at all levels of education by 2015) are well-defined commitments adopted by most countries, including Uganda in 2000. However, numerous challenges have made it difficult to achieve the set targets. For example, in spite of these efforts, participants at Uganda’s Education Sector Review, held in August 2016, were shocked to hear that 67 under-age girls at one school, Mudodo Primary in Eastern Uganda, had become pregnant and dropped out of school since the beginning of 2016 (Nangonzi, 2016). It was reported that the school administration felt helpless because they were operating in a dysfunctional learning environment. The community seems to condone the situation and parents have chased away teachers who tried to follow-up on cases of absenteeism as well as the consumption of illicit substances (Nangonzi, 2016). Such reports illustrate the challenges that governments face in educating girls and retaining them in the education system. It must be noted that the situation in many other African countries is no different. The state has the ultimate responsibility to provide quality education for its citizens, and the gaps in a state’s ability to deliver are particularly worrying (Iversen, 2012).

The situation of girls’ education in Uganda In sub-Saharan Africa, only 56 percent of children complete their primary school education (Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports (MOESTS), 2015a) and this trend is reflected in Uganda’s secondary school statistics. According to the Ugandan Education Sector Annual Performance Report of 2015/16, only 35.9 percent of the girls who enrol complete their secondary education (ibid). Trends show that girls from rural areas are most affected and lag behind the boys in access, quality and efficiency indicators (MOESTS, 2015a). Despite the

numerous policies and initiatives to support girls’ education in Uganda, there are still considerable inequalities in the regional, social class and gender divides. This brings into question the country’s capacity to tackle the issues affecting girls’ education in terms of the implementation of policies and programmes through commitments, planning, budgeting, resourcing, training, supervision, monitoring, coordination, evaluation and reporting. Girls’ education needs in Uganda are unique because of the already existent imbalances caused by tradition and culture, resulting in many restrictions for girls compared to boys. Cultural beliefs and mindsets mean that families consider girls as children whom they are nurturing for another family. Therefore, they do not want to invest a lot in them (Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED), 2006). On the other hand, boys are seen as heirs and are accorded all the necessary support to empower them to lead the family in the future. However, instead of mitigating the challenges raised by culture and tradition for girls, one finds that certain aspects of today’s Ugandan education system have resulted in these practices flourishing, and further disadvantaging girls in school. This is because gender discrimination, stereotypes, and inequalities are transferred from the community to the school, and manifest in textbooks, subject choices, subject content, teachers’ delivery and school management. A chain reaction occurs whereby girls accept the gender stereotypes which result in early marriage and pregnancy, heavy labour responsibilities, stigma and school dropout, and domestic violence (Teach A Man To Fish, 2011).

Problems persist despite good initiatives and policies The overarching policy in support of girls’ education in Uganda is the National Strategy for Girls’ Education (NSGE) (Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), 2013a). Its five key areas of focus include the development of effective policy implementation frameworks, harmonisation of education sector programmes, mandatory resourcing, institutionalised research on girls, and capacity utilisation and enhancement of

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STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: The Ugandan experience

stakeholders. The key stakeholders working with government to support girls’ education in Uganda include agencies like the African Development Bank, UNICEF, Irish Aid, USAID, the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID), Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), among others. table 1 below provides a summary of key gender issues affecting girls’ education in Uganda and the current initiatives to address these problems. Some of these issues will be discussed in more detail thereunder. Lack of commitment in terms of budget and finances for girls’ education The budget for the education sector constitutes only 11.08 percent of the national budget of Uganda, which inadequately covers a number of education activities, especially considering that salaries take up 41 percent of education expenditure (MOESTS, 2015a). This has left the MOESTS with no choice other than to implement upgrades and improvements in phases. The MOESTS has also relinquished most initia-

tives that support girls’ education to the schools themselves and other organisations. However, this has resulted in inadequacies in various areas affecting girl’s education. Inadequate teacher training Gender divisions are normally reinforced in school by teachers who have not had training in inclusive and gender-responsive teaching and learning. Currently, the MOESTS has made provision for in-service training for teachers who would like to advance their knowledge. The government has been able to conduct training with support from organisations including the Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity (LARA) programme, which has supported the government in reaching 2 680 primary school head teachers, and 3 860 primary school level one (P1) teachers in training initiatives (MOESTS, 2015a). The government is also planning a retooling of teachers in preparation for the new lower secondary school curriculum (Uganda National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), 2013). However, these programmes are not part

TABLE 1: A Summary of key gender issues affecting girls’ education in Uganda and initiatives in place (MOESTS, 2015a; MOES 2013a) Education areas


Initiatives and capacities

Entry and participation

• • • • • • • •

• Implementation of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) • Child labour laws, child rights laws and child trafficking laws in place. Construction of seed secondary schools, and expansion of overenrolled schools

Attendance and retention

• Poor school management • Lack of clear roles and responsibilities for senior women teachers, i.e. counselling and guidance • Different reward systems for boys and girls • Inadequate mentorship and role models • Inadequate life skills training • Inadequate gender capacities among key stakeholders • Few female teachers • Violence against children in school • Inadequate child protection

Inadequate funds to pay school fees Discriminatory grading system Distances to school Lack of basic necessities Early sexual engagement Teenage pregnancy Child labour and domestic chores Low value assigned to girls’ education

Completion of • Inadequate career guidance quality education • Inadequate attention to life skills in curriculum • Inadequate extracurricular activities • Inadequate continuous professional development for teachers • Low literacy and numeracy levels • Inadequate facilities including classrooms, laboratories and libraries


• NSGE • Gender Desk in MOESTS • Construction of more classrooms and sanitary facilities • Construction of teachers’ houses • New law on violence against children in schools • Increased number of teachers, particularly female teachers • Career talks in 98 education institutions throughout the country • Trained 1 100 teachers (740 senior women and 360 senior men) • Secondary Science and Mathematics Teachers (SESEMAT) Training Project. • Digital science project

• Provision of instructional materials to schools under the School Facilities Grant (SFG), UPE and USE • Curriculum reforms • Local languages as mediums of instruction • Literacy and numeracy enhancement at primary and secondary levels • 24 877 copies of songbooks for the thematic curriculum • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fairs

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of a set Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme with a defined training scope and sequence for empowering teachers in their profession, as required by the Teacher Training Department of MOESTS. Furthermore, the Directorate for Education Standards (DES) is responsible for the support supervision system and tasked with lesson observations and school inspections for teachers, but these are not regularly conducted in schools. (Office of the Auditor General (OAG), 2010) Lack of female mentors, counsellors, role models and advocates for girls In Uganda, there are very few female teachers in schools and, in some instances, none. According to the MOESTS (2015a), the secondary education sub-sector registered a total of 58 051 teaching staff (26 210 government and 31 841 private), of which only 23.6 percent are female. Studies have pointed out the need for female teachers in schools to support and encourage gender equity (Kirk, 2006). MOESTS guidelines mention having one female teacher, known as the senior woman teacher (SWT), in schools. However, the role is not clearly discussed in policy and is an additional, different role to full-time class teaching (Okudi, 2016). MOESTS’ capacity to recruit teachers is greatly limited by the budget available to pay salaries. Few girls also make it through the school education system (UNESCO, 2013) and so there are fewer females to study further and qualify as teachers – a state of affairs which needs to end.

challenges in girls’ education has been the lack of schools close to girls’ boarding homes. This exposes the girls to risks on their way to and from school, such as rape and other forms of assault and abuse (Lulua et al., 2007). Parents are thus unwilling to let their daughters travel long distances or live far away in order to attend school. It has been noticed that girls are lured by petty traders, drivers and others who ply their trade on the paths to and from school; this appears to result in more early marriages, pregnancies and school dropouts for girls (Atuhaire, 2016). Under USE and UPE, the government and its development partners have supported the construction of 24 seed secondary schools, and concentrated on the expansion and completion of the existing schools in terms of classrooms and facilities like libraries, laboratories, staff houses and sanitary facilities (MOES, 2013b). However, these initiatives remain incomplete due to budgetary constraints. Inadequate girl-friendly infrastructure Lack of adequate sanitary facilities in schools is another infrastructure problem that affects girls’ ability to stay in school and complete their education in Uganda. There is a very high ratio of children to sanitary facilities in most schools: 50 or more children per latrine stance (Kyohairwe & Rugumayo, 2011). This affects girls, especially during menstruation, because the toilets are few, and do not have necessities like bath shelters, pails, water and soap. This is one of the contributing factors to low school attendance for girls during menstruation (Lee & Kerner,

Unsafe school environments Studies show that many schools in Uganda are unsafe for the girl child in terms of their having inadequate girl-friendly infrastructure, violence among students, general insecurity as well as harassment which all result in increased school dropouts. In a study done on violence against children in Ugandan schools, it was realised that the main perpetrators of violence against children in schools are the teachers and that this has been continuing unnoticed due to inadequacies in the school inspection function, and poor compliance with minimum school standards (MOESTS, 2012). Uganda has drafted guidelines for protecting children against violence at school (MOESTS, 2014). However, the policy will need to be implemented and supported for it to be effective in reducing violence and making schools safe for girls. Government and all stakeholders must ensure that policies developed are implemented and not merely written to fulfil international obligations, as has been the experience in Uganda and other nations (FIDH, 2012).

Lack of adequate sanitary facilities in schools is another infrastructure problem that affects girls’ ability to stay in school and complete their education in Uganda. 2013). MOESTS (2015b) issued a circular on menstrual management and hygiene (MMH) in schools for educational institutions, particularly primary and secondary schools. This was to ensure that all schools are providing girls with the necessary support for menstruation management and to reduce problems related to MMH as a threat to girls’ education. However, slow implementation and inadequate budgets are major challenges to proper MMH. There is a need for the government and relevant organisations in Uganda to use a holistic and inclusive approach to MMH, i.e., by conducting training on MMH, providing reusable sanitary pads, sanitary facilities, counselling and guidance to stop the stigma around menstruation, as well as continuous support and supervision for both the girls and teachers (Namutebi, 2013).

Long distances to schools There are not enough secondary schools in Uganda to cover the number of pupils, and existing primary schools need expansion of facilities to accommodate the ever-increasing number of children. Part of the

Curriculum inadequacies Uganda has been running a highly academic but irrelevant curriculum for decades which has resulted in a number of problems for girls,

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STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: The Ugandan experience

form process at the Ordinary Secondary Level in an effort to make it less academic and more skills based (Clegg, Bregman & Ottevanger, 2007). There is also a need for the new curriculum to address the issues of gender inequalities and ensure that all children are benefiting. However, the MOESTS is faced with challenges of funding the development and implementation of the new curriculum, resulting in continual postponement. It is hoped that Uganda will finally see implementation of the new curriculum in 2017 (Musoke, 2013). Gender-biased, inadequate and irrelevant instructional materials

including their inability to solve their own practical problems, and their being ill-prepared for life and work after school (MOESTS, 2011). The school system thus does not meet the needs of the students. SDG 4 calls for concerted action to help children and youths develop the skills they need for adult life and for this to start from early childhood, continuing through into adolescence (UN Division for Sustainable Development (DESA), 2016). The new emerging trends in Additionally, textbooks portray women and men in stereotypical roles, entrenching the gendered roles they are exposed to at home and elsewhere in society. In basic literacy, at the Early Childhood Development (ECD) level, stereotypes like “the father is the head of the household” are still evident in the books being used (Barton & Sakwa, 2012). education have identified skills development as one of the ways that girls can overcome some of the challenges they face in school. The curriculum currently depends on content which necessitates memorisation for examinations more than the attainment of skills (MOES, 2001, pp 25-26) which disadvantages girls who have many time-consuming domestic chores. The country is undergoing a curriculum re-


There is a high failure rate for girls in Uganda due to insufficient textbooks and instructional materials. In primary schools, the pupil-to-book ratio was 4:1 in 2015 (MOESTS, 2015a). Additionally, textbooks portray women and men in stereotypical roles, entrenching the gendered roles they are exposed to at home and elsewhere in society. In basic literacy, at the Early Childhood Development (ECD) level, stereotypes like “the father is the head of the household” are still evident in the books being used (Barton & Sakwa, 2012). The Ugandan Government has not reviewed the education system for over a decade to deal with global issues including the dire need for improved girl’s education. Textbooks are not context-specific and do not relate to real life situations. Hence they are detached from the realities of the learner. Schools also lack the necessary materials in terms of chalk, stationery, and laboratory equipment and chemicals (Read, Read & Okwenu, 2008). Poor academic performance by girls In Uganda, academic performance of girls is generally poor, particularly in the sciences (Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB), 2016). At the O and A Levels, the sciences are very expensive to teach in Ugandan schools because of the cost of the equipment and chemicals required. Fewer teachers are graduating in the sciences, and teaching skills in the sciences are thus scarce and in high demand. The Government, under the USE grant, has tried to provide schools with some laboratory supplies and also made an effort to provide higher salaries to science teachers to motivate individuals to study and work for these positions. However, despite these efforts by government, there are still inadequacies with regard to laboratory equipment and teachers (Female Education in Mathematics and Science in Africa (FEMSA), 1997). There is also an issue with the content of the sciences curriculum and the mode of delivery by teachers, which makes the subjects abstract and confusing to students. The MOESTS has a policy on encouraging girls to take up the sciences; conducts teacher training through the SESEMAT Training Project; the Digital Science Project; as well as its STEM fairs and competitions for girls (JICA, 2013). Most of these initiatives are small projects or pilots supported by partner organisations and thus do not cover all schools and reach all girls. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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School fees as a barrier to girls’ education Despite there being USE and UPE grants, schools still require funds for feeding the children, for books, stationery, sanitary wear, uniforms, and other school running costs. Research has shown that many parents cannot afford these fees, so they may not send all of their children to school and, in most cases, the girl child is the most affected (PLAN International Canada, 2016). UPE and USE have greatly supported the enrolment of children in schools. However, the policies have proven to be more favourable to urban dwellers and boys. The fees provided by government are inadequate, and the disbursement process is slow. Schools, particularly those in rural areas, depend heavily on fees paid by parents and girls are less likely to be sent to school are if there are costs involved (John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre, 2012). Inadequate coordination among stakeholders in girls’ education The persistent challenges in girls’ education prompted the launch of the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) Uganda Chapter in December 2004 with the intention of mitigating them. A gender unit was also established in the MOESTS to tackle gender issues in education. However, there is generally a lack of information in terms of research on girls and stakeholders in education. Some organisations are working with and through the government while others are working directly with schools and children. This has resulted in the duplication of programmes with efforts directed in one direction, leaving other pertinent issues unattended to, as reported in an evaluation report by UNGEI in Uganda (Ezati, 2011). Organisations also need to address the issues affecting girls’ education in terms of the still low retention from primary to secondary school, high dropout at the secondary school level, transition from secondary school to the world of work, skills development, low levels of literacy and numeracy, and teacher CPD.

Conclusion Despite signing and committing to various treaties to support education for all, girls especially still face numerous challenges, most of which could be solved through enhancing state capacity to deliver quality education. This can be in terms of improved policy implementation to bridge the gaps in infrastructure, teacher development, curriculum reform and child protection. There is commitment by the Government of Uganda and its development partners to close the gender gap. However, capacity is still lacking in certain areas and in terms of proper coordination, support, supervision, budgeting, planning, data collection, and analysis among the various stakeholders and the government. Uganda should seek and devise solutions adapted to the local problems unique to Uganda’s education situation for girls (Ojijo, 2014).

This indicates the need for specialised treatment for Ugandan girls’ issues and the need for adapted approaches has been realised globally, as mentioned in the recent report by the Education Commission (2016, p 17). Professionalisation in the teaching service is essential as well as for learners to be taught life skills for lifelong learning. Ensuring girls are able to remain in school, complete and transition to higher education, and receive focused support from their teachers in terms of counselling, mentoring, role modelling, support and skills development are failsafe means of uplifting communities.

REFERENCES 1. Atuhaire S (2016) Girls told to stop running after Boda Bodas. Daily Monitor, 22 April. News/National/Girls-told-to-stop-running-after-bodabodas/-/688334/3169612/-/x424f5z/-/index.html (accessed 26 January 2017). 2. Barton A & Sakwa LN (2012) The representation of Gender in English textbooks in Uganda. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 20(2): 173-190. 3. Clegg A, Bregman J & Ottevanger W (2007) Uganda – Secondary education and training: Curriculum, assessment and examination (CURASSE). Roadmap for reform. Draft Report. 4 September. World Bank and MOESTS. INTAFRREGTOPSEIA/Resources/Uganda_Curasse.pdf (accessed 13 January 2017). 4. Education Commission (2016) The learning generation: Investing in education for a changing world. Report by the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. 5. Ezati BA (2011) Formative evaluation of the United Nations Girls Education Initiative – Uganda. UNGEI, Kampala. https://www. (accessed 13 January 2017). 6. FEMSA (1997) Resources and facilities for teaching and learning of mathematics and sciences in school. FEMSA, Nairobi. 7. FIDH (2012) Women’s rights in Uganda: Gaps between policy and practice. International Federation for Human Rights, Paris. 8. Iversen E (2012) State of girls’ education in Africa. Paper for the Civil Society pre-COMEDAF V meeting. Plan West Africa, Abuja, 20-21 April. of%20Girls’%20Education%20in%20West%20Africa_ENG.pdf (accessed 26 January 2017). 9. JICA (2013) SESEMAT National Expansion Plan. JICA Technical Cooperation Projects, Kampala. 10. John Paul II Justice and Peace Centre (2012) A rapid assessment of the quality of Universal Primary Education in North and North Eastern Uganda. JP2JPC, Kampala. downloads/UPE%20Fact%20Finding%20Report.pdf (accessed 21 January 2017).

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STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: The Ugandan experience

11. Kirk J (2006) The impact of women teachers on girls’ education. Advocacy brief. UNESCO, Bangkok. images/0014/001459/145990e.pdf (accessed 13 January 2017). 12. Kyohairwe A & Rugumayo G (2011) Creating favorable environments for school children through school water sanitation and hygiene promotion: The case of Clean Water For Schools (CWFS) project in primary schools in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District, Uganda. Joint Efforts to Save the Environment (JESE), Kampala. 13. Lee S & Kerner B (2013) What do menstruating girls need in schools? Adolescent Health, 9(8): 30-33. 14. Lulua RL, Nkwake A, Sherburne L, Angura DA, Dralega O & Ekochu E (2007) Addressing school safety in Uganda. Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD), Kampala. http:// (accessed 28 January 2017). 15. MFPED (2006) Gender inequalities in Uganda: The status, causes and effects. Discussion paper 11. MFPED, Kampala. http:// Ministry_of_Finance.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 16. MOES (2013a) National Strategy for Girls’ Education (NSGE) 2014-2019. MOES, Kampala. NSGE__Strategy_FINAL__January_2015.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 17. MOES (2013b) The secondary sub-sector. Department of Secondary Education, MOES, Kampala.’t.pdf (accessed 21 January 2017). 18. MOES (2001) The development of education in Uganda in the last ten years. MOES, Kampala. International/ICE/natrap/Uganda.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 19. MOESTS (2016) The Education and Sports Annual Performance Report for the Financial Year 2015/16. MOESTS: Kampala. http:// (accessed 13 January 2017). 20. MOESTS (2015a) Education statistical abstract 2015. Statistics Section, Education Planning and Policy Analysis Department, MOESTS, Kampala. Abstract%202015.pdf (accessed 13 January 2017). 21. MOESTS (2015b) Menstrual hygiene management in schools. Circular No. 01/2015. MOESTS, Kampala. (accessed 28 January 2017). 22. MOESTS (2014) Reporting, tracking, referral and response (RTRR) guidelines on violence against children in schools. MOESTS, Kampala. 23. MOESTS (2012) Assessing child protection/safety and security issues for children in Uganda primary and secondary schools. MOESTS, Kampala.


24. MOESTS (2011) Skilling Uganda: BTVET Strategic Plan 2011-2020. MOESTS, Kampala. 25. Musoke R (2013) New O-Level curriculum pushed to 2017. The Independent, 21 June. html (accessed 21 January 2017). 26. Namutebi J (2013). Govt to distribute sanitary towels to school girls. New Vision, 19 August. vision/news/1329425/govt-distribute-sanitary-towels-schoolgirls (accessed 21 January 2017). 27. Nangonzi Y (2016) Mudodo PS Registers 67 Pregnancy Cases. The Observer, 5 September. stories/201609051212.html (accessed 26 January 2017). 28. OAG (2010) Value-for-money audit report on the inspection of primary schools by the MOES. OAG, Kampala. reports/1273681983Inspection_of_Schools.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 29. Ojijo P (2014) Review of education policy in Uganda. Working paper submitted to Uganda NCDC. 30. Okudi C (2016) Senior women teachers in Uganda secondary schools: Tapping into their potential to improve quality education for girls. Brookings Education Blog. https://www. (17 January 2017). 31. PLAN International Canada (2016) Six things keeping girls out of school and what PLAN International is doing about it. http:// (accessed 13 January 2017). 32. Read T, Read N & Okwenu J (2008) Textbooks, school libraries and the provision of information and communication technologies for secondary schools: A road map for reform. World Bank, Kampala. 33. Teach A Man To Fish (2011) Uganda: The impact of cultural attitudes on girls’ education. TAMTF Blog, 3 June. http://www. (3 January 2017). 34. Uganda NCDC (2013) Lower secondary curriculum framework document. NCDC, Kampala. 35. UN DESA (2016) Sustainable Development Goal 4. https:// (accessed 7 January 2017). 36. UNEB (2016) Statement on the release of 2015 UCE examination results, 29 January. UNEB, Kampala. downloads/STATEMENT%20OF%202015%20UCE%201ST%20 VERS%20%20Amended.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017). 37. UNESCO (2013) Girls education – the facts. Education for all global monitoring report. UNESCO. (accessed 28 January 2017).

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THE DANGERS OF CORPORATE POWER to the realisation of girls’ right to education Ashina Mtsumi and Zizipho Zondani Ashina Mtsumi is Legal and Research Assistant at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GIESCR) in Nairobi. She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi and the Kenya School of Law. Ashina has worked at the Saratoga Foundation for Women as a Research Fellow, as an editor at Manenoworld Youth Media, and she has served as an intern at the Kenyan Parliament. Her main interests include human rights research and mentorship. Twitter handle: @ashezz_m Zizipho Zondani is a Legal Fellow at the GIESCR and a graduate of Aberystwyth University (LLB) and the University of Essex (LLM). Zizipho has followed a career path in human rights advocacy and research. She has served at a number of NPOs including Aberystwyth Justice Centre, Amnesty International, Child Rights International Network (CRIN), and the UK-based CORE Coalition, a civil society advocacy organisation focusing on corporate accountability issues. Twitter handle: @ZiziZondani

Introduction There has been an increasing acceptance of the role of corporations in service delivery in education in Africa, particularly where there has been a loss of confidence in the State’s ability to provide such public services. This has been seen in countries where governments have introduced fee-free primary education but failed to provide enough schools, resulting in an inadequate number of quality schools. Failures in the public education system, as well as decisions supporting private involvement in education on the part of governments and donors, have allowed multinational corporations to establish chains of commercial low-fee private schools in economically disadvantaged communities of developing countries. However, civil society organisations, academics and human rights institutions have voiced concerns, particularly over the discriminatory impact of these establishments, including on girls. Despite this, international donors have continued to support the role of these corporations in education; directing funding to commercial low-fee private schools rather than towards strengthening of the public sector. The sustainable development agenda aims to achieve access to quality education for all, gender equality and the empowerment of women, and this article, therefore, seeks to address the question of the impact of commercialisation in the sector on girls’ access to education.

Corporate power in education Education targets under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 include ensuring all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education, and the elimination of gender disparities in education (UN General Assembly, 2015). The Incheon Declaration (UNESCO, 2015, para. 5) reaffirms education as a public good and fundamental human right necessary for the realisation of other rights. The States that signed the Incheon Declaration committed to

ensuring the provision of 12 years of free, publicly funded, equitable quality education (UNESCO, 2015, para. 6). However, can States take any measure they choose to achieve these goals? As States enter partnerships with the private sector, the question arises of what role, if any, commercial private actors should play in efforts towards education for all. While corporations have established chains of low-fee private schools in developing countries, doubt remains over the compatibility of corporate models of education with States’ human rights obligations, in particular, with regard to non-discrimination and equality in the delivery of social services (see, for example, Curtis, 2015; Riep & Machacek, 2016). This article offers a review of research conducted by human rights organisations and academics on the impact of privatisation on the right to education. It seeks to demonstrate how corporatised education results in discrimination and the restriction of education for the vulnerable and economically disadvantaged, with girls and women disproportionately affected. It starts by laying out the different types of private schools that exist and details the known impacts of a particular type of private schools, that is, the commercial schools. It looks at the specific concerns for the realisation of girls’ right to education and gender equality and offers conclusions based on the research reviewed.

Corporate growth in education What is corporate power in education? Before moving to the analysis of corporate actors in education, it is necessary to distinguish between the types of non-state schools. David Archer (2016) has proposed a breakdown of the typology of private schools. He highlights several types of non-State actors relevant to the

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African context including the following: community initiatives with limited capacity (generally in rural areas or urban informal settlements) in which the State is absent; English medium schools separate from government schools which do not teach in English; schools established and/or run by NGOs or faith-based organisations; inclusive schools for children with disabilities; schools organised in public-private partnerships; schools in the voucher system; elite private schools; private supplementary tutoring; and private, commercial for-profit schools charging low fees (ibid). This latter category is characterised by the fact that the schools are owned by companies with essentially commercial motives. It is the category that most reflects the growth of corporate power in education, and that is the focus of this article. Corporate power in education has essentially manifested itself in the last few years through the emergence and rapid growth of large, powerful corporate entities establishing commercial for-profit low-fee private schools, targeted specifically at the poor, and established primarily in developing countries – which corresponds to the last category of schools mentioned by Archer (2016). The Bridge International Academies (BIA) model One of the most striking and well-known examples of such schools is BIA, an American-based company registered in Delaware. BIA runs a for-profit commercial chain of over 450 nursery and primary schools in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, and India. It is also one of the providers running schools in Liberia’s pilot education public-private partnership (IFC, 2016). BIA schools currently teach over 100 000 pupils and aim

Corporate power in education has essentially manifested itself in the last few years through the emergence and rapid growth of large, powerful corporate entities establishing commercial for-profit low-fee private schools, targeted specifically at the poor, and established primarily in developing countries ...

to reach 10 million pupils in its classrooms by 2025 (BIA, 2013a). The company has gained the support of large corporations, investors and development partners including the Omidyar Network, Pearson (the world’s largest educational business), Novastar Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg Education Ventures, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (a branch of the World Bank Group), the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (BIA, 2013b). BIA advances, in their own words, an “Academy-in-a-Box” model (BIA, 2013a) which relies heavily on the use of low-cost technology by


teachers and management. A report on BIA in Uganda found that the curriculum used is standardised, scripted and delivered using tablets which give step-by-step instructions on how teachers should deliver lessons and interact with students (Riep & Machacek, 2016, p. 26). This method of delivering education works in the financial interest of BIA but fails to put the best interests of the children first. For instance, by using a script created in Boston, USA and delivered through low-cost tablets to its teachers in developing countries, BIA is able to employ unqualified teachers at a lower salary than that offered by public schools (Brown-Martin, 2016). A number of potential problems arise out of such an approach, especially when considering education as a right and in African contexts. These problems will be explored in this article. Impact of commercialisation of education on the realisation of the right to education Under international human rights law, States have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education. This requires the State to provide free, quality primary education, and progressively introduce free secondary schooling for all, especially for the most vulnerable groups without discrimination (CESCR, 1999, para. 6). Low-fee private school advocates, such as Professor James Tooley, claim that such schools provide a higher quality of education than government schools, increase girls’ access to education and meet parents’ demands (IIEP, n.d.). However, evidence on quality comparisons between private and public schools has been vague (ibid). Furthermore, civil society organisations (ActionAid (AA) International Kenya, 2015) and academics (Day et al., 2014) have emphasised that the fees charged by low-cost schools are not affordable for the poorest households. Where there is no free school and a child’s access to education is dependent on whether their school fees are paid, the result is the inevitable, discrimination primarily experienced by disadvantaged children. At the systemic level, States that do not address this situation violate the right to education of children from the poorest households, children with disabilities, girls, marginalised groups and others in a position of vulnerability. Confirming these concerns, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh (2014, p. 2), submitted a report to the UN General Assembly emphasising the need to preserve education as a public good in light of the “explosive growth of private education”. Singh highlighted the importance of States’ obligations in ensuring that there are regulations in place which are enforced for all private providers of education, including sanctions for abusive practices. He expressed the concern that fee-charging private education is quickly supplanting public education rather than supplementing it, contrary to international human rights law (Singh, 2014). The growing concern with the increased prevalence of commercial actors in education led the UN Human Rights Council in a ground-breaking resolution to urge all States to: TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

Students studying at the Micato-AmericaShare Harambee Centre Library in Nairobi’s Mukuru Slum MICATO SAFARIS

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regulate and monitor education providers and to hold accountable those whose practices have a negative impact on the enjoyment of the right to education, and to support research and awareness raising activities to better understand the wide ranging impact of the commercialisation of education on the enjoyment of the right to education (UN HRC, 2016, p. 3, para. 4). Some governments have made efforts to challenge corporate models of education. In Kenya, where BIA appears to have had significant success, the first BIA school opened in 2009 and, by 2015, BIA had expanded to 405 schools (Herbling, 2015). Responding to the rapid growth of private schools, in 2014 the Kenyan Government requested that these entities, including BIA, refrain from opening new schools until new guidelines for non-formal schools were released and existing schools reviewed to determine whether minimum standards for the registration of schools are met (ibid). In Uganda, where BIA opened schools at the beginning of 2015, the Minister of Education announced in August 2016 its intention to close all BIA schools in Uganda (GIESCR, 2016a). This followed the failure of BIA to obtain licences for their schools which the Ministry required them to obtain for the existing seven schools they had at the time before further expansion. However, the company proceeded to open another 54 schools without complying with government requirements. The Ministry decided to act

on their concerns which also centred on the use of untrained teachers, an unapproved curriculum and substandard infrastructure which put the safety of students at risk (Ministry of Education and Sports, 2016). In response, Bridge challenged the order, but it was upheld by the High Court in November 2016 (Next Billion, 2016). The company continues to resist closure and has appealed the decision, in the meantime, the order for closure has been delayed. Such efforts indicate that governments are beginning to take the risks commercial private education providers pose to the quality of education seriously, yet these are undermined where corporations are supported by international donors. Development agencies have held up the private sector as a partner in poverty alleviation, increasingly turning to corporations for the provision of social services. These partnerships, however, need to be interrogated. Donor support of corporates in education Some donors, in particular those in the USA, UK and the World Bank, have played a central role in the promotion of commercial schools. For example, the UK development agency DfID’s £15 million investment into Novastar Ventures has supported BIA funding (Right To Education, 2015, p. 20), while the IFC has invested $10 million in BIA (GIESCR, 2015, p. 6). Furthermore, DfID has even considered the funding

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of commercial models in its projects focused on alleviating gender inequality (Curtis, 2015, p. 8). For instance, in its Girls’ Education Challenge, which seeks to improve access to quality education of up to one million girls, the donor agency partnered with Coca-Cola in 2014 to advance educational and economic opportunities for marginalised girls and women in Nigeria (ibid). These relationships work in the interests of corporations because, for instance, DfID’s partnership with Coca-Cola is beneficial for the corporation’s sales strategy in Africa (Curtis, 2015, p. 8). Another partnership working in the corporation’s interest is that of DfID and Pearson, which seeks to increase investments in developing countries including through low-fee private schools (ibid). Although this support could have been directed towards strengthening the public education system, donors instead rely on corporations to provide education in developing countries, corporations with motives that appear to be questionable. Human rights bodies and experts who monitor States’ implementation of its obligations under international human rights treaties have expressed serious concerns about these developments, which they suggest could be contrary to the donors’ legal obligations. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has, for instance, criticised the UK’s funding of for-profit private schools run by business enterprises. The CRC (2016, para. 18) has recommended the UK: ensure that its international development cooperation supports the recipient States in guaranteeing the right to free compulsory primary education for all, by prioritising free and quality primary education in primary schools, refraining from funding for-profit private schools and facilitating registration and regulation of private schools. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) reached similar conclusions about the UK’s support to commercial private schools in developing countries in July 2016. The Committee Thus, international and regional human rights bodies have consistently stressed in the last years the urgent need to effectively regulate commercial entities and to address weaknesses in the public education system.

recommended that the State establish “an effective monitoring mechanism to regularly assess the human rights impact of its policies and projects in the receiving countries and take remedial measures when required” (CESCR, 2016, para. 14). Thus, international and regional human rights bodies have consistently stressed in the last years the


urgent need to effectively regulate commercial entities and to address weaknesses in the public education system (GIESCR, 2016b). Against this background of concerns on the human rights implications of the growth of commercial schools, the next section details the specific challenges that this phenomenon creates for gender equality and girls and women’s right to education.

Challenges to gender equality in education The detrimental impact of fees on girls It is well known that the intersection of gender and poverty creates particular difficulties for poor girls in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNESCO, 2016, p. 18). Gender-based barriers to education include early marriage, early pregnancy, menstruation and inadequate sanitation and infrastructure in schools. The discrimination experienced by girls relates to socio-cultural expectations which place value on the roles of girls and women in the home and males in the workplace. The development of fee-paying models of education related to the emergence of corporate actors in education worsens this situation. An essential way to address the challenges for equal access to education has been through the abolition of school fees (Nishimura & Yamano, 2013, p. 266). The introduction of fee-free schooling in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania saw significant enrollment increases (Sperling, 2005, p. 214). However, insufficient investment in public education increased pressure on these public schools. This resulted in a drop in the quality of public education on offer, and classrooms became overcrowded due to inadequate infrastructure. The proliferation of low-fee private schools, of which commercial schools are a subset, has taken place within this context. In the Kenyan urban areas of Nairobi, Eldoret and Mombasa, more than 50 percent of children attend low-fee private schools (Economic and Social Rights Centre Hakijamii et al., 2014, para. 14). This is explained by the short supply of public schools in informal settlement areas where private schools far outnumber public schools. For instance, in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest informal settlement, research revealed that, in 2003, that there were 76 private primary and secondary schools compared to only five government schools (Economic and Social Rights Centre Hakijamii et al., 2014, para. 14). Low-fee private schools pose a barrier to the education of disadvantaged children because of the fees they charge. Placing a monetary value on education works to the detriment of disadvantaged children, in particular girls. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education has highlighted the discriminatory effects of privatisation on girls’ education, stating: Privatisation in education also exacerbates discrimination against girls in gaining access to education. It is well known that families prioritise the education of boys over girls and that girls are less TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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likely to be enrolled in private education owing to parents’ perceived return on the costs of educating girls compared to that of boys (Singh, 2014, para. 47). In this sense, the fees charged by low-fee private schools act as a disincentive to the education of poor girls, which exacerbates gender discrimination and has negative implications on the life outcomes of girls. Said differently, girls are more vulnerable to being taken out of the education system due to economic pressures (GNECC & GIESCR, 2014, p. 5). By increasing the expenses of poorer households, low-fee private schools jeopardise the education of girls. In Uganda, 10 percent of girls aged six to 12 who are out of school do not attend due to the cost of education (ISER & GIESCR, 2014, p. 11). For boys, this figure is lower, at seven percent (ibid). The preference for the education of boys results from the perception that parents will enjoy a return on their investment once the boys enter employment, a view based on gender inequalities in the labour market (Ação Educativa et al., 2014, p. 5). Where the formal costs of education are eliminated, families are more willing to send their boy and girl children to school, as seen in the increased enrollment that followed fee-free schooling, and this particularly benefits girls (Sperling, 2005, p. 214). Thus, the growth of low-fee private schools in low-income communities risks reversing progress towards gender parity in education which occurred following the abolition of primary school fees (ISER & GIESCR, 2014, p. 11). Commercialisation and girls’ right to education Beyond the inequality created by fees, the development of corporate actors in education risks undermining other aspects of the right

to education. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh (2015, p. 23), has, for instance, outlined how education has a “humanistic mission”, and should be directed towards the individual’s full development and respect for human rights. Where these elements are undermined, the risk of perpetuating discrimination in society remains, in particular for girls. For instance, in Brazil, there have been concerns over the sexist and homophobic nature of education (Ação Educativa et al., 2014, p. 7). Equally, Pearson was recently under the spotlight for publishing a textbook used in South African schools which had to be reprinted after gaining media attention for implying a victim’s behaviour could lead to rape (Davies, 2016). Such issues affect both private and public schools, however, the lack of accountability in private schools is a cause for concern as it may act to shield them from wider scrutiny (Ação Educativa et al., 2014, p. 7). Confirming the fear that commercialised education can harm girls’ human rights, the impacts of low-fee private schools have been highlighted by UN human rights treaty bodies, which have expressed concerns over the effect of these private schools on the education of girls. For instance, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 2014, para. 32(e)) has raised concerns in Ghana on “the trend towards privatisation of education and the priority given to schooling of boys over girls, especially in rural areas.” Similarly, in Uganda, the CESCR (2015, para. 36(c)) noted the “[w]idening of the gap in access to quality education resulting from the increase in the provision of private education, disproportionately affecting girls and children of low-income families.” More generally, CEDAW has underlined that States must prevent discrimination by private actors providing education and other services or facilities through appropriate measures such as the regulation of

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private actors (CEDAW, 2010, para. 13). The CRC (2001, para. 10) has emphasised that gender discrimination must not be reinforced within education through arrangements limiting the benefits of female education and environments which discourage the participation of girls. Research by civil society organisations and the opinions of UN human rights experts thus clearly indicate that an education system in which low-fee private schools become the only option available for children from low-income backgrounds is one that reinforces gender discrimination. All this undermines the vital role the CESCR (1999, para. 1) recognises education must play in empowering women, by which they could lift themselves out of poverty. This is all the more disturbing as women are more likely than men to live in poverty, and a violation of girls’ right to education will likely see poverty continue to pass from one generation to the next (Moghadam, 2005, p. 7). Education is key to preventing this cycle of poverty and can improve the quality of women’s lives. Educated women are more likely to marry and have children later in life which reduces maternal mortality and increases child survival rates (Hobcraft, 1993, p. 161). For gender inequalities to be addressed, girls and women need access to good quality education, and public fee-free schools remain one of the best ways to encourage girls to begin and complete their schooling (Sperling, 2005, p. 214).

In this context, States must implement their human rights obligations, and ensure that whichever choice they make does not contravene international law. To facilitate this reflection, researchers and civil society organisations are currently developing “Guiding Principles on State obligations regarding private actors in education” (GIESCR, 2017). These Principles will unpack existing international law in order to provide a framework which clearly clarifies States’ obligations with regard to private schools, and, eventually, guide them as they formulate targeted policies.

Recommendations and conclusion Supported by policy makers, commercial schools have seen the weaknesses in the public education system and use the opportunity to make a profit from the poor, with dire consequences for marginalised groups, in particular, (poor) girls and women. Education companies, such as BIA, seek to grow in conditions conducive to their success. This is where the public education sector has failed, and the State has


directly or through legal loopholes created the conditions for their development, even though free, quality public schools offer disadvantaged children, and in particular girls, the best option for access to education. Ultimately, governments must ensure children have access to free and quality education. States must do better in delivering public education, with more quality schools available and accessible to those living in informal settlements and rural areas. However, at the same time as public education is improved, the reality of low-fee private schools and their potential current impacts on gender inequality and discrimination cannot be ignored. States must rise to the challenge, immediately strengthening and enforcing regulations for private schools, and international donors must refrain from undermining such efforts. Such regulations must take into account and address the diversity of private schools. Concerned individuals or communities who set up schools to address a desperate need, where there is a failure of the public system, should be distinguished from commercial schools – big or small – which seek to maximise their interests at the expense of a child’s educational experience. While the former is primarily motivated by access to education for children who have been neglected and seek to strengthen governments’ efforts (or what they should be), the latter are focused on a commercial motive to serve families who are seen as clients, putting them in competition with other private and public schools. Governments could consider assisting community schools. Here, smart regulations could allow for the progressive funding of community and non-commercial private schools, which increases as the government’s education budget does, until the school becomes a part of the public system, similar to what happened in the case of Harambee schools between the 1960s and 1980s in Kenya (Onsomu et al., 2004). Seen in this way, community schools have the potential to strengthen public education systems where, over time, they are supported to transition into the public education system (Right To Education, 2016, p. 30). However, where schools undermine regulations, bolder measures are required. For instance, where infrastructures put the safety of children at risk, governments are left with little choice but to close these schools down. Nevertheless, as they do so, they must ensure children continue to have access to education, but in safe schools where the best interests of the children are taken into account. Commercial schools, driven by their commercial interests, will continue to leave out those too poor or costly to educate, thereby reinforcing socioeconomic segregation, prejudice and inequality. This phenomenon must be addressed head-on. The experience of Uganda and Kenya indicate that the regulation of – sometimes powerful – commercial school chains can be challenging (GIESCR, EACHRights & ISER, 2017). Defining policies with regards to private schools and their impacts on gender and human rights more generally, in particular in contexts where resources are scarce, and the public system suffers from historical challenges, is an arduous task. In this context, States must implement their human rights obligations, and ensure that whichever TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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choice they make does not contravene international law. To facilitate this reflection, researchers and civil society organisations are currently developing “Guiding Principles on State obligations regarding private actors in education” (GIESCR, 2017). These Principles will unpack existing international law in order to provide a framework which clearly clarifies States’ obligations with regard to private schools, and, eventually, guide them as they formulate targeted policies. With the Guiding Principles, States will have a better understanding of how to protect the right to education in the context of privatisation. It will reinforce and put at the centre of the discussion the legal obligations that the human rights system places on States towards children as rights holders, rather than a focus on the arrangements with the greatest potential for profit. In any event, for girls to fully enjoy the right to education, governments will have to put in place free, quality public schools, with private actors only providing an alternative.

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8. CEDAW (2010) General recommendation no. 28 on the core obligations of States parties under Article 2 of the CEDAW, 16 December. CEDAW/C/GC/28. (accessed 7 February 2017). 9. CESCR (2016) UN CESCR concluding observations. UK, 14 July. CESCR/E/C.12/GBR/CO/6. (accessed 7 February 2017). 10. CESCR (2015) Concluding observations. Uganda, 8 July. CESCR/ E/C.12/UGA/CO/1. (accessed 7 February 2017). 11. CESCR (1999) Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. General comment no. 13. The right to education (art. 13 of the Covenant). 8 December. E/C.12/1999/10. (accessed 7 February 2017). 12. CRC (2016) Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the UK. 12 July. CRC/C/GBR/CO/5. (accessed 7 February 2017). 13. CRC (2001) Annex IX. General comment no. 1 (2001), Article 29 (1): The aims of education. 17 April. CRC/GC/2001/1. http://bit. ly/2k8sEwZ (accessed 7 February 2017). 14. Curtis M (2015) Profiting from poverty: DfID’s support for privatising education and health. Global Justice Now. http://www. (accessed 7 February 2017). 15. Davies R (2016) South African textbook asks pupils how victim’s behaviour led to rape. The Guardian, 8 September. https://www. (accessed 7 February 2017). 16. Day AL, Mcloughlin C, Aslam M, Engel J, Wales J, Rawal S, Batley R et al. (2014) The role and impact of private schools in developing countries: A rigorous review of the evidence. Final report. Education Rigorous Literature Review. DIfD. https://assets. Private-schools-2014.pdf (accessed 8 February 2017). 17. Economic and Social Rights Centre Hakijamii, GIESCR, EACHRights, the CRADLE, Kituo cha Sheria & Kenya National Union of Teachers (2015) Preliminary parallel report on the occasion of the examination of the report of Kenya. UN CESCR 56th session. (accessed 7 February 2017). 18. GIESCR (2017) Human Rights Guiding Principles on the Obligations of States Regarding Private Actors in Education. (accessed 7 February 2017). 19. GIESCR (2016a) Uganda to close the largest chain of commercial private schools over non-respect of basic education standards. (accessed 7 February 2017). 20. GIESCR (2016b) Human rights bodies statements on private education, September 2014 – October 2016. synthesisprivatisationV7 (accessed 7 February 2017).

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21. GIESCR, EACHRights & ISER (2017) Information statement on ongoing cases involving Bridge International Academies Ltd. (accessed 7 February 2017). 22. GNECC & GIESCR (2014) Parallel report on Ghana submitted to the CEDAW. Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition. http:// (accessed 7 February 2017). 23. Herbling D (2015) Ministry stops expansion of low-cost schools. Business Daily, 24 September. http://www.businessdailyafrica. com/Kenya-stops-expansion-of-Bill-Gates-backed-chain-ofschools/-/539546/2883462/-/8lt0tq/-/index.html (accessed 7 February 2017). 24. Hobcraft J (1993) Women’s education, child welfare and child survival: A review of the evidence. Health Transition Review, 3(2): 159-175. 25. IFC (2016) Built for Change: Inclusive business solutions for the base of the pyramid. (accessed 8 February 2017). 26. IIEP (n.d.) Private or public: Does the proliferation of low fee/lowcost private schools improve schools improve or impede learning for all? A debate with Dr Prachi Srivastava and Prof James Tooley. (accessed 7 February 2017). 27. ISER & GIESCR (2014) Alternative report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 56th Ordinary Session. October. uploads/2015/02/2014-10-08_Uganda_African_Commission_ privatisation-in-education.pdf (accessed 7 February 2017). 28. Ministry of Education and Sports (2016) Statement on Bridge International Academy. 9 November. Uganda Media Centre. https:// (accessed 8 February 2017). 29. Moghadam VM (2005) The “Feminization of Poverty” and Women’s Human Rights. SHS paper in Women’s Studies/Gender Research No. 2. UNESCO, Paris. Feminization_of_Poverty.pdf (accessed 7 February 2017). 30. Next Billion (2016) Uganda is shutting down 63 schools backed by Zuckerburg and Gates. Business Day, 7 November. http:// (accessed 8 February 2017). 31. Nishimura M and Yamano T (2013) Emerging private education in Africa: Determinants of school choice in rural Kenya. World Development, 43: 266-275.


32. Onsomu EN, Mungai JN, Oulai D, Sankale J & Mujidi J (2004) Community schools in Kenya: Case study on community participation in funding and managing schools. International Institute for Educational Planning, UNESCO, Paris. 33. Riep C & Machacek M (2016) Schooling the poor profitably: The innovations and deprivations of Bridge International Academies in Uganda. Final_28sept.pdf (accessed 7 February 2017). 34. Right To Education (2016) Ensuring Mixed Education Systems Comply with Human Rights (accessed 8 February 2017). 35. Singh K (2014) Right to education report to HRC. UN General Assembly 69th session, 24 September. A69/402 (accessed 7 January 2017). 36. Right To Education (2015) Alternative report – The UK’s support of the growth of private education through its development aid: Questioning its responsibilities as regards its human rights extraterritorial obligations. 58th Committee session. April. http:// (accessed 7 February 2017). 37. Singh K (2015) Protecting the right to education against commercialization. HRC 29th session, 10 June. A/HRC /29/30. (accessed 7 January 2017). 38. Sperling GB (2005) The case for universal basic education for the world’s poorest boys and girls. Phi Delta Kappan, 87(3): 213-216. 39. UN General Assembly (2015) Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, October 21. A/RES/70/1. ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E (accessed 7 January 2017). 40. UN HRC (2016) The right to education: Resolution adopted by the HRC 32nd session, 18 July. A/HRC/RES/32/22 HRCEducation2016 (accessed 7 January 2017). 41. UNESCO (2015) Incheon Declaration, Education 2030: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. ED/WEF2015/MD/3. images/0023/002331/233137E.pdf (accessed 7 January 2017). 42. UNESCO (2016) Global Education Monitoring Report 2016: Gender Review. UNESCO: Paris. images/0024/002460/246045e.pdf (accessed 28 January 2017).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE IMPACT OF PRIVATISATION of education on gender inequality Veronica Otuko Dzeagu Veronica Dzeagui is currently the National Coordinator of the GNECC, an umbrella body of civil society organisations engaged in promoting the right to education in Ghana. Her areas of interest are community development, promoting human rights, and working for an equitable and just society in which every individual can and realise their full potential and aspirations with dignity. Veronica is a member of the Privatisation in Education Consortium, a global movement fighting against the privatisation of basic education across the globe. In 2014, she represented the GNECC at the UN in Geneva during the review of Ghana’s implementation of the CEDAW. Veronica continues to work with teachers’ unions and other civil society groups to halt the menace of commercialisation in education. Twitter handle: @VDzeagu

Introduction The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reaffirm education as a fundamental human right necessary for the full realisation of all other rights (UN General Assembly (UNGA), 2014). Governments are rightfully charged, under Goal 4 of the SDGs, to ensure inclusive, equitable and life-long education opportunities for all, whether male or female. Under target 4.5 of the SDGs, governments are expected to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access at all levels of education and vocational training, irrespective of background or disability (UN, 2016). This charge stands in sharp contrast to the rising level of private education provision unfolding in many countries over the last decade. This phenomenon has generated intense debate among development practitioners, education and human rights activists, government officials and development partners about the implications for maintaining education as a public good and a fundamental human right (Mounmé & Saudemont, 2015). The primary responsibility for guaranteeing the right to education to citizens lies with governments. This responsibility is enunciated and elaborated on in the national constitutions of most countries, as well as regional and international conventions and treaties including the UN Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC), the UN Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (GNECC, GIESCR & PERI, 2014). For instance, the Constitution of Ghana states clearly that “basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all” (Government of Ghana, 1993), and places the primary obligation for the realisation of this right on the Government. The Education Act (Government of Ghana, 2008) also makes derivative “provision for free and compulsory basic education as well as private participation in the provision of education at all levels” (GNECC et al., 2014, p. 3). In recent times, however, the right to education has come under threat from private entrepreneurs seeking opportunities to make profits off the gaps in the provision of public education through the low-fee private schools model (Rolleston & Adefeso-Olateju, 2012). Low-cost private schools are for-profit private schools that target low-income households and are often located in underserved communities and

that claim to offer a quality education which is portrayed as better than the quality of public schools (GNECC et al., 2014). Some of these lowcost private schools are operated as franchises such as the Omega Schools and Bridge International Academies. These new education entrepreneurs do not only target the middle and upper classes of society, as was the case before, but also people in the lower income brackets (GNECC et al., 2014). The key question arising is where does this leave girls, given that on our continent girls’ education has for a long time been fully dependent on the availability of resources, and where parents are forced to make the difficult choice of either educating a girl or a boy. This article explores this question.

Selling the future away to private interests According to research by Rolleston and Adefeso-Olateju (2012), Reip (2013) and others, a number of governments, through deliberate action or inaction, are increasingly ceding their responsibility to private education entrepreneurs. The argument often given here is that lowcost private schools improve access and quality for the poor. A closer scrutiny, however, proves these claims to be untrue. An assessment of the operations of “low-fee” schools shows that they fall short against indicators for quality education such as availability of trained teachers, curriculum and sound education structures that enable the holistic development of the child. Most of these schools have untrained teachers, scripted curricula, inadequate infrastructure, poor accountability mechanisms to parents and the communities where they are established, and often avoid registration with the government to evade monitoring and even the possibility of paying taxes on their profits. Yet, many parents are forced to patronise these schools because they have no other alternative in the absence of government-provided public schools and the perception (which is backed by reality in many cases) that government schools perform poorly in standardised assessments (Rolleston & Adefeso-Olateju, 2012). Ghana is a case in point. The country ratified the CEDAW on 2 January 1986 (UN Treaty Collection, n.d.). Under the CEDAW, states have an imperative obligation to improve the status of women and girls by

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formulating appropriate policies and legislation and initiating programmes to address discriminatory practices against women and girls (ibid). These obligations have direct implications for the protection of the right of girls to quality education within the context of privatisation. It is a clear violation of the CEDAW and other related international conventions for States to leave what should be their primary responsibility to private and non-state actors. Ghana is among developing countries experiencing the worryingly rapid rise in the phenomenon of low-fee private schools despite ratifying several international conventions which define education as a public good. More concerning is the fact that studies and observations point to the fact that allowing private sector operators to offer education for a fee, without adequate regulation, is a violation of human rights as that would exclude the vast majority of poor people and widen inequalities in society (Rolleston & Adefeso-Olateju, 2012). Girls continue to be victims of many socio-cultural barriers to access and participation in education and are likely to bear a disproportionate burden of the impact of poverty on families compared to boys. Girls from poor households are more likely to drop out of school to support their family to earn an income or be married off “to lessen the burden on the family”. The low value attached to girls’ education is still prevalent and is likely to be exacerbated by allowing access to quality education to be determined by how much families can afford to and are willing to spend on each child. Therefore, girls are more likely to drop out of school before secondary level due to these barriers (Ação Educativa et al., 2014). Thus, although many African countries, like Ghana, have made good progress in bridging the gender gap in access to education, this could be eroded by the rise of privatisation which places more value Girls continue to be victims of many socio-cultural barriers to access and participation in education and are likely to bear a disproportionate burden of the impact of poverty on families compared to boys. Girls from poor households are more likely to drop out of school to support their family to earn an income or be married off “to lessen the burden on the family”. on the ability to pay rather than universal access. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 2015), in its concluding observation on Ghana in 2015, denounced the failure of the government to ensure that free education is delivered by not providing the resources needed to support the Free Compulsory Education policy. The UNCRC (ibid), among other things, expressed concern that private education was developing at an alarming rate without measures to ensure proper supervision and accountability. It noted the disparities in terms of access,


quality and allocation of resources between boys and girls as well as rural and urban areas and the resulting effect of many girls unable to access secondary education and reiterated that it is the responsibility of government to guarantee access to basic and secondary education irrespective of socioeconomic status or gender (UNCRC, 2015). Abrogating this responsibility to private interests is, therefore, tantamount to selling the future of the country to these interests.

Privatisation a solution or an additional challenge for communities? It appears that, for government, privatisation provides a quick and easy way out of their responsibility to guarantee good quality education for its citizens. However, the phenomenon whereby low-income households are also beginning to patronise private schools, in the form of “low-cost” and “low-fee” private schools. GNECC et al. (2014, p. 5) state: Girls are more likely to be denied access to education due to economic crises or declining household income. Furthermore, sociocultural practices are often prejudiced against girls from poor homes making them vulnerable to being denied schooling or being pulled out from school to assist with household duties or get married and assume child bearing and rearing responsibilities. More important to understand is that, for most parents, choosing these private schools is generally not a real choice: parents are merely trying to avoid the poor performance of government schools, overcrowded classrooms, teacher absenteeism, dilapidated infrastructure and generally deplorable conditions associated with public education (Ação Educativa et al., 2014). A closer analysis shows that private schools might not be affordable to the poorest people in society. Rather, choosing these private schools involves making huge sacrifices for such families (Carmona, 2009). As documented in the study by Reip (2013), when low-income households have to spend up of 40 percent of their earnings to send one child to school and have to sacrifice spending on healthcare and other basic needs, such schools cannot be described as affordable. Research by Reip (ibid) has shown that the approach adopted by some of the low-fee private school models, such as Omega schools, in which parents pay fees on a day-by-day basis is not really affordable. Instead, they end up exploiting low-income parents and force poor parents to choose between sending a child to school and having an adequate meal for the family. The pressure to pay daily fees becomes the major reason for absenteeism in these schools, and girls are again the most affected. The weaknesses in supervision and enforcement of laws also expose children to exploitation and sexual violence. The situation is particularly dire for girls from poor homes and those who live in rural areas (AA Ghana, 2011). The inability of the government to monitor private schools worsens this unfortunate situation. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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The CEDAW Committee (2014) has recognised that privatisation in education could undermine the right of women and girls who make up the majority of the poorest and most vulnerable in the society, in violation of the CEDAW and other international conventions which seek to protect the rights of children. In the concluding observations of the CEDAW Committee (2014) on the implementation of the CEDAW by Ghana (State party), the Committee expresses concern about the many challenges girls still face with access to education. These are: low enrolment and completion rates of girls at all levels of education, regional disparities in access, economic and cultural barriers, high dropout rate among girls, teenage pregnancies, child and forced marriages, urban/ rural inequalities, sexual abuse and harassment, lack of education facilities and qualified educators (CEDAW Committee, 2014, p. 9). And, for the first time, the Committee also mentions privatisation of education as a threat to girls’ education considering the priority given to schooling of boys over girls in many countries (ibid). The CEDAW Committee (2014) reaffirms the responsibility of the Government of Ghana to ensure girls’ equal access to all levels of education by providing adequate resources and facilities, and by addressing gaps in policy that create barriers to access. Additionally, the Committee (ibid) calls for the strengthening of monitoring and supervision of schools so that quality education, including a safe and secure school environment, is provided for every child, whether in a rural or urban area or in a public or private school.

How far has Ghana gone and with what effect? The fact that there is an inadequate supply of public schools combined with gaps in the existing legislation, weak monitoring and enforcement mean that the number of low-fee schools in low-income communities keeps growing. Despite the growing number of private providers, there is not much data and research on the phenomenon. Interviews with some education directorates revealed that, even though there is some data, the authorities do not even know the exact number of private schools in operation and what goes on in the schools (GNECC, 2015). This has eroded the accountability schools have to the communities where they are established as well as to the government. It is worrying that the private education unit of the Ghana Education Service, which is the agency responsible for compiling data on private schools, is under-resourced and unable to perform its role effectively (GNECC et al., 2014, p. 10). A visit to some of these schools also shows that inadequate provision is made to ensure equity and inclusion in that the structures are not disability friendly and children who cannot afford tuition and additional levies charged by the school are made to leave (GNECC et al., 2014). There is also serious concern about the narrowing of the basic education curriculum by the majority of these private schools into the accumulation of high grades and passing of examinations, thereby undermining children’s chance of a holistic education and eroding professionalism in teaching (Ghana National Association

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of Teachers (GNAT), 2016). Fortunately, following the review of Ghana by the UN Committee on CEDAW and the CRC, the government has expressed commitment to “review the regulatory regime for private schools, register all private schools and strengthen monitoring to ensure that quality standards are not compromised” (Ghana Ministry of Finance, 2015, p. 124).

Any hope to turn the tide in pursuit of the SDGs? To attain the SDGs, states have a binding responsibility under international law to provide free compulsory primary education. This responsibility goes beyond integrating conventions into national legislation to including deliberate actions to bridge the gender gaps in access to education at all levels. States also have an obligation to invest more resources in public education, and to set and enforce minimum standards that are gender-sensitive and guarantee quality and holistic education to all children, regardless of their socioeconomic background. This includes ensuring that education facilities are available in sufficient quantity, are accessible to everyone, and the education delivered is relevant and responds to the cultural and social needs of the society. Perhaps if Ghana, and indeed other African countries facing similar situations, heed the SDGs’ call, they will reclaim their role and responsibility to ensure women and girls on the continent have access to good quality education, and the type of education that will enable them to contribute more meaningfully in shaping the kind of Africa we want come 2030. To attain the SDGs, states have a binding responsibility under international law to provide free compulsory primary education.

REFERENCES 1. AA Ghana (2011) The status of girls education and violence: A summary report of baseline survey of gender-based patterns in the Nanumba North and South Districts of the Northern Region of Ghana. AAG, Accra. 2. Ação Educativa, AA, ACEA, ASPBAE, Brazilian Campaign for the Right To Education, Education International et al. (2014) Privatisation and its impact on the right to education of women and girls. Written submission to the half-day general discussion on girls’/women’s right to education. (accessed 7 February 2017). 3. Carmona MS (2009) Report on the question of human rights and extreme poverty. UN Document A/64/279, 11 August. http://bit. ly/2ldp6iv (accessed 1 March 2017). 4. CEDAW Committee (2014) CEDAW concluding observations on the combined sixth and seventh periodic reports of Ghana. 14 March. (accessed 1 March 2017).


5. Ghana Ministry of Finance (2015) The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2016 Financial Year. Ministry of Finance, Government of Ghana, Accra. (accessed 16 March 2017). 6. GNAT (2016) Policy brief on privatization and commercialization of education in Ghana. GNAT, Accra. 7. GNECC (2015) Interviews done with the District Education Directorate in the Ga West District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana during a survey carried out on school accessibility and quality. Unpublished. 8. GNECC, GIESCR & PERI (2014) Education privatisation in Ghana and its impact on the realisation of the right to education for girls. Report submitted to UN Committee on CEDAW and UNCRC during Ghana’s review. (accessed 1 March 2017). 9. Government of Ghana (2008) Education Act No. 778. Government Printer: Accra. 10. Government of Ghana (1993) Constitution of Ghana. Government Printer: Accra. 11. Mounmé R & Saudemont C (2015) Overview of the role of private providers in education in light of the existing international legal framework. Investments in private education: Undermining or contributing to the full development of the human right to education? UNESCO working paper on education policy no. 1. 12. Reip CB (2013) “Omega Schools franchise in Ghana: ‘Affordable’ private education for the poor or for-profiteering?” In Macpherson I, Robertson S & Walford G (Eds), Education Privatisation and Social Justice Case Studies from Africa, South Asia and South East Asia (pp 271-272). Symposium Books: Oxford. 13. Rolleston M & Adefeso-Olateju A (2012) De facto privatisation of basic education in Africa: A market response to government failure? A comparative study of the cases of Ghana and Nigeria. Education Support Program working paper no. 44. OSIWA. http:// (accessed 1 March 2017). 14. UN (2016) Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Web Services Section, Department of Public Information, UN. (accessed 27 February 2017). 15. UNCRC (2015) Concluding observations on the combined third to fifth periodic reports of Ghana. 9 June. UNCRC, Geneva. http://bit. ly/2mdpjlb (accessed 1 March 2017). 16. UNGA (2014) Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals, 68th session, 12 August. (accessed 13 September 2016). 17. UN Treaty Collection (n.d.) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). UN, New York. (accessed 27 February 2017). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

ENGENDERING NEW AID MODALITIES (budget support) for girl’s education in Uganda: Opportunity for involving the women’s movement Tabitha Mulyampiti Dr Tabitha Mulyampiti holds a PhD in Political Science and is presently a Senior Lecturer at the School of Women and Gender Studies in Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Working with a strong people-centred approach to addressing development concerns, Dr Mulyampiti has experience in conducting political economy and institutional analyses using various methodologies such as a political settlement approach. She has professional experience and specialist expertise in public financial management (PFM) and budgeting. She is familiar with gender-responsive budgeting, gender and equity policies, and programme design and evaluation. Dr Mulyampiti has made use of her excellent analytical skills to assist numerous organisations, and she has worked with governments and universities within and outside Africa. Her research interests revolve around governance, politics, social accountability and development. Tabitha is particularly inspired by people who dedicate their lives to striving for justice so that others may be free. Email: and

Introduction Over the years, the global community has agreed upon, and many writers have demonstrated, the importance of girls’ education. One reason being advanced is the direct correlation between women’s education outcomes and development (Birchler & Michaelowa, 2016; Ezati, 2011). The education of girls and women “creates powerful poverty-reducing synergies and yields several inter-generational gains” (Ezati, 2011, p. 11). Ezati (ibid) says that, in developing countries, “women represent an untapped source of human capital for development, policies to reduce gender gaps in access to education can yield economic and social benefits that accrue to individuals, families and the society at large.” Hoare (2009, p. 1) states that it cannot be denied that “girls’ experiences at school have a profound impact in determining the women that they later become, in terms of aspirations, confidence, and capacity to support themselves independently and stand up for their rights”. Hoare (ibid) further says: As such, one would think that campaigning for, and helping to design, education in schools to challenge dominant beliefs and practices that harm women and girls, promote gender equality, and ensure that girls leave school confident and aware of their rights would be a key aspect of the work of women’s rights organisations at the local, national, and global level. The girls’ education movement in Uganda is championed by several organisations including the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), which has worked successfully with other women’s organisations such the Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWE-U), Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), Girl Child Network Uganda (GCN), Action for Development (ACFODE) and the Girls’ Education Movement (GEM). Girls’ education has been identified as key to achieving Education For All (EFA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs acknowledge education as an indispensable tool for helping people

realise their capabilities and the completion of a primary school cycle has been prioritised. On the other hand, resources for achieving the education goals hinge on the current funding modalities and disbursement channels between governments and their funding partners. The new aid modalities (NAMs) operational in Uganda include the Common Country Assessment (CCA), UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), poverty-reduction strategy papers and sector-wide approach to planning (Ernst, 2011). However, feminist economists and gender activists contend that the manner in which the NAMs, particularly budget support, are being implemented by development partners and national governments requires constant monitoring and remodelling if girls and women are to benefit (Holvoet & Inberg, 2012; Kindornay & Samy, 2012; Schoenstein & Alemany, 2011; Raaber & Aquiar, 2010). Collinson, Derbyshire, Schmidt and Wallace (2008) and Kerr (2007) (in DAC, 2008) conducted research on organisations working on the rights of women globally. Collinson et al. (2008, cited in DAC, 2008, p. 3) found that women’s organisations worldwide were faced with funding and organisational challenges and that there is “growing concern about the fast changing aid structures, such as direct budget support, pooled funding schemes for supporting civil society and other forms of donor alignment and their possible implications for work on gender equality and women’s rights.” The study reveals that women’s organisations would generally require twice their budget to meet all their goals, while funders felt that they were “stuck in a vicious cycle where small women’s groups are seen as not having the absorptive capacity to grow” resulting in slow or no growth in funding (Kerr, 2007, cited in DAC, 2008, p. 3). Yet, these women’s movements and rights activists still complain that they are not being included in budgeting processes or in the platforms that shape monetary and fiscal policies in the country (Holvoet & Inberg, 2012; Kakande, 2010). Women’s rights activists object to their exclusion from important budget debates, and they often lack access

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to key information that influences and shapes monetary and fiscal policies and budget allocations resulting in very low growth in funding (Kakande, 2010). This paper examines the extent of gender responsiveness, particularly under budget support, and identifies challenges to women’s organisations and feminist groups doing work on girls’ education in accessing donor funds which prevents sustained efforts to improving girl child education. It examines ways in which donor funding has been limited to certain areas of the education system while crippling the long-term impact programmes that relate to overall structural gender inequalities that affect girls’ education. The purpose is to identify possible entry points for women’s movements to effectively participate in and influence these processes for improved and equitable service delivery.

Uganda’s aid architecture and the NAMs The NAMs, an outcome of the 2005 Paris Declaration, the subsequent 2008 Accra Agenda for Action, and the 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, have not yet been fully interrogated in Uganda to reveal how they impact on various government and community development goals and agendas. Operating according to the principles of ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results and mutual accountability, these NAMs are a shift away from the funding of micro projects to supporting macro programmes such as Sector-Wide Approach (SWAp) programmes and general state budget (General Budget Support – GBS). This new approach apparently involves dialogue and consensus between the donors and the recipient countries, especially on broad objectives such as poverty reduction. What is new

Rarely is donors’ attention directed to the most-neglected needs, especially in tackling the genderbased factors that limit girls’ access to education and prevent their successful completion of school. is the NAMs’ focus on major national development processes in which donors need not worry about the detail and could commit to providing the recipient government with a stable source of funding and some flexibility in expenditure (Kindornay & Samy, 2012; Enrst, 2011). However, this approach means that aid to meet specific objectives, such as enhancing girls’ education, could suffer if budget processes are not closely monitored. Uganda depends on budget support to finance nearly half of its total government expenditure, most of which are non-traded goods and


services. Budget support provides substantial liquidity for the economy, and supplies a growing share of Uganda’s total aid receipts, rising from an average of 28 percent during the 1990s, to the current level of about 42 percent, after peaking at 52 percent in 2002, and stabilising at 36.3 percent in 2010/11 and 2011/12 (Government of Uganda (GoU), 2012). Budget support is, by definition, the aid modality which uses country Public Finance Management (PFM) systems, and is completely integrated into the budget planning and execution process (Ernst, 2011; Kakande, 2010). It is “the transfer of financial resources of an external financing agency to the National Treasury of a partner country, following the respect by the latter of agreed conditions for payment” (European Commission, 2011, p. 35). The transfer is made upon the fulfilment of certain general conditions, specific performance indicators and progress in implementation. It is the funding modality available to most donors that reflects a macroeconomic and global approach to development cooperation. GBS is accompanied by policy dialogue between donor and recipient governments. It involves alignment with country policies as well as harmonisation among contributing donors (Woestman, 2009, p. 4). In line with this, development partners (including DfID, African Development Bank, Denmark, the European Commission, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the World Bank, among others) signed the Uganda Joint Assistance Strategy (UJAS) (Enrst, 2011). UJAS partners pledged to finance the implementation of poverty eradication programmes over the 2005 to 2009 period. While the UJAS has since been replaced by the Government Aid Policy in Uganda, the innovative idea behind the joint assistance strategy continues to spread. Under UJAS, the partners provided about US$ 800 million, which was divided between grants and budget support, and included US$ 80 million in debt relief. Donors have also moved to on-budget support, meaning that they have been financing approximately 30 percent of the Ugandan Government’s budget (GoU, 2012). Additionally, donor funding, through NGOs, the private sector and humanitarian relief provided through the UN system, was estimated at between US$ 200 and US$ 300 million per year (ibid).With regard to the requirement of funding the budget set out in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), the UJAS partners provided an average of US$ 300 million per year as direct budget support and US$ 250 million per year as project support (GoU, 2012). In the 2010/11 financial year, the total external resources in the national budget amounted to US$ 821 million (including debt relief), compared to US$ 878 million received in the 2009/10 financial year (Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, 2011). Therefore, in absolute terms, official development assistance (ODA) contributed substantially to Uganda’s overall resource envelope over that period. A large portion of the budget support for poverty reduction expenditures has been channelled through the Poverty Action Fund (PAF) (Enrst, 2011). The PAF is a ring-fenced fund which targets social sectors and excludes defence and public administration expenditure. All programmes included in the PAF are aimed at reducing poverty and delivering service TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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to the poor (Enrst, 2011). This has directly benefitted sectors such as health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, and roads. Budget support has been noted to have limitations. In the education sector, for instance, high-level budget support discussions in Uganda have tended to focus extensively on disbursement and upstream engagement with central government stakeholders, but not with input from communities to ascertain their needs (Kakande, 2010). Rarely is donors’ attention directed to the most-neglected needs, especially in tackling the gender-based factors that limit girls’ access to education and prevent their successful completion of school (Ezati, 2011; GoU, 2015, 2012; Kasiko, 2014; Mpyangu, Ochen, Onyango & Lubaale, 2014). Consequently, gender in education becomes a secondary consideration or is ignored.

Education and the NAMs The GoU has made serious strides towards the implementation of the EFA goals. These include the adoption of the SWAp to funding education in order to maximise benefits, the decentralisation of governance, and management of education; the adoption of free Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997, Functional Adult Literacy in 2001, and Universal Secondary Education (USE) in 2006; expansion of infrastructure in schools; introduction of affirmative action towards the education of the girl child and vulnerable groups; promotion of private-public partnerships; and promotion of guidance and counselling in schools (OECD, 2015a; Ezati, 2011). For example, 54 secondary school science laboratories have been constructed and equipped with support from ADB, and 14 primary teachers’ colleges have been constructed, among other initiatives (Oonyu, 2012). The Gender Taskforce in the Ministry of Education (2012) also highlights strategies initiated to address the issue of girls’ education. These

include the Strategy for Girls Education (2015), the conceptualisation of gender in the Revised Education and Sports Sector Plan 20072017, the formulation of the Gender in Education Policy (2009), and the Promotion of Girls’ Education (PGE) and Equity in the Classroom (EIC) initiatives which are “aimed at facilitating equal participation of girls and boys in the classroom and the basic education programs for marginalized communities” (Ministry of Education Gender Taskforce, 2012, p. 5). External ODA has played a significant role in making these inroads. External support to the education sector, through Sector Budget Support (SBS), and later the GBS, has spanned several years, beginning in 1998/99 and involving eight different international donors including the World Bank, USAID, Irish Aid and the Belgian Embassy. SBS emerged following the GoU’s commitment to UPE as embodied in the Education Sector Investment Plan (ESIP) and in response to the establishment of the PAF as a set of earmarked expenditure programmes intended to support the implementation of the national development strategy (GoU, 2015). The government has been alive to the gendered needs in education, and a number of gender-responsive initiatives have been developed. The specific gender-responsive interventions include that all newly constructed school buildings must provide separate latrine stances for girls and boys; senior women teachers must be appointed to provide psycho-social support, especially to adolescent girls; the curriculum (including teaching guides) has been reviewed to remove gender stereotypes; and teachers have been targeted by awareness creation initiatives encouraging gender-sensitive language in teaching, as well as encouraging girls to excel and take science-based subjects (Ezati, 2011). Gender has been incorporated in the Teacher Development Management System (TDMS) used for in-service teacher training. Hence, the Ugandan Ministry of Education Gender Unit (2012)

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is increasing in importance and visibility, although this is through funding entirely outside the government budget. Despite these apparent achievements, the primary education sub-sector has exhibited persistent weakness in the education quality, as measured by learning achievements such as literacy and numeracy test scores (Ezati, 2011; Uwezo, 2012). This is exacerbated by non-enrolment, on-going absenteeism and high drop-out rates, especially among girls (Mpyangu et al., 2014). Operational efficiency and value for money in the sector have also remained limited. Ezati (2011), in an evaluation of UNGEI Uganda, notes that one-third of the girls compared to half of the boys enrolled in primary were still in school at the age of 18 in 2011. A decline in completion rates in primary schools from 63 percent (71 percent male, 55 percent female) in 2001 to 52 percent (55 percent male, 48 percent female) in 2011 was noted (p. 24). Girls are the largest proportion of out-of-school children, and their performance is below that of boys in national examinations (Ezati, 2011). “The dwindling completion rate is attributed to class repetition estimated at 11 percent and school drop outs at 6.7 percent” (pp 24-25). Furthermore, despite the average US$ 302 million spent annually on primary education, almost 70 percent of children are likely to drop out because hidden costs are too high for parents with limited resources (Mpyangu et al., 2014). It is difficult to establish the amount of money allocated to implement gender-responsive programmes, projects or schemes because allocation is by sub-sector (i.e., primary or secondary level), or by economic category (recurrent wage bill, materials and maintenance), or capital expenditure (construction, furnishings, etc.) (ibid).

Women’s rights advocates, organisations and movements around the world have been striving to create and push for possible alternatives to the neoliberal economic framework that has a negative impact on the lives of so many people, but disproportionately for women.

The Uganda Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) country report (OECD, 2015b, p. 16, 23) identifies obstacles such as the “discriminatory family code” and child marriages, which are at 62 percent in some parts of the country and are acceptable according to the Customary Marriage Act (1973) but contravene the Ugandan Constitution on the legal age of marriage. Similarly, challenges are posed by traditional gender roles that persist across generations which place the burden of unpaid care work more on girls and women compared to their boy counterparts (OECD, 2015b). “One-third of the population believe that women do not enjoy the same opportunities as men to access justice... The same share agrees that unequal access is justified” (p. 7).


Another study estimated that close to four million Ugandan girls in their puberty live without proper sanitary care, including at schools, and, as a result, one out of 10 girls skip school or drop out entirely (Build Uganda, 2016). Other studies also reveal that some schools do not have the facilities required to manage menstruation effectively; there are no private rooms for girls to clean up, and change their pads and clothes (Jewitt & Ryley, 2014; Kasiko, 2014; Build Uganda, 2016). This issue ought to be a core agenda item when the GoU discusses budget support and negotiates budget allocations to assist girls. However, this has not been the case, as an official in the Ministry of Education confirmed that such agenda items are not at all part of the budget discussions (Kasiko, 2014). In the end, this responsibility is dumped on private organisations and sometimes individual politicians who have occasionally stepped in and provided feminine hygiene products for a limited number of girls (ibid). A UNGEI (n.d.) evaluation on Uganda sums up these barriers as: • N egative attitudes towards girls’ education among those who make and implement policy. • Lack of response to the needs of young female students. • Child marriage and teenage pregnancy. • Armed conflict. • Inadequate sanitation and hygiene facilities. • Few female teachers. • Inadequate school infrastructure, such as classrooms and furniture. • Sexual harassment and gender-based violence and discrimination in schools. • Health concerns, particularly HIV/AIDS, that lead to absenteeism when girls must care for sick parents or take responsibility for their families when parents die.

NAMs, donor challenges and the women’s movement: Impact on girls’ education Mostly, feminist economists have argued that, in the current global context, persistent systemic crises are part and parcel of a failed development model that sees economic growth (measured in GDP) as both the meaning and ultimate goal of development, despite evidence that growth on its own does not lead to social justice for all (Holvoet & Inberg, 2012; Kindornay & Yiagadeesen, 2012; Ernst, 2011; Raaber & Aquiar, 2010). Such models have consistently proved themselves (especially through these systemic crises) to be incapable of ensuring human rights and better livelihoods. Such models are also gender blind, patriarchal and indifferent to human rights, particularly women’s human rights (Schoenstein & Alemany, 2011, p. 6). Women’s rights advocates, organisations and movements around the world have been striving to create and push for possible alternatives to the neoliberal economic framework that has a negative impact on the lives of so many people, but disproportionately for women. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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Riddell and Nino-Zarazua (2016, p. 23), in their assessment of foreign aid to education, allude to the gaps between “what aid does and what it could potentially achieve, especially in relation to its contribution to improvements in educational quality.” They point out the distortions caused by focusing on enrolments and insufficiently on quality and sustainable education outcomes. That development partners’ focus on demonstrable short-term projects undermines the long-term impacts on education systems (Riddell & Nino-Zarazua, 2016). By noting the difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of aid to education, they show that the challenges are compounded by education’s multi-purpose functions and especially by “what goes on outside schools” rather than in schools (p. 23). Another key challenge is that gender is not adequately prioritised by the World Bank and other donors, and this is a condition against which budget performance is assessed. An evaluation of gender sensitivity in World Bank investments by Lauterbach and Zuckerman (2015, cited in UNU ReCom, 2015, p. 1) shows that: The World Bank began to pay attention to gender in the 1970s, and in recent years it has started to make gender a true institutional priority. However, [the World] Bank investments in key social and economic sectors still routinely ignore women’s vulnerabilities and needs, decreasing aid efficiency and undermining women’s rights… it is clear that the objective of economic efficiency still overshadows the stated commitment to women’s equality… [and there is] superficial inclusion of women’s concerns in many of its investments. This agrees with Ahikire, Musiimenta and Mwiine (2015, p. 27) who state that “feminised poverty, gender-based violence and the generalised lack of respect and fulfillment of women’s rights seem to be the norm as opposed to the exception” as if decision makers are working to frustrate the feminist agenda. An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 2014) report shows that donors do not prioritise gender mainstreaming. The indicators for budget performance in the key sectors of education, agriculture, water, health and economic infrastructure show that gender is not targeted as a “principal objective” while, in a few cases, gender is noted as a “significant objective” at best (ibid). The report also shows that in health and economic infrastructure there is no screening for gender (OECD, 2014). A “principal objective” explicitly targets gender, without which an activity would not have been undertaken. The report also shows that, in relative terms, aid in support of women’s equality organisations is negligible. A relatively large percentage of aid was supplied for sectors which have gender issues as a “significant objective”, that is, those which place importance on gender equality, but it is a secondary objective of their activities and not the principal reason for their work (OECD, 2014). With much aid going to sectors with gender as a significant but not primary objective, gender

remains a secondary concern in practice despite the emphasis on gender issues by most donors. Reporting positively, the OECD (2014) notes that Belgium extended aid to Uganda in the education sector based on gender being the principal objective. Others, such as Canada, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland and the UK have extended aid while prioritising gender as a significant objective. The relatively large number of donors giving aid with the principal and significant objectives in mind partly accounts for the reasonably high enrolment of girls and boys, especially in primary education levels (Birchler & Michaelowa, 2016). Another OECD (2015a, p. 3) report points out that more than 12 percent of public spending is invested in education in its member countries but, as international research shows, “there is considerable variation in how that money is spent and the outcomes it produces.” Ensuring equity and quality in education is a challenge in Uganda, as in other developing nations. In the OECD member countries, almost one in five 15-year-old pupils in these countries has difficulty in reaching the minimum level of skills necessary for managing in today’s society (OECD, 2015a, p. 8). Performance differences between individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds and gender are significant (ibid).

Entry points for the involvement of women’s movements The key concerns here are how to determine the extent to which the budget support enables the SDG on girls’ education and how women’s movements can assert themselves as progressive forces in all the critical phases of the country’s development planning cycle to support the agenda of participatory development. Strategies for accessing key dialogues and information provides a framework for this kind of engagement. Recognising a good entry point is the first step in achieving a successful girls’ education movement. There are various entry points which are discussed below. Women’s organisations, networks and movements, in all their diversity, and across sectors, have been present in the area of budget monitoring. ACFODE, UWONET and FAWE-U are headed by the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) and are part of the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG). However, accessing Budget Committee Reports and other Government budget documents has been difficult. Opportunities arise when the Budget Call Circulars are released. This means that women’s organisation should not wait for budgets to be announced before advocating for change. They should assert themselves as legitimate actors in their own right with a distinct identity and as adding value to the budget-making processes. For instance, FAWE-U should interrogate budgets for responsiveness to addressing structural barriers to girls’ education. Women’s organisations should begin to view themselves as social and political agents of democratisation, and governance should recognise their strength and mandate. For instance, FOWODE has shown (through participation in dialogue processes, advocacy campaigns

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ENGENDERING NEW AID MODALITIES (budget support) for girl’s education in Uganda: Opportunity for involving the women’s movement

and increased demands for accountability) that there are many avenues open in gender, policy and budget decision-making. There are various points in the planning cycle with the potential to support the gender agenda and communicate the needs of the girl child in education. Several development partners have experimented with the process of engaging development planning and budgeting. For instance, the European Commission and the German GTZ have tools that organisations can adopt. For purposes of this paper, the European Commission (2011) tool has been modified to suit actions that women organisations ought to utilise. The diagram below demonstrates that an entry point can be initiated at different stages to create synergies. The key opportunity points are: (i) Participation in formulation national and sector strategies; (ii) Participation in policy dialogues and joint performance reviews; (iii) Contribution to service delivery; (iv) and participatory performance budget monitoring. These aspects are then discussed in relation to the situation for women’s movements in Uganda.

Participation in formulation of poverty reduction strategies

Performance, budget monitoring, and user consultation

Participation in policy dialogue, sector coordination, mid-term and joint reviews

Contributions to implementation and service delivery

FIGURE 1: Possibilities for participation by women’s movements in gender, policy and budget decision-making (adapted from European Commission, 2011, p. 13) Participation in upstream policy processes such as national development planning. This often involves aggressive lobbying and engagement of civil and private sectors, parliamentarians, the media as well as line ministries and decentralised levels of government. UWONET and ACFODE have developed this capacity and can focus attention on constraints placed on girls in their pursuit of education. Participation in policy dialogues and mid-term and joint reviews require assertiveness in challenging service delivery performance, and using policy dialogue and technical advice as mechanisms to interrogate gender-responsive education objectives and measures. This calls for concerted efforts and the power of movement-building spearheaded by the GEM. Contribution towards implementation and service delivery involves compiling evidence and presenting priority issues for government


to address (structural barriers), including child marriage, rape, defilement, incest and other cultural norms in the annual Performance Assessment Frameworks and ensuring the Joint Assessment Reviews are gender responsive and gender sensitive. Organisations must thus build their knowledge and learning systems. Evaluation budget performance has been a weak area for the organisations. Opportunity lies in constant monitoring to identify gaps between policy formulation, and its implementation is required to influence government development agenda and monitor for accountability, including in the fight against corruption in education. A comprehensive monitoring framework to track trends and impacts of social norms on girl child education, and to better support policy making should be created. As a starting point, the government should be urged to prioritise the collection and collation of gender-disaggregated data to inform its policies and to be gender responsive in its allocation of resources, especially in negotiating for gender-responsive budget support from its development partners.

Conclusion It is recognised by the SDGs that “achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development” (UN Uganda, 2016) and Agenda 2030 and the African Vision 2060 echo this. Budget support, in particular, is designed to enable countries to hasten the attainment of social transformation. Feminist activists and activists involved in education have often pursued agendas on or relating to addressing the structural barriers to girls’ education, a subject that funders often avoid. Although funding agencies have often emphasised gender concerns in programming, no significant improvement is seen in outcomes and processes that should bring about change. This slow progress in girls’ education achievements demonstrates the need for more action from the women’s movement. As a social movement, women organisations can influence and redirect resources. Constant monitoring to identify gaps between policy formulation and its implementation, both at government and development partners level, for accountability has the potential to bring about positive change for the girl child. Short of this, the NAMs will continue to disadvantage girls, and the governments will continue to be unaccountable, at the peril of girls and women, and the dream of girls and women contributing to the aspirations of Agenda 2030 will be impossible in Uganda.

REFERENCES 1. Ahikire J, Musiimenta P & Mwiine A (2015) Making a Difference: Embracing the challenge of women’s substantive engagement in political leadership in Uganda. Feminist Africa, 20: 26-42. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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2. Birchler K & Michaelowa K (2016) Making aid work for education in developing countries: An analysis of aid effectiveness for primary education coverage and quality. International Journal of Educational Development, 48: 37-52. 3. Build Uganda (2016) Girls’ education in Uganda: The case for sanitary pads support to girls in UPE schools. http://bit. ly/2lDhOTU (accessed 2 February 2017). 4. DAC (2008) Gender equality, women’s empowerment and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness: Innovative funding for women’s organisations. Issues Brief 3, July. Development Assistance Cooperation. (accessed 21 February 2017). 5. Ernst J (2011) Aid Collaboration in Uganda. International Affairs Review, XX(1), Winter. 6. European Commission (2011) Engaging non-state actors in new aid modalities for better development outcomes and governance. Reference document no. 12. EU Publications Office, Luxembourg. (accessed 2 February 2017). 7. Ezati B (2011) Formative evaluation of UN Girls’ Education Initiative. UNGEI Uganda country report. August. https://www. (accessed 21 February 2017). 8. GoU (2015) National strategy to end child marriage and teenage pregnancy. UNICEF, Kampala. (accessed 2 February 2017). 9. GoU (2012) Annual Performance Report 2010/11, Vol. 1. Office of the Prime Minister, Kampala. (accessed 21 February 2017). 10. Hoare J (2009) Equals Newsletter for Beyond Access: Gender, Education and Development. Issue 23, February. Oxfam. http:// (accessed 2 February 2017). 11. Holvoet N & Inberg L (2012) Changing aid policies through a gender lens: An international perspective and the case of the Dutch development cooperation. Journal of International Woman’s Studies, 13(3), August. 12. Jewitt S & Ryley H (2014) It’s a girl thing: Menstruation, school attendance, spatial mobility and wider gender inequalities in Kenya. Geoforum, 56: 137-47. 13. Kakande M (2010) Opportunities and challenges of implementing the Paris Declaration and the AAA in Africa: The Uganda case study. African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). 14. Kasiko M (2014) Menstruation management: Initiatives and innovations in Uganda. Paper presented at the National Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management, 14-15 August. 15. Kindornay S & Samy Y (2012) Establishing a legitimate development co-operation architecture in the post-Busan era. North-South Institute, CIDA and IDRC.

16. Lauterbach C & Zuckerman E (2015) Assessing the effectiveness of World Bank investments: The gender dimension. WIDER working paper 2013/17. 17. Ministry of Education Gender Taskforce (2012) Position paper for gender in education: Proposed gender actions for mainstreaming gender in education 2012/13. Ministry of Education Gender Taskforce, Government of Uganda, Kampala. 18. Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (2011) Background to the Budget 2011/12. Promoting economic growth, job creation and improving service delivery. GoU, Kampala. 19. Mpyangu CM, Ochen EA, Onyango EO & Lubaale YA (2014) Out-ofschool children study in Uganda. MoES, Kampala. 20. OECD (2015a) Education policy outlook: Making reforms happen. OECD, Paris. pdf (accessed 21 February 2017). 21. OECD (2015b) Uganda Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) country report. OECD and Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). (accessed 21 February 2017). 22. OECD (2014) Aid in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment – Donor charts. OECD, Paris. 23. Oonyu J (2012) Countdown to 2015: Is Uganda on track? Assessment of progress to attainment of EFA goals in Uganda. UNESCO, Kampala. (accessed 21 February 2017). 24. Raaber N & Aquiar D (2010) Feminist critiques, policy alternatives and calls for systematic change in an economy in crisis. AWID. 25. Riddell A & Nino-Zarazua M (2016) The effectiveness of foreign aid to education: What can be learned? International Journal of Education, 48: 23-36. ijedudev.2015.11.013 (accessed 21 February 2017). 26. Schoenstein A & Alemany C (2011) Development cooperation beyond effectiveness paradigm: A women’s rights perspective. Discussion paper. AWID 27. UNGEI (n.d.) Uganda: Background. Information by country. http:// (accessed 21 February 2017). 28. UNU ReCom (2015) Gender sensitivity of World Bank investments. Research brief on WIDER working paper 2013/17. UN University, Research and Communication on Foreign Aid Programme. http:// (accessed 21 February 2017). 29. UN Uganda (2016) Uganda develops road map for SDG 4. UN Uganda, Kampala. (accessed 21 February 2017). 30. Uwezo (2012) Are our children learning? Literacy and numeracy across East Africa; Uwezo East Africa, Nairobi. http://bit. ly/2m51ywk (accessed 2 February 2017). 31. Woestman L (2009) Engendering EU General Budget Support: Gender responsive budgeting as a tool for fostering gender equality in EU partner countries. WIDE, Belgium.

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STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: Harnessing the momentum of community mobilisation for infrastructure development in Zimbabwe Ellen Chigwanda Ellen Chigwanda is the Project Manager for the DfID Girls’ Education Challenge Fund Project. The project is called Improving Girls’ Access through Transforming Education (IGATE). She also project manages the Country Office Gender Focal Point with CARE International in Zimbabwe. Ellen is currently one of the four 2016 Echidna Global Scholars (Girls’ Education) at the Centre for Universal Education (Brookings Institution). Her research interests include exploring the education, gender and climate change nexus in rural Zimbabwe and, more specifically, the impact of drought on girls’ education outcomes. In the past, she has worked as an independent Gender and Social Development Advisor and Consultant for organisations such as the SADC Parliamentary Forum, UN Women and the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed). Ellen has also worked for girls and young women’s empowerment with local NGOs in various capacities. She holds a Masters in Development Studies from the University of the Free State (South Africa) and is working toward a PhD in Development and Management with North West University (South Africa). Twitter handle: @ellenchigwanda With input from Innocent Takaedza, Prosper Kwaramba and Tinashe Mukomana. Zimbabwe boasts one the highest literacy rates in Africa (90.7 percent) (The African Economist, 2013). However, girls in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Southern Africa continue to face a number of challenges in accessing education. UNESCO (2016) reports that 55 percent of the 31 million children who are out of school in the sub-Saharan Africa region are girls although the statistics differ at the country level. Barriers to education for girls include poverty, child marriage and inequitable household chores. According to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE, 2016), lack of separated latrines for girls and boys and the distances to and from school are two of the top 10 barriers to girls’ education. These challenges are linked to gaps in the infrastructure available to support education for girls (and boys). Zimbabwe will need to upscale its infrastructural capacities – especially by building on the momentum generated through community involvement – if Target 4a of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which focuses on improving education facilities and learning environments (including improved infrastructure, use of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), and reduced violence), is to become a reality (UN, 2016). The Government of Zimbabwe has made tremendous strides towards meeting its commitment to ensure equality between girls, boys, women and men at various levels. Zimbabwe is a signatory to several regional and international protocols and conventions including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1991), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1995), the African Charter and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2007), and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2009). At the local level, several legal and policy frameworks have been put in


place such as the National Gender Policy, the Girls and Young Women’s Empowerment Framework and, more importantly, the new Constitution which has gender equality as one of its guiding principles. The government has also introduced a number of measures to address the disparities which are prevalent in the education sector, including the Zimbabwe Education Act (Government of Zimbabwe, 2004), which provides for the right of all children to education. It is also an affirmative action policy enabling women to enrol at university with a few points less than men for the same degree programme. A government circular also grants leave to girls who fall pregnant in school and allows re-enrolment after delivery (Government of Zimbabwe, 2001). More recently, the Constitutional judgement of 16 January 2016 declared 18 as the minimum legal age for marriage (Plan International, 2016). On the one hand, the existence of these provisions is truly commendable and has affirmed political will at the highest level within government to ensure equity as a means of achieving the ultimate goal of gender equality in all aspects of human development. On the other hand, the implementation of such policies has not been without challenges. In Zimbabwe, female students have been allowed to enter university at two points lower than their male counterparts, while in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the cut-off for admission is between one and 1.5 points lower for females than males (Bunyi, 2003). In all the countries listed above, including Zimbabwe, university enrolment for females has increased. However, Bunyi (2003) points out that its opponents feel that this policy dilutes the “meritocratic” standards of universities and affirms the notion that women are weaker intellectually. Proponents of this policy argue that black men have received more scholarships for further education (as well TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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as higher status jobs) as a result of similar affirmative action policies (ibid). They question the logic of women not being given the same opportunities. The re-entry policy for teenage girls who fall pregnant has provided girls with the right and opportunity to continue with their education post-delivery. Nevertheless, Mawere (2013) notes that the policy has been met with resistance, especially at the community level, largely due to the fact that society views teenage pregnancy as a result of deviance and immorality on the part of the girl. Regarding the constitutional provision which outlaws early marriage, it remains to be seen how this will be operationalised and the impact it will have on the objectives of supporting girls’ education. One of the post-independence reforms instituted by the Government of Zimbabwe is to provide free primary education for all. However, in 1988, the government introduced school fees as well as development levies. Unfortunately, these are often beyond the reach of many parents. Secondary data from major surveys, such as the Demographic Health Survey (Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) & ICF International, 2012) and the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) (Food and Nutrition Council (FNC) & Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC), 2013) have shown that income poverty remains the greatest limiting factor to education for girls (and boys). This has been exacerbated by the declining economic growth trajectory as well as extreme events such as the drought which have caused serious poverty levels in both urban and rural settings and caused large segments of the population to live below the poverty datum line. According to the 2011 National Budget Statement, families and households are faced with high costs of books and uniforms which have led to increased dropouts, particularly in rural areas (Marist International Solidarity Foundation (FMSI), 2011). The government-financed social protection programmes, such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), inadequately cushion the increasing numbers of poor and vulnerable groups, and they suffer from chronic underfunding (World Bank, 2011). Gaps in infrastructure still remain which limit access, especially for girls. This is as a result of a number of reasons which will be discussed further in this article.

Beyond states to others’ involvement Government funding of education is complemented by contributions from other stakeholders such as households which remain the largest

private sector financier of education in many countries (Government of Zimbabwe, 2005). The current set up of the education system in Zimbabwe is such that primary and secondary education is provided by stakeholders such as government, churches, individuals, NGOs, private entities, trusts and local authorities (ibid). This has not only opened up space for other players to provide education but also for increasing access to education for children in Zimbabwe. A variety of funding mechanisms are used to finance educational inputs such as uniforms, tuition, learner materials, teaching aids, equipment and infrastructure. Such mechanisms include school fees, development levies, private funds, donors, labour as well as the national budget. The education sector in Zimbabwe receives funds from the national budget in order to increase access to education for all children (Government of Zimbabwe, 2005). The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s (MoPSE, 2016) budget vote has increased four-fold between 2009 and 2015 and currently accounts for 22 percent of government expenditure. Yet, approximately 97 percent of this allocation goes to staff salaries, only three percent for financing other functionality needs in education, and, of this three percent, one percent is allocated for capital expenditure (ibid). Needless to say, this compromises government’s capacity to fully discharge its mandate as the duty bearer in terms of education provision vis-à-vis learner materials, teacher accommodation, equipment and infrastructure. However, non-state actors continue to augment and compliment the work of the MoPSE and, within the past decade, girls’ education programmes have multiplied in order to bridge this gap (Chigwanda, 2016). Institutions such as UNICEF, CARE International, Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), World Education/Batwana and Higher Life Foundation are carrying out focused work aimed at promoting education for girls and boys in the most marginalised communities of Zimbabwe, particularly rural and peri-urban areas. It should be noted that this work is being done under the direction and guidance of the MoPSE in order to ensure alignment with government strategy and policy. The government continues to face challenges in education financing, not only in areas such as providing adequate learning materials but also with infrastructure. For instance, country-level data from the Education Management Information System (EMIS) highlights the lack of classrooms (see Table 1) and poor state of some of the existing structures, which have resulted in large class sizes as well as “hot sitting” or double sessions in 41 percent of the primary schools and

TABLE 1: Classroom infrastructure in Zimbabwe (available vs. required) (MoPSE, 2016) School level

Pupil-to-classroom ratio Classrooms available

Number of classrooms required

Early Childhood Development (ECD)


5 884

15 507



58 556

7 911



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22 437

10 218

86 877

33 636


STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: Harnessing the momentum of community mobilisation for infrastructure development in Zimbabwe

36 percent of secondary schools (MoPSE, 2016). In 2013, the MoPSE (ibid) conducted a mapping exercise which found that 2 056 new schools are required to bridge this gap and, with the school-going age population figures increasing, demand for more infrastructure is also increasing. The national blueprint for social and economic development, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) (October 2013 to December 2018) (Government of Zimbabwe, 2013), highlights the need to ensure schools are built and equipped, particularly in the new resettlement areas. The inadequate classroom infrastructure is compounded by the long distances which children have to walk or find transport in order to access school. In some cases, distances exceed those recommended by the MoPSE (five kilometres for ECD, seven kilometres for primary schools, and 10 kilometres for secondary schools) (Machawira & Munjanganja, 2014) Secondary schools pose the greatest challenge in terms of distances, and present safety and security challenges, especially for girls as they are exposed to violence and abuse on the way to and from school. In terms of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, both the Global Education Monitoring Report (UNESCO, 2016) and the Snapshot of WASH in Schools in Eastern and Southern Africa Report (UNICEF, 2013) indicate that approximately 52 to 53 percent of schools have access to adequate water supply in the region. Zimbabwe boasts a higher percentage, at least for primary schools, of which over 75 percent have access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities (UNICEF, 2013). Having no school near home, or due to the poor quality of the learning environment (including poor conditions of the buildings, overcrowding, and a lack of water and/or sanitation), the likelihood of non-enrolment, non-attendance, dropping out, or poor performance is high, especially for girls. Lack of water at schools affects adolescent girls

Having no school near home, or due to the poor quality of the learning environment (including poor conditions of the buildings, overcrowding, and a lack of water and/or sanitation), the likelihood of non-enrolment, non-attendance, dropping out, or poor performance is high, especially for girls.

disproportionately due to challenges associated with the management of their menstrual cycle. The higher coverage in terms of WASH facilities in schools in Zimbabwe points to a comparatively better situation than that of the region and pre-positions the country better in terms of achieving SDG Target 4a compared to other countries in the same region. However, the Snapshot of WASH Report (UNICEF, 2013, p. 7) also


notes that “the sustainability of constructed facilities warrants further investigation as new construction will not improve coverage rates if existing services are breaking down or are abandoned.” Furthermore, parents are less likely to send their daughters to school if there are perceived safety and security concerns due to long distances travelled to and from school (UNICEF, n.d.). What opportunities lie in wait for bridging these gaps in infrastructure?

Community social enterprise: Opportunities for the private sector and strategic collaboration in infrastructure development Overall, the challenges associated with infrastructure in relation to girls’ education are located at the nexus between gaps in the government’s ability to adequately finance education and the limitations found at the level of households to play their part in educating their children. Historically, beneficiaries of the education system have been significant financiers of education in Zimbabwe, particularly for schools run by the local authorities. The Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 (MoPSE, 2016) recognises the gaps and the importance of investing in infrastructure through its infrastructure core programme which will be considered over a 15-year period and reviewed on an annual basis. This core programme is well aligned with SDG Target 4a and includes components such as age appropriate infrastructure and furniture, particularly for ECD and the physically challenged, inclusive learning environments, dedicated rooms for ICT and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as well as large-scale maintenance and renovations (ibid). However, given the patterns of current government expenditure on education, which is mostly on salaries, achieving this programme is likely to be a mammoth task. Support which is external to the government itself is vital to the successful implementation of this programme. Within the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of schools being set up by non-government and private actors. The government supports such initiatives as long as they are registered under and subject to the minimum functionality standards set by MoPSE (2016). For instance, the Director’s Circular No. 48 of 2007 (Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, cited in Machawira & Munjanganja, 2014, p. 49) has emphasised that “education officers… should assist communities in establishing quality ECD centres”, and “All ECD centres shall have and use national ECD syllabuses.” Interestingly, despite the economic and drought-related challenges being faced by Zimbabwe, there are some examples of community initiatives which are bridging the gap in terms of increasing the number of learning centres, and opportunities for exploring different models for education financing which should be further explored, studied and tracked with a view to taking them to scale. An example of such an initiative is discussed in the following section. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

Group of six local women establish an ECD centre in rural Zimbabwe In a rural district of Zimbabwe, a group of six women believe that some of the challenges in education infrastructure which hamper access to education for both girls and boys could be solved if there are functional learning centres in the communities. This belief resulted in the establishment of a community-based ECD centre as a social enterprise. The Mtanki ECD centre was opened by the women who were trained in village micro-finance in 2014, as part of a large DFID-funded girls’ education initiative (Improving Girls’ Access through Transforming Education: IGATE) (World Vision, n.d.) which is currently underway in 10 districts in Zimbabwe. The objective of the training is to build the capacity of rural communities to mobilise, save money, and thereafter, invest in income-generating activities which will boost their economic capacity to prioritise girls’ education. After the training, the women organised themselves into a community-saving group, and decided to embark on a social enterprise, not only for the purposes of earning an income but also to respond to a specific challenge in their area. The idea to construct a village-based ECD initially emerged out of the desire to address the plight of young vulnerable children under the age of five years in their community who had to travel more than five kilometres to the nearest school. The women were assisted through additional training on selection planning and management of income-generating activities. The group saw an opportunity to bridge the gap in terms of ECD infrastructure and engage in activities which would help sustain their families as well. The group members also sought guidance from the head teacher of the nearby school. The head teacher assisted the women to engage the village leader for the allocation of suitable land for the construction of the ECD centre. The teacher also assisted the women in meeting the requirements and functionality standards set by the MoPSE in Zimbabwe for setting up an ECD centre. Upon securing the land, the group mobilised resources and construction started in September 2015. Through their community savings group and different income-generating activities, the group members gathered over US$2 000 to finance the project. This amount is in addition to the in-kind support received from their spouses, local leadership, and other well-wishers from the community such as labour and construction related advice and supervision. Through continued guidance from the headmaster of the nearby primary school, the group identified one of their own to be the ECD teacher since she met most of the minimum requirements while also recognising the need for her to attend formal training. The centre first opened its doors to children in January 2016 and enrolled a total of 35 children in its first cohort. Despite the myriad of economic challenges exacerbated by the ongoing El Niño-induced drought, the ECD centre has continued to operate since opening. Although the official opening initially encountered some delays, on 17 June 2016 the ECD centre was opened at a community event officiated and presided over by district officials from the


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MoPSE. The ECD centre is a testament to the potential of communities and the key strategic position of women in the efforts towards achieving SDG Target 4a. The official opening ceremony was well attended, and the community was extremely excited about the developments. However, it was clear that some sustainability challenges lay ahead, and the chairperson of the group alluded to these in her speech. She made it clear that the initiative was still far from meeting all the required standards. The ECD centre still needed perimeter fencing for security, age-appropriate furniture for the children and their teacher, stationery (MoPSE donated some learning materials during the opening ceremony), additional outdoor equipment for the play centre, and a water access point. The six women have put together a plan to engage local business people and other community members for support. They continue to save money and implement different income-generating activities to support the centre.

Conclusion Increasing the number of schools as well as improving existing infrastructure has benefits for girls’ education. The Education For All Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO, 2016) notes that girls’ enrolment and attendance can be improved if distances travelled to and from school

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STATE CAPACITIES AND CHALLENGES in educating women and girls: Harnessing the momentum of community mobilisation for infrastructure development in Zimbabwe

are reduced. The initiatives like the one described above enable the country to meet the demand for education. Nevertheless, there is a need for the government to ensure regular and consistent inspection and supervision of such schools. It is also important to note that not all investments in infrastructure lead to learning (King & Winthrop, 2015). Infrastructure development needs to be supported by complementary work such as the provision of adequate age-appropriate learning materials, teacher motivation, and mobilisation of community support for education. In the example shared above, the work of these six women is couched within an education intervention employing an innovative mix of models to further girls’ education in rural communities. Thus, the benefits derived from such infrastructure contribute to the broader goals of achieving girls’ education access, retention and positive learning outcomes. As the world works towards the achievement of SDG 4 by 2030, infrastructure provision should continue to be on the agenda of the key decision makers: governments, donors, developments actors and communities alike.




4. 5. 6.




African Economist, The (2013) Ranking of African Countries by Literacy Rates: Zimbabwe Number 1. 6 July. http://bit. ly/2m2ZwM8 (accessed 27 February 2017). Bunyi GW (2003) Interventions that increase enrolment of women in African tertiary institutions. Case study prepared for a Regional Training Conference on Improving Tertiary Education in Sub-Saharan Africa, 23-25 September, Accra. http:// grace_bunyi.pdf (accessed 27 February 2017). Chigwanda E (2016) Is climate change the weakest link in girls’ education programming? Education Plus Development Blog, Brookings Institution, 20 September. (accessed 27 February 2017). FMSI (2011) Universal Period Review (UPR) of the Republic of Zimbabwe. FMSI, Bangkok. FNC & SIRDC (2013) Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac): Rural Livelihoods Assessment. FNC, Harare. Government of Zimbabwe (2013) Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset). http:// (accessed 27 February 2017). Government of Zimbabwe (2005) Zimbabwe Action Plan of Zimbabwe: Education For All Towards 2015. Government Printers, Harare. Government of Zimbabwe (2004) Zimbabwe Education Act. Government Printers, Harare.


10. 11.










21. 22.

Government of Zimbabwe (2001) Circular Minute P35 – Discipline in schools: Suspension, exclusion and corporal punishment. Government of Zimbabwe, Harare. GPE (2016) Breaking down the barriers to girls’ education. Infographic. (accessed 10 January 2017). King EM & Winthrop R (2015) Today’s Challenges for Girls’ Education. Working paper 90, June. Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, Washington DC. (accessed 27 February 2017). Machawira MS & Munjanganja LE (2014) National Education For All Review of Zimbabwe: Progress towards EFA 2015. UNESCO, Harare. images/0023/002304/230412e.pdf (accessed 27 February 2017). Mawere D (2013) Evaluation of the Nziramasanga Report of Inquiry into Education in Zimbabwe 1999: The case of gender equity in Zimbabwe. International Journal of Asian Social Science, 3(5): 1077-1088. MoPSE (2016) Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016 – 2020. Government Printers, Harare. content/2016-2020-education-sector-plan-zimbabwe (accessed 27 February 2017). Plan International (2016) Law passed to end child marriage in Zimbabwe. 21 January. Plan International, London. http://bit. ly/1VbWmh5 (accessed 27 February 2017). UN (2016) Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Web Services Section, Department of Public Information, UN. (accessed 27 February 2017). UNESCO (2016) Global Education Monitoring Report 2016. (accessed 27 February 2017). UNICEF (2013) Snapshot of WASH in Schools in Eastern and Southern Africa: a review of data, evidence and inequities in the region. UNICEF, Nairobi. (accessed 27 February 2017). UNICEF (n.d.) Barriers to girls’ education, strategies and interventions. UNICEF. ed/BarrierstoGE.pdf (accessed 27 February 2017). World Bank (2011) Challenges in financing education, health, and social protection expenditures in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Public Expenditure Notes, 3, 2 February. Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit, Africa Region, World Bank. http:// (accessed 27 February 2017). World Vision (n.d.) Improving Girls Access through Transforming Education (IGATE). (accessed 27 February 2017). ZimStat & ICF International (2012) Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 2010-11. ZimStat and ICF International, Calverton, Maryland. pdf (accessed 27 February 2017).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

FINANCING FOR EDUCATION 2030 in Africa: An examination of the costs, funding gaps and financing strategies Limbani Eliya Nsapato Limbani Nsapato is a specialist in education theory and practice, project management, and business administration from Southern Malawi. He has 16 years’ professional experience with various organisations at national and international levels and is a regular media commentator on education policy matters. From 2012 to 2015, Limbani contributed to the development of the 2030 SDGs through participation in conferences and steering committees organised by the AU and UNESCO. Presently, he is working as the Malawi Country Representative for Edukans and studying towards a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA).

Introduction In September 2015, the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda was adopted at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000 (UN, 2015). Education is at the heart of the SDGs with SDG 4 focusing solely on education. At the continental level, heads of state of the African Union (AU) met in Ethiopia in January 2016 and approved a new 10-year (2016-2025) Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA), which replaced the plan of action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015), and also defines Africa’s education ambitions aligned to the Africa Agenda 2063 (AU, 2016). CESA has the mission of “reorienting Africa’s education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, innovation, creativity required to nurture African core values and promote sustainable development at the national, sub-regional and continental levels” (p. 21). Both the global and continental education agendas have arrived at a crisis period, and the education systems are negatively affected by high numbers of out-of-school children and adolescents, as well as illiterate youths and adults. Statistics from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS, 2016) show that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to 93 million out-of-school children and youths, representing 35 percent of the global figure. The breakdown includes 34.2 million children of primary school age, 24 million children of lower secondary school age, and 34.8 million children of upper secondary school age (ibid). In 2015, UNESCO compiled data which showed that SSA had an estimated 238.1 million youths and adults – among the highest in the world (UIS, 2015). According to their estimates, the number of illiterate youths in 2014 (15- to 24-year-olds) was 47.6 million, while for adults (25 years and older) it was estimated at 181.9 million (ibid). There are also serious concerns about the quality of education as millions of children are in school but not really learning. Studies by the Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) (cited in UNESCO, 2014) have shown that more than 60 percent of children in Grade Five failed to achieve the expected proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. The report also estimated that 250 million children worldwide, most of whom are in Africa, could not read or write,

and more than half failed to perform basic literacy tasks while in school at Grade Four (ibid). Furthermore, 25.8 million primary school teachers are required by 2030, and Africa will need to create a staggering 2.2 million new teaching positions by 2030, while also filling about 3.9 million vacant positions (UIS, 2016). The 2030 Education Agenda promises to tackle the resultant crisis issues around access, equity and quality of education (Wils, 2015). However, these issues cannot be tackled effectively and efficiently without addressing the question of how countries will finance the equitable implementation of the new agenda at the global, continental and national levels to benefit girls and boys. Given the inevitability of funding gaps, this article focuses on the costs and financing strategies of the new Education Agenda. There is also a special focus on how future financing strategies and models can be targeted to address equity issues, bearing in mind that girls, women and vulnerable people face significant exclusion from enjoying their right to quality inclusive education.

The cost and funding gap for Education 2030 The most recent cost estimates in the Global Education Monitoring Report (UNESCO, 2016) have not taken into account targets related to tertiary education, skills for work, adult literacy and scholarships. However, according to the estimates (see table 1 on next page), providing universal pre-primary, primary and secondary education will cost US$ 340 billion per year, and this includes US$ 50.4 billion for low-income countries, and US$ 289 billion for lower middle-income countries (UNESCO, 2015a). Over 15 years (2015-2030) this translates to US$ 5.1 trillion globally, US$ 756 billion in low-income countries and US$ 4.34 trillion in lower middle-income countries (ibid). The cost estimates have integrated two factors, namely, the number of learners (children and adolescents) and per-student expenditure (unit cost). The number of learners will increase at all levels, more than doubling in low-income countries. According to projections (presented in table 2), enrolments at pre-school have been increasing from 31 million in 2012, and this will continue to an estimated 85 million by

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FINANCING FOR EDUCATION 2030 in Africa: An examination of the costs, funding gaps and financing strategies

TABLE 1: Annual total cost by education level, US$ billions, 2012 and 2015-2030 average (UNESCO, 2015a) Low income countries

Lower middle income countries Low and lower middle income countries


2015–2030 average


2015–2030 average


2015–2030 average















Lower secondary







Upper secondary














TABLE 2: Number of students and expenditure per student, 2012 and 2015-2030 (UNESCO, 2015b; Wils, 2015) Low income countries

Lower middle income countries Low and lower middle income countries

a. Number of students, millions 2012




















Lower secondary







Upper secondary







b. Expenditure per student, weighted average, US$ per year (2012 constant prices) 2012




















Lower secondary







Upper secondary







2030 (UNESCO, 2015b; Wils, 2015). At the primary level, enrolments will increase from 418 million in 2012 to 476 million by 2030, while at the lower secondary level enrolments will increase from 155 million to 242 million over the same period (Wils, 2015). At the upper secondary level, enrolments are projected to increase from 105 million in 2012 to 266 million by 2030 (UNESCO, 2015b; Wils, 2015). The increase in enrolments accounts for half of the total cost. The per-student expenditure, which covers the other half of the total costs, has integrated costs of quality and equity, as measured by the pupil-teacher ratio, teacher salaries, expenditure on materials, classroom construction and support for marginalised children who are defined by an EFA Global Monitoring Report as children living on less than US$ 2 a day (Wils, 2015, p. 10). The per-pupil expenditure will increase at all levels, except at the upper secondary level where it is expected to decrease towards 2030 (ibid). At pre-primary level, per-pupil expenditure will triple from US$ 258 to US$ 854, and at the primary school level the expenditure will more than double from US$ 195 to US$ 403 (Wils, 2015, p. 10). At the lower-secondary level, it will increase from US$ 301 to US$ 536. Meanwhile, at the upper-secondary level, the unit cost is expected to reduce from US$ 751 to US$ 675 (ibid).


Per-pupil expenditure is expected to increase enormously in low-income countries. It is expected to almost quadruple for pre-primary schooling (US$ 117 to US$ 421), more than double at primary level (US$ 70 to US$ 197), nearly double for lower-secondary (US$ 144 to US$ 284), but reduce slightly at upper-secondary level (US$ 394 to US$ 367) (UNESCO, 2015b; Wils, 2015) (see table 2 above). Absolute costs in lower-middle-income countries are higher because the GDP per capita is higher. Of the total cost, 84 percent comprises recurrent expenditure and 11 percent capital expenditure (UNESCO, 2015b; Wils, 2015). The cost of catering for the marginalised amounts to five percent of the overall total, but rises to eight percent in low-income countries and exceeds 12 percent in some of the poorest countries such as Burundi, Mali and Niger (ibid). In relative terms, the total cost of delivering universal pre-primary, primary and secondary education will need to increase across lower-middle-income countries from 3.5 to 6.3 percent of GDP between 2012 and 2030 (UNESCO, 2015b; Wils, 2015). However, the increase will be far higher in low-income countries, where the cost will need to almost triple as a percentage of GDP over the period (Wils, 2015). Furthermore, the unit costs have not been disaggregated according to TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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TABLE 3: Funding gap estimates for Education 2030 (US$ billions, 2012 constant prices) (UNESCO, 2015b) Low income countries Lower middle income countries Low and lower middle income countries Total cost, 2012




Total cost, 2015-2030




Increase in total cost




Financing gap, 2015-2030 (ave.)




gender, and this gender blindness to costing models heightens the risk of widening gender gaps in access to education going forward (ibid).

The finance gap towards Education 2030 The SDGs will have very significant resource implications across the developed and developing world. Global investment needs are in the order of $5 trillion to $7 trillion per year. Estimates for investment needs in developing countries alone range from $3.3 trillion to $4.5 trillion per year, mainly for basic infrastructure (roads, rail and ports; power stations; water and sanitation), food security (agriculture and rural development), climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, and education (UN Conference on Trade and Investment (UNCTAD), 2014: xi). The annual SDG financing gap for developing countries is approximately US$ 2.5 trillion which appears to be massive but it is only three percent of worldwide GDP, 14 percent of worldwide annual savings, or 1.1 percent of the value of worldwide capital markets which is about US$ 218 trillion (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2016, p. 69). Education 2030 faces an arduous financial challenge with experts estimating a funding gap of US$ billions and, if no gender lenses are applied in the allocation of the limited resources, girls will remain on the peripheries of education, and many will be excluded from equitable participation in the SDG Agenda. According to UNESCO (2015b), current investments from the pre-school to secondary education level put total annual expenditure at US$ 148.6 billion, comprising US$ 14.4 billion for low-income countries and US$ 134.2 billion for lower-middle-income countries (see table 3 hereunder). Annual expenditures for 2015-2030 will rise to US$ 50.4 billion in low-income countries, and US$ 289.2 billion in lower-middle-income countries – a total of US$ 339.5 billion (ibid). Given recent expenditure patterns across countries, Benavot (2016) notes that many governments are unlikely to increase expenditure on public education to cover the full cost of meeting the targets. Thus, the average annual financing gap across all low-income countries and lower-middle-income countries between 2015 and 2030 is estimated at US$ 39.5 billion (UNESCO, 2015b). In low-income countries, the annual gap of US$ 21 billion is 42 percent of the total cost calculated across low-income countries and lower-middle-income

countries. In lower-middle-income countries, this is US$ 18.4 billion and six percent of the total cost (ibid). The financing gap is expected to increase with time. Experts estimate that the greatest challenge will be in low-income countries, which are expected to face the majority of the funding gap. UNESCO (2015b) estimates that low-income countries will collectively face a funding gap of US$ 10.6 billion, which is half of the global funding gap. SSA is most likely to face the greatest education funding gap due to its low-income status and high level of fragility. The gap could be in the range of US$ 17 to US$ 27 billion annually, and a previous costing exercise by Lewin (2008, pp 24-26) demonstrated that the region would require around half of the global funding gap. This would translate to 50 percent of the global annual funding gap of US$ 39 billion, or US$ 17 billion (ibid). Another estimate by the EFA Global Monitoring Report team (UNESCO, 2010) showed that SSA accounted for 69 percent of the total funding gap for meeting the costs of education for basic education up to the lower secondary level. This would translate to 69 percent of the annual funding gap of US$ 39 billion or US$ 27 billion (p. 130).

Strategies for financing Education Agenda 2030 How will the Education Agenda 2030 be financed? And, how will it be financed in a manner that guarantees equitable access for both girls and boys? With the new agenda facing a massive funding deficit, leaders of governments will need to think out of the box to get workable financing strategies. Domestic resource mobilisation preferred Current discourse on sources of financing the SDGs prefers domestic sources to external sources. Domestic resources are considered by far the most important source of finance for basic education (Steer & Smith, 2015). More importantly, domestic financing is critical for enhancing the sustainability of education systems, and it enables citizens to hold their governments to account for service delivery (UNESCO, 2012, p. 144). In recent years, Africa has witnessed increasing levels of domestic resource mobilisation from tax revenue, ranging from an average of US$ 281 billion for the period 2004-2008 to US$ 461.2 billion in 2014 (AfDB, OECD & UNDP, 2016). In 2014, domestic resources were twice as much as external flows to Africa, estimated at US$ 208.3 billion and,

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FINANCING FOR EDUCATION 2030 in Africa: An examination of the costs, funding gaps and financing strategies

more importantly, they were six times as much as official development assistance (ODA), estimated at US$ 56.4 billion (ibid). On the road to 2030, domestic resource mobilisation potential is strong, considering the various opportunities that lie at the feet of Africa. According to 2014 research findings by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), these opportunities include mineral earnings worth US$ 168 billion per year, international reserves (US$ 400 billion), pension assets (at least US$ 297.4 billion from four countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia and Kenya), bank revenue (at least US$ 60 billion), diaspora revenue (at least US$ 40 billion a year), private equity markets (at least US$ 30 billion a year), stock market capitalisation (at least US$ 1 200 billion), and remittance secularisation (up to US$ 10 billion per year), in addition to maximising tax revenues (NEPAD & UNECA, 2014, p. 9). Furthermore, curtailing illicit financial flows (IFFs), particularly in the extractive industries, could save the continent up to US$ 148 billion a year (UNECA, 2015). Infrastructure development has the potential to raise GDP by 2 percent (US$ 32 billion) and develop the backbone for rapid industrialisation, which will boost the capacity to generate more domestic resources (ibid). The sum total of these opportunities is at least US$ 2 850 billion annually in domestic resource mobilisation potential for Africa (UNECA, 2015). The domestic mobilisation potential can become a reality if governments in Africa could take several measures, such as the ones identified by the March 2011 Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI, cited in Africa Progress Panel (APP), 2012). These measures include “efficient management of the tax system; avoiding overly generous tax breaks for investors; building capacity for negotiations with extractive industries; and addressing problems such as tax evasion, illicit capital flows, transfer pricing and fiscal corruption” (p. 15).

increase national education budgets by 10 percent for 10 successive years, to allocate one percent of the GDP to research and innovation, and increase the share of education budget allocated to non-formal education to 10 percent (AU, 2016). However, such calls need to make a specific appeal for these budgets to be gender sensitive and demonstrate alertness to the need to scale up resources targeting girls’ education as a way of addressing the gaps created by financing models in the past, as well as gendered gaps in terms of dropout rates of girls as the majority of out-of-school children on the continent. The potential for government financing is such that an additional US$ 15 billion for education could be raised by developing countries by increasing the share of the national budget for education to 20 percent (Malala Fund, 2015). Similarly, if African countries spend 20 percent of their budgets on education, they will be able to raise an extra $22.4 billion for the sector, closing the gap in meeting the SDGs on education (ANCEFA & IBIS, 2016). However, even though government funding is the most important source of education financing, there are several challenges that limit government capacity to finance development and education and to do so in a gendered manner. The challenges include slowing economic growth in the face of the global economic crisis that started in 2008; weak tax collection capacity; loss of money through corruption and IFFs; failure to adhere to international financing benchmarks; a lack of prioritisation of education due to stiff competition from other sectors, such as health, agriculture, and climate change; a lack of sex-disaggregated figures to inform policy and guide resource allocation; and a lack of skills in gender analysis and gender budgeting in most governments (Fredriksen & Kagia, 2013; UNESCO, 2014; Malala Fund, 2015; UNECA, 2015; ANCEFA & IBIS, 2016). Household financing

Government financing Governments are the major source of domestic public financing for education, providing the largest contribution to education (UNESCO, 2014, p. 127). Since 2000, government commitments to financing education have been determined by two factors, namely, the share of public expenditure on education in relation to GDP and in relation to the national budget (ibid). From 2000 to 2015, it was widely held that governments should allocate at least six percent of the GDP and at least 20 percent of the national budget to education (ACPF, 2011; UNESCO, 2015a; UNESCO, 2011). Towards 2030, the Incheon Framework for Action has called upon governments to allocate at least four to six percent of GDP to education, and/or at least 15 to 20 percent of public expenditure to education (UNESCO, 2015c, p. 26). The Global Campaign for Education (GCE, 2015) is, however, has called upon low-income countries to reach the upper end of these financing targets in order to maximise financing for education. Moreover, the CESA guides governments to significantly


Households are also an important contributor of domestic financing for education. Households cover a range of items related to children’s education, such as school fees for both public and private schools, textbooks, school uniforms, classrooms, and salaries of teachers recruited by the communities. This financial responsibility has often resulted in families with limited resources preferring to send boys and not girls. In Africa, a survey of 16 countries showed that the average percentage of household expenditure on education in relation to total public expenditure was 25.5 percent (UNESCO, 2015a). Expressed as a percentage of GDP, household expenditure in SSA averages 1.5 to two percent of the GDP, with expenditures ranging from 0.1 to 4.8 percent of the GDP (World Bank, 2010; UIS, 2011). Household contributions will continue to be significant in financing the Agenda 2030 goals. However, this will have to be done with caution, depending on country contexts and due to a number of issues. A gendered lens must be used deliberately to avoid pushing more families to make a choice between sending a boy or a girl to school. This TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

means that household funding models must consider issues of household poverty (which on the continent is feminised); the campaign against fees in public schools (especially the limitations this places on girls); and reservations on privatisation due to its negative impact on social cohesion.


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International aid International aid or ODA, in the form of grants, donations and loans, is a traditional form of external finance which will continue to play an important role, as acknowledged by UNESCO (2015a), the UN Development Programme (UNDP, 2012) and OECD (2016). Aid is sent from donor countries to recipient countries in the form of bilateral aid, and from international institutions in the form of multilateral aid. African countries need aid because the continent lacks sufficient domestic resources to attain high economic growth required for sustainable development (UNCTAD, 2006, p. 24). In recent years, especially after the adoption of the MDGs and EFA goals in 2000, aid has generally been increasing and reached a peak of US$ 56 billion in 2015 (OECD, 2016). Education is one of the social sectors that enjoy large volumes of aid at increasing levels since the 1970s. Aid flows to education increased steadily from an average of US$ 7 billion in the 1970s to US$ 8 billion in the 1990s (Niño-Zarazúa, 2015, p. 6). Aid to education in SSA has been among the highest and comprises more than a quarter of the total global aid to education in recent years (UNESCO, 2006, 2010, 2015a, 2016; OECD, 2015). Available data shows that education aid to SSA has risen from US$ 2.8 billion in 2002 to US$ 3.2 billion in 2014, while it represented 36.1 percent of total aid in 2002, 27.9 percent in 2010, 31.7 percent in 2013, and 24.7 percent in 2014, as shown in table 4 below (ibid). Despite significant increases in global education aid, at least US$ 39 billion will be required to bridge the annual external funding gap for the Education 2030 Agenda (UNESCO, 2016). This gap could be closed if a US$ 10.9 billion was raised from 15 EU donors, $20.3 billion from seven non-Development Assistance Committee (DAC) EU members, as well as $13.3 billion from the emerging BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and Arab donors annually, translating to a possible US$ 44.5 billion in education aid (Malala Fund, 2015, p. 11). It is possible to raise such sums of money if developed countries commit to a target of 0.7 percent of ODA to developing countries, and between 0.15 and 0.2 percent of gross national income (GNI) to the least-developed countries. At the continental level, Africa needs much higher lev-

els of funding over the 2015-2030 period to catch up in building basic human capital, with projections showing that its share of the world’s school-going age population is projected to grow from 20 percent in 2015 to 26 percent in 2030 (Fredriksen, 2015). International aid is, however, not 100 percent reliable and there are several challenges associated with it. The first challenge is that, even though there has been a constant flow of aid to low-income countries since the adoption of the MDGs and EFA goals in 2000, donors have failed to honour the aid target set by the UN of committing 0.7 percent of GNI for ODA (OECD, 2016). According to the OECD (ibid), the net ODA was 0.30 percent in both 2014 and 2015, as a percentage of GNI. In 2015, only seven donor countries reached the spending target of 0.7 percent, and these include Norway, the UK and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (ibid). The second challenge is that education is no longer at the top of the ODA agenda, and aid has gone to other social sectors such as health,

TABLE 4: Education aid to SSA 2002, 2007-2014 (US$ millions) (UNESCO, 2006, 2010, 2015a, 2016; OECD, 2015) 2002









Global education aid

7 799

11 697

11 410

14 400

14 218

14 027

12 584

12 661

13 055

SSA education aid share

2 816

3 274

3 225

3 865

3 978

3 522

3 486

4 011

3 233

Percentage of SSA share










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as demonstrated by the percentage share of ODA, and also the recent declining trends in education aid. For instance, while education’s aid share fell from 8.0 percent in 2008 to 7.7 percent in 2012, health aid increased from 11.5 to 13.2 percent in 2012. In addition, education attracts less multilateral funding than health at 34 percent of total education aid and 65 percent of total health aid, respectively (Steer & Smith, 2015, p. 6). The third challenge is that, although the least-developed countries face a huge funding gap and deserve significant increases in aid, there are indications that inadequate aid may be available for such countries, especially SSA nations. Evidence shows that although ODA peaked at US$ 132 billion in 2015, only 30 percent of total ODA (approximately US$ 40 billion) was allocated to the least-developed countries, the lowest share since 2006 when developed countries committed to mobilising US$ 100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing country efforts (OECD, 2016). In addition, recent trends show that other regions may be getting more donor attention than SSA in terms of education aid allocation. For instance, between 2002 and 2010, when there was a steady increase in aid, education funding increased by 77 percent globally, but only by 38 percent for SSA (Fredriksen & Kagia, 2013, p. 48). The share of total aid to the region has also slightly declined over time from 36.1 percent in 2002 to 31.7 percent in 2013 (OECD, 2016). The fourth challenge is that a substantial amount of aid is not reaching recipient countries, particularly the low-income countries in Africa. Evidence shows that country programmable aid (CPA), which is directly controlled by developing countries in their aid programming, is not fully utilised by recipient countries. According to Steer and Smith

It has been established that traditional forms of financing will not be sufficient to finance the ambitious Education 2030 Agenda, particularly in the lowincome countries where the funding gap is the largest.

(2015), in 2013, over 70 percent of the CPA was made available for expenditure at the country level, but 30 percent remained with the donor countries. Moreover, although the total sector-allocable aid for all levels of education was an average of $11.7 billion from 2011 to 2013, only $8 billion, or about 70 percent, was available for spending at the country level (ibid). The low-income country share of CPA that reached countries declined from a peak of 58.9 percent in 2010 to 52.1 percent in 2013 (AfDB et al., 2016, p. 67). Other challenges related to aid are corruption, fraud and abuse; promotion of dependency; and the use of aid to advance donor interests and influence recipients unduly (UNECA, 2015; Ng’ambi, 2011).


Innovative financing It has been established that traditional forms of financing will not be sufficient to finance the ambitious Education 2030 Agenda, particularly in the low-income countries where the funding gap is the largest. The funding gap can be closed through innovative financing, which is defined as “financial solutions to development challenges that remain insufficiently addressed by traditional aid flows” (OECD, 2014, p. 179). At the continental level, innovative financing and spending could raise the domestic resource base to at least US$ 2 850 billion annually (UNECA, 2015). Popular mechanisms that are emerging include remittances, savings from the curtailment of IFFs, diaspora funds, better-negotiated mineral contracts, and the expansion of Africa’s fiscal space (ibid). For instance, a high-level panel established by the AU Assembly to consider alternative sources of financing proposed that revenues of US$ 1.4 billion could be raised through levies (UNECA, 2015). Similarly, Africa has the potential to raise between US$ 5 billion and US$ 10 billion annually in the international capital market through the securitisation of remittances from its diaspora communities (ibid). Innovative financing in the education sector is not as advanced as in other sectors like health and climate change, and there is much room for exploration (UNESCO, 2015a). Emerging sources of innovative financing in education include diaspora bonds, a financial transaction tax, local currency education bonds, venture funds, voluntary contributions from migrants, debt swaps, sports levies, public-private partnerships, and micro-donations from individual bank transactions (ibid). For instance, it has been noted that India has raised over US$ 35 billion through diaspora bonds (Burnett & Bermingham, 2010). The potential of an education bond was demonstrated in October 2011 when Ohio State University issued a Century Bond which raised US$ 500 million (ibid). An international finance facility for education has the potential to raise US$ 3 billion to US$ 4 billion a year, while a 0.5 percent levy on mobile phone transactions in Europe could raise US$ 894 million for education per year (Malala Fund, 2015). In Malawi, the Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) levy set at 1.0 percent of the basic payroll for both private employers and the government accounted for, on average, 92.5 percent of government TEVET income during the period 2007/08 to 2011/12 (World Bank, 2013). There are also alternative non-traditional ODA sources such as NGOs, philanthropies, and non-traditional donors which have significant sourcing potential. In 2014, DAC countries channelled US$ 19 billion in ODA to and through civil society organisations (CSOs), and this accounted for 17.4 percent of total bilateral aid (OECD, 2016, p. 157). Philanthropic contributions to development have multiplied by nearly ten times in less than a decade from around US$ 3 billion in 2003 to TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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US$ 30 billion in 2012 (OECD, 2014, 2016, p. 72). Emerging foundations involved in social impact projects include the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bertelsmann Foundation, which are undertaking to support research and networks, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, which are targeting the use of programme-related investments (OCED, 2016, p. 107). Non-traditional donors emerging include Russia, China, Korea and the Gulf States such as the UAE and Qatar. These countries contributed about US$ 11 billion in development financing during 2010, equivalent to eight percent of global aid (UNESCO, 2012, p. 152). According to expert projections, non-traditional sources may contribute as much as US$ 70 billion per year (Malala Fund, 2015; Burnett & Bermingham, 2010). Last but not least, private finance has considerable potential as an external source of funding for education. The OECD (2016) reports that net private flows from the private sector in DAC member countries to developing countries amounted to US$ 403 billion in 2014. The role of private finance has been recognised in the AU CESA (2016-2025), which has recommended mobilisation of public-private partnerships, encouraging corporate social responsibility (CSR), and improving the business environment to enhance increased private sector investment in education and training (AU, 2016). However, to exploit this option, the AU Member States need to put in place mechanisms for regulating the private sector. Failure to do so will likely leave the door wide open for low-cost for-profit schools, and an expansion of Bridge International Academies, Omega Schools, and other similar profit-seeking commercial firms that provide low-quality education which has little benefit for the children and extracts profits from poor communities in Africa instead (AU, 2016). Apart from compromising the quality of education, increased private sector provision of education services, especially at the basic level while charging fees, hinders education for disadvantaged poor children (GCE, 2015). This is especially true for girls whose parents cannot afford the fees, and it will have a negative impact on equity, gender rights and girls’ education (ibid).

Maximising education financing through innovative spending An important aspect of innovative financing is innovative spending which ensures that finances are allocated and spent through mechanisms that would achieve efficiency and effectiveness at national and international levels. There are several strategies that could be considered at the national and international level for innovative spending, and these are discussed in the following two sections. These are based on recommendations from various authors including GCE (2015), Malala Fund (2015), Burnett and Bermingham (2010), OECD (2014, 2015), UNESCO (2015), Muchabaiwa (2016), UNCTAD (2006), Niño-Zarazúa (2015), Fredriksen and Kagia (2013), Transparency International (2013), and Lewin (2008).

National level interventions • Governments should increase the size of spending in education – and also ensure gender lenses are used – in line with adopted global and continental benchmarks on financing (GCE, 2015; NiñoZarazúa, 2015). • Stakeholders should ensure that budgeting and spending focus on results, especially in promoting equity (including gender equity) and learning outcomes. Initiatives that can help promote equity include demand-side schemes, conditional cash transfers, gendered scholarships, vouchers, loan schemes that are income-contingent, learning accounts, education savings accounts, and federal state equalising transfers (Malala Fund, 2015; Cohen, Bloom, Malin & Curry, 2007). To promote quality, initiatives such as pedagogical policies targeted at underperforming pupils are warranted to improve student learning (Lewin, 2008). • Governments should develop and implement fiscal policies and budgets that promote equity with specific fiscal measures undertaken to reach out to the poorest and most marginalised children, including girls and those in conflict, humanitarian and other difficult situations. To achieve the equity goal, the latest child rights data and statistics, careful planning, and analysis of the practical and strategic needs of different categories of children are required (Lewin, 2008). • Governments should ensure gender responsive budgeting so that education budgets and unit costs are targeting girls and women in order to address gender gaps (Malala Fund, 2015; CSEC, 2015). • Stakeholders should promote partnerships with communities in financing school-related projects incorporating voluntary labour and financial contributions to help reduce project costs. • Governments should adopt financing principles which relate to ensuring resources are adequate, sustainable and efficient in order to achieve the education sector objectives and national goals effectively. • Governments should adopt changes and improvements in budgeting models to encourage financing modalities that focus on longterm impact rather than short-term gains. This can be achieved by, among others: i. Promoting programme-based budgeting rather than traditional line-item budgeting to align with medium- to long-term planning and results; ii. Using sector-wide and integrated financial simulation models as a way of validating overall development policy which is coherent and supported by all; and iii. Undertaking gender budgeting and budget analysis to address gender issues (UNESCO, 2015a; Malala Fund, 2015). • Fighting corruption and prioritising spending to education (UNECA, 2015; Transparency International, 2013). • Arresting IFFs and prioritising spending on education (UNECA, 2015). • Encourage the use of education budget analysis and expenditure

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diagnostic tools, including public expenditure reviews, gender budget analysis and public expenditure tracking surveys (UNESCO, 2015a). • Adopt cost-saving education delivery policies by maximising the use of technology and non-traditional methods of teaching and learning using technological innovations in content delivery; by using e-learning, radio technology, mobile phone technology, distance learning, and non-traditional facilities like churches and workplaces; as well as using teachers with non-formal qualifications, while using technology to support them (Lewin, 2008; Fredriksen & Kagia, 2013). • Applying other cost-saving packages for policy reform, such as reallocating resources for education to address gender gaps, containing recurrent costs, improving teacher deployment and utilisation, improving facilities and buildings, increasing cost recovery, and utilising non-government resources (Lewin, 2008; Muchabaiwa, 2016). International interventions • Donors should promote improvements in the delivery of aid for national education programmes through mechanisms that strengthen predictability of funding, and the use of national financing schemes and sector-wide policies aligned to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (GCE, 2015; Malala Fund, 2015). • Increasing the quantity of aid in line with global benchmarks, prioritising allocations to low-income countries, and targeting countries farthest from achieving education goals and fragile nations (GCE, 2015). • Ensuring that more CPA reaches the countries to enhance national-level programming and spending, depending on national priorities (UNECA, 2015). • Donors should provide grants rather than loans because, unlike loans, grants are easier to disburse, more predictable, easier to link to development objectives, and can reduce the level of national debt (GCE, 2015). • Countries should consider debt-for-education swaps which involve the write-off of debt in exchange for the debtor’s commitment of domestic resources to education (Malala Fund, 2015; UNECA, 2015). • Donors should channel aid through general budget support rather than through short-term disconnected projects in order to achieve consistency in programme implementation, and ensure the interconnectedness of the goals and targets of the SDGs (GCE, 2015). • Donors should balance technical efficiency of aid delivery with allocative efficiency through targeted spending which ensures that aid is used where it can have the greatest impact. • Donors should channel resources through coordinated financing mechanisms, such as through a global fund (for example, the Global Partnership for Education) at international level; or through pooled funding, or a sector-wide approach (SWAP) for funding mechanisms at the national level (GCE, 2015).


• Development partners should support independent education budget analysis and expenditure diagnostic initiatives by civil society, research institutions, and think-tanks including public expenditure reviews and public expenditure tracking surveys. This will help to illustrate changes in volume, efficiency and equity of public resources for education as well as fight corruption (UNESCO, 2015a).

Financing strategies for ensuring gender parity Achieving gender parity is an important component of the Education 2030 Agenda, given that the education system is characterised by huge disparities, leaving more females illiterate. By 2012, apparently only 10 African countries achieved gender parity at the primary, lower secondary and upper secondary school levels (including Botswana, Cabo Verde, Seychelles and South Africa); while five countries achieved parity for primary and lower secondary schools (including Gambia, Kenya and Senegal) (UNESCO Dakar, 2015, p. 32). Furthermore, 11 countries achieved parity at primary school level only (including Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe); and 21 countries failed to achieve gender parity at any level (including Benin, Cameroon, Djibouti, and Mozambique) (ibid). In general, the survival, transitional and completion rates were lower for girls than for boys at all schooling levels (UNESCO Dakar, 2015, p. 32). Post-2012, the gender parity index (GPI) remained in favour of boys, with an estimated GPI of 0.93 at the primary level, 0.91 at the secondary level, and 0.87 at the tertiary level, as recorded below in table 4 (UNECA, 2016, p. 27). The situation is worse for poor rural girls as only 23 percent of them complete their primary education in Central, East, West and Southern Africa (ibid). Furthermore, official data shows that while SSA is home to 93 million out-of-school children and youths, females have a higher rate of exclusion than males with 23 percent excluded at the primary school level, 36 percent at lower secondary level, and 60.8 percent excluded at upper secondary level, compared to 21 percent, 32 percent and 56.6 percent for males, respectively (UIS & UNICEF, 2016). It is estimated that, across SSA, 15 million children –nine million girls and six million boys – are expected never to attend school (ibid). Moreover, in 2014, there were 47.6 million illiterate youths and 181.9 million illiterate adults (UIS & UNICEF, 2016). Females made up the majority at 59.6 percent and 61 percent respectively (ibid). These patterns will need to change significantly if girls and women are to contribute meaningfully towards the achievement of the SDGs on the continent. This is particularly important given that women and girls make more than half of the total population on the continent (UNECA, 2016). There are many barriers to achieving equitable female education, particularly financial constraints. Financial barriers, particularly at primary and secondary school level, include fees and indirect costs such as uniforms, textbooks, travel costs, supplementing community teacher salaries, and school management committee charges (Iversen, 2012). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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Therefore, stakeholders should employ several strategies to reduce financial barriers to education. Among other strategies, governments should implement fee-free schooling policies at primary and secondary levels; minimise direct costs associated with schooling, even where primary and secondary education are free; where fees are applicable, provide safety nets, including cash transfers, bursaries, grants, scholarships and loan schemes targeted at the needy, to ensure female learners and other vulnerable groups are protected; and increase education spending, even in countries with limited budgets. Addressing financial barriers has proven very useful in promoting participation of girls and women in various countries. For example, Kenya launched fee-free secondary education to reduce the financial burden of secondary education on children and their families. The scheme provides 10 265 Kenyan shillings (KSh) (approximately US$ 105) for each child annually to decrease the cost of attending secondary school, and this has contributed to a 50 percent increase in secondary enrollment since its implementation in 2008 (Malala Fund, 2015, p. 31. Similar to the Basic Income Grant (BIG) (discussed by Herbert Jauch elsewhere in this issue) conditional cash has the additional value of providing an effective mechanism to redistribute wealth to the poor and can be further targeted to specific policy areas such girls transitioning from primary to secondary schools (Burnett & Bermingham, 2010). Another strategy is scaling up of costing of national gender-based violence action plans to allow for determination of required resources, matching results with required resources, mobilisation of required resources based on exact requirements, and measurement of the value of planned outputs and activities (UNECA, 2013, pp 46-52). This strategy has proven particularly useful in such countries as the Seychelles and Mauritius (ibid). In addition, developing community-based partnerships and financing models have proved to be crucial to mobilising finances where public resources are limited, to increasing buy-in and ownership and bolstering the value of education, especially for girls (Malala Fund, 2015). A good example of this is from Zimbabwe where, in the 1980s, community contributions and labour were harnessed to build secondary school infrastructure. Parents took charge of school management, while the government financed teaching costs and learning materials (Malala Fund, 2015). This initiative to build schools in the community also decreased dependence on boarding schools and cost US$ 50 annually per pupil, compared to the annual cost of US$ 250 per pupil at traditional boarding schools (ibid). Subsequently, communities also

supported the establishment of upper secondary schools – an initiative that would not have been possible with government financing alone (Malala Fund, 2015). Gender budgeting, which uses a gender lens in budget formulation, helps to address gender disparity in education. This conclusion is based on experience from the Australian Women’s Budget Initiative, South African Women’s Budget Initiative, Tanzanian Women Activists and the Philippines Gender and Development Budget (Oxfam Canada, 2008, pp 4-6). Last but not least, the establishment of a gender equality marker within the DAC countries has increased aid for gender equality as well as ensuring accountability of governments in promoting girls and women’s rights. According to the OECD (2016), the DAC Gender Equality Marker is a statistical aid measurement instrument applied to test achievements in gender equality and women’s empowerment. Activities are designated “principal” when gender equality is a primary objective, “significant” when it is a secondary objective, or “not targeted” (ibid). All DAC countries screen their activities against the Gender Equality Marker. The marker is an important tool for strengthening accountability and transparency in DAC provider financing for gender equality and women’s rights. In 2014, DAC countries committed a total of US$ 33 billion for gender equality and women’s empowerment (OECD, 2016, p. 158).

Challenges to address The main challenges include a lack of sensitivity to gender and equity or inadequacies within national educational plans, a lack of capacity to collect gender-disaggregated data on government allocations and spending, and weak financial systems in governments to handle cash-related schemes as highlighted by several authors (UNESCO, 2015a; Burnett & Bermingham, 2010; CSEC, 2010). According to UNESCO (2015a, p. 293), governments are slow to adopt policies that promote equity and, although information may be available for planning, it is not applied to formulate targets for marginalised groups or to pursue the appropriate agenda. In addition to this, the implementation of direct cash transfers faces a major drawback in that these schemes require sophisticated government financial systems to ensure effective targeting and efficient delivery of funds to the intended beneficiaries (Burnett & Bermingham, 2010). This appears to have impeded the transfer of conditional cash transfer programmes to the

TABLE 4: Ratio of girls to boys at various education levels in Africa, before 2012 (UNECA, 2015, p. 5) Education level

African continent

Northern Africa

Central Africa

Western Africa






















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Eastern Africa Southern Africa


FINANCING FOR EDUCATION 2030 in Africa: An examination of the costs, funding gaps and financing strategies

least-developed countries in Africa which have much weaker government systems. There may be scope for overcoming some of these problems through public-private partnerships, possibly linked to cash transfer savings schemes (Burnett & Bermingham, 2010). Finally, studies done in Ethiopia by Oxfam Canada (2008) and in Malawi by CSEC (2010) have established that, even though stakeholders might have welcomed gender budgeting and analysis, governments must do more to promote such initiatives.

Conclusion This article has provided an overview of the new education agenda at global and continental levels, and the financial challenges facing the world and the continent in the implementation of Education 2030 Agenda. The article also critically examined both traditional and emerging innovative strategies available to governments and stakeholders to finance the new ambitious agenda in the coming 15 years. Moreover, the article discussed strategies for financing gender-related programmes by addressing financial barriers to female education based on good practices from various countries. Considering the enormous funding gap for lower- and lower-middle-income countries for the period between 2015 and 2030 estimated at US$ 39.5 billion (UNESCO, 2015b), Africa needs to work diligently to ensure that no one is left behind in the implementation of Education 2030 Agenda due to financial challenges. While the continent would require financial support from external sources in terms of international ODA, it has been demonstrated in this article that domestic resource mobilisation is key to the achievement of Education 2030 Agenda and that governments must take the lead in the mobilisation of such resources. The world has made several pledges of offering education to everyone, yet these pledges have been broken in the past too often. The world cannot afford to break the new promise made at Incheon, South Korea, in 2000 of leaving no one behind in providing inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. This is especially the case when it has been illustrated that a “business as usual” approach will result in SSA not achieving universal primary education by or before 2080, and universal upper secondary education before 2021 (UNESCO, 2016, pp 152-153).

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20. OECD (2016) Development Co-operation Report 2016: The Sustainable Development Goals as business opportunities. OECD: Paris. (accessed 1 March 2017). 21. OECD (2015) Aid to education. OECD, Paris. dac/stats/education.htm (accessed 15 August 2016). 22. OECD (2014) Development Co-operation Report 2014: Mobilising resources for sustainable development. OECD: Paris. http://bit. ly/2mbZe5N (accessed 1 March 2017). 23. Oxfam Canada (2008) Gender budgeting for advocacy and promoting girls’ education at primary level. Oxfam Canada, Addis Ababa. 24. Steer L & Smith K (2015) Financing education: Opportunities for global action. Centre for Universal Education, Brookings Institution, Washington DC. (accessed 15 January 2017). 25. Transparency International (2013) Global Corruption Report – Education. Routledge: London. 26. UN (2015) Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN, New York. (accessed 15 August 2016). 27. UNCTAD (2014) World Investment Report 2014. Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan. UNCTAD: Geneva. PublicationsLibrary/wir2014_en.pdf (accessed 13 August 2016). 28. UNCTAD (2006) Economic development in Africa doubling aid: Making the “big push” work. gdsafrica20061_en.pdf (accessed 15 January 2017). 29. UNDP (2012) Innovative financing for development: A new model for development finance? Discussion paper. UNDP, New York. (accessed 15 January 2017). 30. UNECA (2016) Greening Africa’s industrialization. Economic report on Africa 2016. UNECA, Addis Ababa. (accessed 15 January 2017). 31. UNECA (2015) Innovative Financing for Economic Transformation of Africa. UNECA: Addis Ababa. (accessed 15 January 2017). 32. UNECA (2013) Policy harmonisation in addressing gender-based violence in Southern Africa. UNECA, Lusaka. (accessed 15 January 2017). 33. UNESCO (2016) Education for People and Planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Global Education Monitoring Report 2016. UNESCO: Paris. images/0024/002457/245752e.pdf (accessed 15 January 2017).

34. UNESCO (2015a) EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015. Education For All 2000-2015: Achievements and challenges. UNESCO, Paris. (accessed 15 January 2017). 35. UNESCO (2015b) Global Monitoring Report Policy Paper No. 8. UNESCO, Paris. (accessed 15 January 2017). 36. UNESCO (2015c) Education 2030, Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all. UNESCO, Paris. http://bit. ly/2luPTqe (accessed 15 January 2017). 37. UNESCO (2014) EFA Global Monitoring Report 2014. Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all. UNESCO, Paris. http://bit. ly/1XWektT (accessed 15 January 2017). 38. UNESCO (2010) EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010. UNESCO, Paris. pdf (accessed 15 January 2017). 39. UNESCO (2006) Literacy EFA Global Monitoring Report 2006. UNESCO, Paris. images/0014/001416/141639e.pdf (accessed 15 January 2017). 40. UNESCO Dakar (2015) Sub-Saharan Africa Education For All 2015 regional review. Final synthesis report, International Institute for Educational Planning, Pôle de Dakar. (accessed 15 January 2017). 41. UIS (2011) Financing Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Meeting the Challenges of Expansion, Equity and Quality. UNESCO, Paris. (accessed 15 January 2017). 42. UIS & UNICEF (2015) Fixing the broken promise of Education For All: Findings from the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. UIS, Montreal. (accessed 15 August 2016). 43. Wils A (2015) Reaching education targets in low and lower-middleincome countries: Costs and finance gaps to 2030. Background paper prepared for the Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2015. UNESCO, Paris. images/0023/002325/232560e.pdf (accessed 15 January 2017). 44. World Bank (2013) Malawi public expenditure review. Poverty reduction and economic management 4, Africa region. Report no. 79865 – MW. World Bank, Washington DC. (accessed 15 January 2017). 45. World Bank (2010) The Education System in Malawi. World Bank working paper no. 182. World Bank, Washington DC. http://bit. ly/2lg5qdXts (accessed 15 January 2017).

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THE BASIC INCOME GRANT (BIG) as a strategy to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and enhance educational outcomes in Namibia Herbert Jauch and Bronwyn King Herbert Jauch has been actively involved in the labour movement in Southern Africa for many years. He served as an executive member of the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (NANTU) as well as on various committees of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW). For the past 20 years, Herbert has worked as a labour researcher, carrying out research projects for various Namibian and Southern African trade unions. Herbert was instrumental in developing a Labour Diploma course for Namibian trade unions, and he worked for the trade union-based Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI) in Katutura from 1998 until 2010. He is an active member of Namibia’s Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition since its inception in 2004, and he now works as a labour researcher and educator. Bronwyn King is the copy editor for BUWA! She runs a small business in Cape Town offering language editing and rapporteur and transcription services. Her major focus is academic editing and particularly on assisting African scholars to produce quality research papers for publication with the aim of promoting African scholarship globally. Bronwyn seeks to enhance academic performance, promotes high ethical standards in academia, and offers focused support for knowledge production and research publication. Bronwyn is proudly South African, loves Africa deeply and dislikes being away from the continent. She believes feminism has a major role to play in Africa due to the low status of most African women and girls and the desperate need for their emancipation by means of economic inclusion and at the most personal levels of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and status in the home. Bronwyn has completed projects for the National Research Foundation of South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Anglo American, the South African Human Rights Commission, and the Technology Innovation Agency, among many others. Bronwyn is a UNISA BA (Languages and Literature) graduate and an amateur singer. Email:

Introduction When Namibia achieved independence in 1990, about five percent of the population (whites) controlled over 70 percent of the country’s GDP, while an estimated two-thirds of the population were living in conditions of absolute poverty (Jauch, 2015). Today, inequality and poverty are still major challenges, and this is evident in the high Gini coefficient of around 0.61 and high levels of unemployment (ibid). In 2008, Namibia recorded an overall unemployment rate of 51.2 percent. The situation for women and children is even worse. Youth unemployment reached around 75 percent in 2008 (Jauch, 2015). The Labour Force Survey of 2012 (Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), 2013) showed an overall unemployment rate of 27.4 percent with a rate of 31.8 percent among women and 52 percent among the youth (Jauch, 2015). However, the Labour Force Survey figures are contested as the methodology used to measure employment gave misleading outcomes. The test for employment was whether a person was engaged in any type of economic activity for only one hour in the week prior to


their being interviewed (Jauch, 2015). This included activities such as looking after animals, fixing a fence, catching fish, collecting firewood, repairing household items, etc. (ibid). Anybody engaged in any such activity for one hour was counted as employed, bringing down the official unemployment rate substantially. Poverty still affects a large number of Namibians. It can be measured in different ways and the methodology used determines to a significant extent who will be considered poor. While the official figures put the poverty rate at about 27 percent of the population, other measures put it as high as 82 percent (Jauch, Edwards & Cupido, 2009). In 2015, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2015, p. 45) reported that 42.3 percent of Namibians were undernourished, an increase of 18 percent since the early 1990s. The FAO also notes that the country has not achieved MDG Target 1c (reduce the proportion of chronically undernourished citizens by half) and has displayed a “lack of progress or deterioration” in this area (pp 45, 57). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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No matter which methodology is applied to measure unemployment, inequality and poverty, there is no shortage of reliable evidence gathered over years which shows that these are major issues in Namibia today (English, 2016; Jauch et al., 2009; National Planning Commission (NPC), 2015; Teweldemedhin, 2016). Although there are various social protection measures, including a universal pension that now stands at N$ 1 200 for every person 60 years of age or older, there is still no universal social protection (Jauch, 2015). It is distressing that Namibians outside formal employment are practically excluded from the provisions of the Social Security Act, and many of these individuals are women with children and unemployed youths. Namibia’s widespread unemployment also means that almost half of Namibian households depend on a single wage earner, and thus unemployment has an immediate effect on household survival (Jauch, 2015). In the economic sphere, the post-independence changes have been overly cautious and far from transformative. Action is needed, especially on the part of Government, to uplift Namibians from poverty and ensure they enjoy a decent standard of living and socioeconomic rights. Only if more women and youths can find employment or secure some stable income, for example, through a Basic Income Grant (BIG), will it be possible for the many poor Namibians to free themselves from inter-generational poverty in which they are still trapped. The story of the BIG in Namibia shows glimmers of hope, as will be shown in this article, but it has not been adopted by the Namibian Government.

BIG proponents and opponents The first suggestion of a BIG came in 2002 from the Namibian Government’s Tax Commission (NAMTAX) which proposed a universal grant as the most effective way to fight poverty and reduce inequality in a short period of time. NAMTAX pointed out that sustainable economic development would be unachievable if poverty and inequality were not alleviated in Namibia and suggested that the grant be financed through a progressive expenditure tax on the wealthy and on luxury goods (Jauch, 2015; Haarmann et al., 2009; Haarmann & Haarmann, 2005). Namibian civil society organisations, local businesspeople, churches and international agencies recognised the potential of the NAMTAX proposal to benefit the nation and they formed a BIG Collation which continues to advocate for its introduction. The Government showed interest and indicated a willingness to develop a more holistic system of social protection and economic empowerment, although it did not commit to introducing a BIG (Jauch, 2015; Haarmann et al., 2009). The proposal was that every Namibian citizen have the right to a BIG of not less than N$ 100 (about US$ 12 at the time) per month until they become eligible for the social pension upon turning 60 years of age (Jauch, 2016). The proposed BIG was essentially seen as an effective instrument to fight poverty and to introduce improved economic rights as well as individual dignity. On its own, the amount was insufficient to wipe out poverty. Nevertheless, it would have been enough

to guarantee some basic food security and freedom from hunger and thus was a step towards the realisation of the basic right of each person to enjoy a reasonable standard of living, as set out in numerous policy documents to which Namibia is a signatory, including the recent Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (Absalom, 2016; Jauch, 2015). The BIG would have required around five to six percent of Namibia’s national budget (equivalent to about three percent of national GDP) which could have been raised through tax adjustments, and calculations done by experts showed that it was viable (Jauch, 2015; Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 16). Considering the benefits discussed in the following section, this would be well worth it. Haarmann et al. (ibid) further explain the situation in 2009: An econometric analysis revealed that Namibia’s tax capacity exceeds 30 percent of the national income. The current collection rate is below 25 percent and thus Namibia’s excess capacity to raise tax revenue significantly exceeds the net costs of a Basic Income Grant. This makes the BIG affordable in Namibia. This and other similar arguments in favour of the BIG were not enough to convince the Namibian Government which has remained divided on the issue (Jauch, 2015). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepped in as well and advised against a universal cash grant for Namibia (Isaacs, 2006). The IMF proposed that Namibia consider conditional grant programmes, such as those in Brazil and Mexico. It is noteworthy that, in such cases, financial assistance is “preferably made to female heads of households as they are more likely to spend the money on their children” (Isaacs, 2006). However, Namibia’s situation differed significantly from that of South American nations in the mid-2000s and this is certainly still the case. Thus, Namibia requires a different approach. For example, while Namibia did not meet the MDG target 1c mentioned above, both Mexico and Brazil did (FAO, 2015, p. 12). Namibians’ overall food security status is thus much more fragile. Education and employment rates are likewise different. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA, 2017) reports the female youth unemployment rate in Namibia at a staggering 62.2 percent. In Mexico and Brazil, it is significantly lower at 10.3 percent and 18.7 percent respectively (ibid). Even the relative sizes of the three nations’ labour forces indicate that they are not in a similar situation economically and demographically. Mexico and Brazil both have over 50 million labourers; Namibia has 1.2 million labourers, comparatively a much smaller labour force (CIA, 2017). Namibia’s literacy rate is at 84.5 percent for females who spend an average of 11 years in school (ibid), but this is insufficient to compete in today’s global economy and also hampers women and girls’ ability to compete in the national economy. On the other hand, Brazilian females spend about 16 years in school, and 92.9 percent are literate; Mexican women and girls spend 13 years in school, and 94.2 percent are literate (CIA, 2017). These are only a few of the differences between the countries, and a closer examination would identify numerous others in terms of culture, gender norms and health.

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THE BASIC INCOME GRANT (BIG) as a strategy to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and enhance educational outcomes in Namibia

When the IMF advised against the BIG in 2006, stating it would not be viable, the BIG Coalition contended that IMF officials were unduly influencing and misleading the Namibian Government to block equitable wealth redistribution (Isaacs, 2006). The BIG Coalition showed how the calculations the IMF used to substantiate its claim were inaccurate (ibid). The IMF was thus labelled “an opponent of the poor, which opposed the idea of a BIG strictly on ideological grounds, rather than economic and social considerations” (Isaacs, 2006). The BIG Coalition realised that it needed to increase pressure by embarking on a visible campaign to convince Government officials. The decision was also taken to start a pilot project in 2008 to provide relevant evidence of whether or not a BIG would be effective and sustainable in Namibia.

The BIG pilot project The Coalition’s chairperson, Bishop Zephania Kameeta, suggested that the BIG be tested in practice and a pilot project be undertaken (Jauch, 2015). A BIG could be implemented on a small scale in a localised area and its impact documented. The chosen location was the settlement of Otjivero, about 100 km east of Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city. This settlement of about 1 000 people became the site of the BIG pilot project which ran from 2008 to 2009. It was funded by local and international donations, mostly from churches in Germany (Jauch, 2015). Many of the Otjivero residents had been former farm workers who lost their jobs and were evicted from the farms with nowhere else to go (Jauch, 2015). Most lived in shacks and poverty was widespread. Following public village meetings, the residents agreed to become the hosts of the BIG pilot phase and embarked on their own process of moIn November 2007, 76 percent of residents lived below the poverty line. This was reduced to 37 percent within one year of the BIG’s implementation. ... At baseline, 42 percent of children were underweight. In June 2008, this was down to 17 percent and, just five months later, it was only 10 percent. bilisation by electing an 18-member BIG Committee to guide the pilot project within their community (Jauch, 2015). The committee consisted of local teachers, the nurse, the police, as well as small businesspeople such as shebeen (unlicensed pub) owners, and other community members. The committee wanted to ensure the best possible impact of the BIG on the lives of individual residents and the wider community, but recipients of the grant had free choice of what to do with the money (Haarmann et al., 2009). The role of the community in the pilot project was prioritised, and they were fully involved throughout the process. The community felt


that, unlike other development projects, the BIG pilot project gave them ownership of the process and responsibility for the outcomes (Jauch, 2015). The role of the BIG Coalition was to facilitate the registration of all residents for the BIG payments, the issuing of smart cards for easy identification and payments, and the documentation of socioeconomic changes resulting from the BIG (ibid). Pilot project outcomes and relevance to the SDGs The pilot project researchers (Haarmann et al., 2009, pp 14-17) outline the key changes that occurred after the introduction of the BIG in Otjivero from the 2007 baseline. A critical reflection of some of these outcomes is given below, and their relation to specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN-DESA, 2016) is indicated. 1. SDG 1: Poverty reduction. Evidence shows that a national BIG could have a dramatic impact on poverty levels in Namibia as household poverty dropped significantly during the pilot project. In November 2007, 76 percent of residents lived below the poverty line. This was reduced to 37 percent within one year of the BIG’s implementation. An influx of people from other areas to Otjivero also occurred which affected the results. If the BIG were to be implemented on a larger scale, it is reasonable to conclude that poverty levels would drop even further. The BIG is a form of social protection, a poverty reduction strategy and supports pro-poor economic growth. As a national policy, it would greatly assist Namibia in achieving the SDGs to which the country has committed. 2. SDG 1: Poverty reduction, and SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth. The BIG can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. The rate of those engaged in income-generating activities increased from 44 percent to 55 percent. Individuals thus chose not to simply live off the grant but to increase their own economic activities, particularly through starting their own small businesses including brickmaking, baking and dressmaking. The BIG also contributed to the creation of a local market by increasing household buying power. 3. SDG 2: End hunger, SDG 3: Health and wellbeing, and SDG 4: Education. There are major advantages for child welfare. The BIG resulted in a huge reduction in child malnutrition. A WHO technique was used to measure children’s weight-for-age. At baseline, 42 percent of children were underweight. In June 2008, this was down to 17 percent and, just five months later, it was only 10 percent. Furthermore, prior to the introduction of the grant, almost half of the children of school-going age did not attend school regularly, and the pass rate was low. After the grant introduction, more than double the number of parents paid school fees, and most of the children had school uniforms. Some of the most encouraging results are that school drop-out rates fell to a mere five percent within six months and to almost zero after 12 months. 4. SDG 3: Health and wellbeing. Healthcare access improved significantly. The residents started using the settlement’s clinic more TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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regularly and were able and willing to pay the N$ 4 fee for each visit. Income of the clinic increased fivefold enabling better service provision. In the past, access to ARVs was hampered by poverty and lack of transport. The BIG also enabled HIV-positive residents to afford nutritious food and make use of transport to reach clinics and thus receive medication. The Namibian Government later became involved by making ARVs available in Otjivero. Residents no longer needed to travel to a town over 100km away for ARV treatment. 5. SDG 3: Health and wellbeing, and SDG 11: Sustainable communities. Residents started to feel less isolated. Haarmann et al. (2009) reported that residents did not socialise because they were struggling to feed themselves and avoided one another as they assumed others had only come to beg. A basic income for every person allowed them to start socialising and to trust one another, and the community was thus strengthened. The BIG thus meant that community development could begin, communication among residents increased, and sociological and interpersonal needs could be addressed. 6. SDG 5: Gender equality, and SDG 10: Reduced inequalities. Women’s empowerment started to take root. The introduction of the BIG reduced the dependency of women on men for their survival,

and it was found that women also gained greater control over their own sexuality. This is an extremely important finding regarding gender equity targets. A BIG also means that the massive gap between the rich and poor of Namibia can finally start to close. 7. SDG 11: Sustainable communities. A BIG can effectively assist with community mobilisation, offer hope and is thus valuable in sustainable community development. Case studies of Otjivero residents show that their lives were characterised by unemployment, hunger and poverty before the BIG’s introduction. Most residents had settled there because they had nowhere else to go and they saw little hope for the future. However, the introduction of the BIG ignited hope, and the community responded by establishing its own committee to mobilise and advise residents on how to spend the BIG money wisely. 8. SDG 16: Peace and justice. A reduction in crime was recorded. Overall crime rates, as reported to the local police station, fell by 42 percent. It can also be argued that for poor Namibians, who are in the majority, and those who have been exploited, the BIG is a just provision. The effects of the BIG on education, child welfare, inequalities and gender aspects in Otjivero are discussed in more detail below.

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THE BASIC INCOME GRANT (BIG) as a strategy to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and enhance educational outcomes in Namibia

SDG 4: Education and the BIG

SDG 5: Gender equality and the BIG

A particularly significant change occurred at the local primary school in Otjivero. Before the BIG, poverty and hunger kept many children from school, and it negatively affected educational outcomes – all too common features across rural African schools. Almost half of the school-going children did not attend school regularly due to financial reasons, and pass rates were low (Jauch, 2015). Many parents were unable to pay the school fees or buy school uniforms. The teachers observed that most learners came to school primarily to receive food and that they stayed away when the school feeding scheme ran out of food (Haarmann et al., 2009). This changed after the introduction of the BIG. Non-attendance and drop-out rates due to financial reasons fell dramatically while pass rates improved significantly (Haarmann et al., 2009). By the end of the first year of the BIG, the community could, for the first time, send some of the learners to pursue secondary schooling elsewhere (ibid). Even at the local kindergarten, teachers observed significant changes:

The results of the BIG point to an overall improvement in socioeconomic conditions and they also had a significant gender dimension. Firstly, the BIG for children was paid to their caregivers. These were women in almost all cases because, as is common in Namibia, Otjivero households are mostly matrifocal (Jauch et al., 2009). Female-headed households and single mothers are the norm and, thus, women were the primary beneficiaries of the grant, entrusted with resources to provide a decent standard of living for their household (ibid). UNICEF (2007) has pointed out that empowering women and increasing the resources available to them improves child survival rates, nutritional status and school attendance. Likewise, HelpAge International (cited in Haarmann et al., 2009) observed that resources available to children are far greater in households where women are key decision-makers than in those households where men are in control. Secondly, the BIG allowed women (and men) to escape abusive and exploitative labour conditions. Besides the general gender wage gap in the Namibian labour market, women tend to find themselves concentrated in the worst jobs including those in the informal economy (Jauch, 2015). In Otjivero, domestic and farm work was often the only wage labour available, and women had to endure highly exploitative practices to earn meagre wages. Poverty forced them to accept such conditions as leaving employment would have resulted in immediate hunger and misery. With the introduction of the BIG, women had a secure source of income to survive in the interim period after leaving their jobs which allowed them to look for work elsewhere (Jauch, 2015). Thus the men and women of Otjivero had greater leverage regarding choices for their future. Thirdly, the BIG provided women with an income that was completely independent of their male partners. In the case of Otjivero, there were many examples of how women’s status within households improved significantly as they gained a level of economic power through the BIG (Jauch, 2015). They became less dependent on their male partners and gained far greater control over their own lives, reducing the need for transactional sex. The words of a young Otjivero woman illustrate this. In referring to male farm workers from the commercial farms in surrounding areas, she said: “When the young strong men come with lots of money, I no longer have to sleep with them to have enough money to buy food for my family. I can send them away now” (Haarmann et al., 2008, p. 89). Fourthly, the BIG gave women resources to send their children to school, including for Early Childhood Development (ECD). This helps with educational outcomes and allows more women to find employment. One resident said: “We had a crèche with only 13 children last year and this year the number increased to 52 children because many parents now have the money to pay for the children” (Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 68). He further said, “If you go to the primary school, you will notice that most of the children have school uniforms and they are clean and happy” (ibid).

The children come to school clean, on time and well fed. When it is break time we send the children back home to eat and they now come back on time. In the past, when we sent them home, most of them never returned... because the parents did not have food to give them... Before the Basic Income Grant things were really bad and it was difficult to teach the children. Now they concentrate more and pay more attention in class. They are generally happy because they have enough to eat at home – Mathilde Ganas (in Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 69).

“When the young strong men come with lots of money, I no longer have to sleep with them to have enough money to buy food for my family. I can send them away now” ... “Now I want to pay for my child and because I have paid for the school, I will ensure that she performs well”

Human and other resources available for the primary school and kindergarten remained the same (Haarmann et al., 2009). The introduction of the BIG was the decisive factor leading to an increase in attendance and school fees paid. The case of Otjivero thus shows that a reduction in poverty through a BIG has a valuable compound effect in terms of improved educational outcomes and child welfare.


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Women’s role in the community is vital, but it is also noteworthy that, when provided with a small income, a single father in Otjivero chose to make himself known to the school and was able to pay the school fees. The teacher did not know him before because he avoided contact with the school as he could not pay the fees. When he paid, he proudly said: “Now I want to pay for my child and because I have paid for the school, I will ensure that she performs well” (Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 42). This illustrates how fathers who are empowered with the dignity of a basic income can become involved in their children’s education and make positive education choices on their daughters’ behalf.

identified above. It is unsound reasoning to sacrifice the human rights of the majority based on the assumption that a minority may not make wise financial decisions. It is beyond doubt that the BIG has had a significant impact on reducing the dehumanising levels of poverty experienced by the residents of Otjivero and it does not seem fair to make assumptions which further prejudice these individuals. It is important that, first and foremost, the voice of the Otjivero residents be heard. Jonas Damaseb, a local resident, highlights that the BIG achieved a crucial human rights outcome for the people of Otjivero. He stated:

Human rights considerations and potential negative effects of a BIG

Generally, the BIG has brought life to our place. Everyone can afford food and one does not see any more people coming to beg for food as in the past. What I can say is that people have gained their human dignity and have become responsible [own emphasis] (Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 41).

Criticisms raised against the BIG should be carefully examined in relation to the evidence provided by the Namibian case study. For example, there was a concern expressed that an unconditional grant, such as the BIG, could lead to increasing alcoholism. However, this was not found in Otjivero during the pilot project and is not supported by the empirical evidence (Haarmann et al., 2009). The community committee took pre-emptive steps to kerb alcoholism and reached an agreement with local shebeens not to sell alcohol on the day of the grant payout. Six months after the introduction of the BIG, a local shebeen owner stated: The number of shebeens did not increase, in fact there were 8 shebeens before and now there are 7. We know there are many reports that the people are spending the money on alcohol instead of buying food but that is not true at all. We had a few cases when things went out of control but that only happened during the first pay-out. I would say, some people got excited about the money. After that, the [BIG] committee sat and had a meeting with the community and after that nothing serious happened again – Adam Tjatinda, July 2008 (Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 43). Much can be done to pre-empt such problems, and lessons from other countries can be taken into account in the implementation of the BIG. The researchers explain further: the establishment of the BIG committee and the discussion about the potential misuse of BIG money for alcohol has triggered a conscientisation process within the community. Shebeen owners are on the BIG Committee and there are open discussions about alcohol abuse (Haarmann et al., 2009, p. 44). The final decision remains with the individual as to how they will use their grant, but concerns that a BIG would do more harm than good are not based on the available evidence. The possibility that some individuals may not spend their grant wisely does not seem sufficient reason to forgo all the evidence-based advantages and improvements

What next? Encouraged by the pilot research results, the BIG Coalition was optimistic that it could convince the Namibian Government to introduce a national BIG. However, the Government has remained reluctant to do so and, instead, announced the introduction of food banks which is currently being implemented in poorer areas of Windhoek (Nakale, 2017). Nevertheless, far more must be done and on a greater scale, especially in the rural areas. Despite the empirical evidence and the calls for the BIG during the national dialogue on poverty and redistribution in 2015, Government officials seem to regard the BIG as an unaffordable welfare measure while the IMF continues to caution Namibia’s policymakers against implementation (Jauch, 2016). The IMF concedes that the way the Namibian Government decides to address poverty is a public policy choice and it claims only to act in an advisory capacity (Isaacs, 2006). It should be noted here that, since 2006, the IMF has not provided substantiated evidence as to why the BIG would be disadvantageous to Namibia. For the inhabitants of Otjivero, the Government’s refusal to implement a national BIG means that they remain vulnerable. For several years, the BIG Coalition had managed to raise funds, mainly from churches internationally, to sustain the BIG at a reduced level but funding ran out in 2014. Taking into account inflation, the BIG today would have to be set at not less than N$ 250 (currently around US$ 18) per person per month. This will have to be adjusted annually in line with inflation and GDP growth. A national BIG could be paid through the National Post Office’s savings system in a highly cost-effective manner (Jauch, 2016). At N$ 250 per person per month, the costs for a national BIG will be about two to three percent of Namibia’s GDP and five to six percent of the national budget. This is far less than what Namibia currently

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THE BASIC INCOME GRANT (BIG) as a strategy to reduce poverty and gender inequalities, and enhance educational outcomes in Namibia

spends on interest payments for its loans, and the BIG is still affordable. It can be financed through the national budget, based on a variety of sources such as income tax, corporate tax, a natural resource tax and levies on luxury goods. Considering the available evidence, a BIG will certainly lead to an immediate improvement in the living conditions of the majority of Namibia’s population. It is a contribution to redressing some of the structural economic injustices, and a means to foster economic inclusion. It will improve health conditions, educational outcomes and women’s emancipation in line with SDG 3, 4 and 5 respectively, and make significant contributions to numerous other SDG targets. The BIG contributes towards the realisation of socioeconomic rights, human dignity and improved standards of living. Its implementation would signal a commitment towards building a more inclusive society and what is required now is the political will to roll-out the grant.

NOTE 1. The Gini coefficient is used to measure the deviation in the distribution of income among individuals or households in a country from a situation of perfect equality. A value of 0 represents complete economic parity with everyone having the same. A value of 1 shows absolute inequality with one person having everything (UNDP, 2015, p. 65).

REFERENCES 1. Absalom J (2016) Ministry commits to fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals. 10 February. Ministry of Education, Windhoek. (accessed 2 March 2017). 2. CIA (2017) The World Factbook. CIA: Washington DC. https:// (accessed 2 March 2017). 3. English J (2016) Inequality and poverty in Namibia: A gaping wealth gap. The Borgen Project Blog, 5 November. https:// (accessed 2 March 2017). 4. FAO (2015) The State of Food Insecurity in the World. Meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: Taking stock of uneven progress. FAO: Rome. (accessed 2 March 2017).


5. Haarmann C & Haarmann D (2005) The Basic Income Grant in Namibia. Resource Book. ELCRN: Windhoek. 6. Haarmann C, Haarmann D, Jauch H, Shindondola-Mote H, Natrass N, van Niekerk I & Samson M (2009) Making the Difference! The BIG in Namibia. Basic Income Grant Pilot Project Assessment Report. BIG Coalition: Windhoek. Publications/BIG_Assessment_report_08b.pdf (accessed 3 March 2017). 7. Haarmann C, Haarmann D, Jauch H, Shindondola-Mote H, Natrass N, van Niekerk I & Samson M (2008) Towards a Basic Income Grant For All! Basic Income Grant Pilot Project Assessment Report. BIG Coalition: Windhoek. (accessed 3 March 2017). 8. Isaacs D (2006) IMF responds to BIG criticism, suggests Latin American way. The Namibian, 22 November. http://www. (accessed 2 March 2017). 9. Jauch H (2016) A Basic Income Grant for All: Time to make it happen in Namibia! International Basic Income Week. 14 September. (accessed 2 March 2017). 10. Jauch H (2015) The rise and fall of the Basic Income Grant (BIG) Campaign: Lessons from Namibia. Global Labour Journal, 6(3): 336-350. (accessed 2 March 2017). 11. Jauch H, Edwards L & Cupido B (2009) A Rich Country with Poor People: Inequality in Namibia. Labour Resource and Research Institute: Windhoek. 12. Nakale A (2017) Foodbank benefits over 94 000 needy people. New Age, 1 March. (accessed 6 March 2017). 13. NPC (2015) Poverty and deprivation in Namibia. NPC, Windhoek. (accessed 5 March 2017). 14. NSA (2013) The Namibia Labour Force Survey 2012 Report. NSA, Windhoek. (accessed 2 March 2017). 15. Teweldemedhin MY (2016) Factors influencing income inequality in Namibia. British Journal of Economics, Management & Trade, 10(4): 1-14. 16. UN-DESA (2016) Sustainable Development Goals. https:// (accessed 2 March 2017). 17. UNDP (2015) Human Development Report 2015. Work for Human Development. UNDP: New York. 18. UNICEF (2007) State of the World’s Children. UNICEF: New York.

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

BLACK FEMINIST REVOLT and digital activism working to end rape culture in South Africa Simamkele Dlakavu Simamkele Dlakavu is a Fallist and a Masters student in African Literature at Wits. She has been an active participant in student movements, calling for an intersectional decolonial reality in South Africa. Simamkele is a former Media and Communications Manager for Oxfam South Africa. She has also worked as a human rights television producer on one of South Africa’s most popular current affairs show: The Big Debate. In 2013, she was one of the producers for BBC’s Question Time for a special episode on Nelson Mandela. Simamkele has co-created and participated in organisations that work with black rural and township youth like Sakha Ulutsha Lwethu. She shares her views on current affairs and politics through platforms such as City Press, The Daily Maverick and independent newspapers. The Mail & Guardian recognised Simamkele as one of South Africa’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2014. In 2015, she was a part of 22 young women selected to attend the “Writing for Social Change Workshop” held by the African Women’s Development Fund in Uganda. We need to rethink how we move away from the current situation in which there is too little [action] on holding [rape] perpetrators accountable – Prof. Pumla Dineo Gqola (2015, p. 178).

Introduction During the establishment of the “Fallist” movements in early 2015, when black women and queer and gender non-conformists held placards stating that “This revolution would be intersectional or it will be bullshit”, they meant it. In 2015 and 2016, South Africa and the world witnessed the commitment of these movements to a decolonial project where all forms of oppression matter. I am interested in analysing their moments of defiance, revolt, love and solidarity in which social media was a tool to spread awareness, organise and build solidarity in response to rape at university campuses. I engage in this discussion without alienating myself from the community of black feminist student activists who are the focus of the paper. I will follow the traditions of black feminist scholars like Pumla Gqola, Patricia Hill Collins and others, who have demonstrated the value and courage of not alienating the self from our politics, positionalities, family, communities and our experiences “in order to produce credible intellectual work” (Hill Collins, 2000, p. viii). I choose to do so because I share the hurt and experiences of many young women in South Africa and across the world: my lived experience of being a rape survivor. In addition, I was part of the group of black feminists at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) who engaged in solidarity protests entitled #IAmOneInThree in support of the #RUReferenceList, also prevalent on social media. The #IAmOneInThree protest was also a space for us to share our own experiences of patriarchal violence, in the form of rape, and how the system has failed us. Furthermore, I choose to utilise black feminist theory because it allows us to display “the dialogical and dialectical relationship between experience, practice and scholarship” (Hill Collins, 2000, p. 30). I argue that the activism of black feminists in universities in South Africa was able to display:

the intersection of ‘activism’ with ‘Black feminist theory’: that is, ‘activism’ or ‘action’ that translates into concrete, tangible outputs that produce outcomes that make a measurable difference to Black women’s lives. Thus, ‘Black feminist theory’ is brought to life and articulated as the thinking upon which the action is contingent (Nayak, 2013, p. iv-v). I will begin this process of articulation by looking at the black feminists’ acts of mobilisation in three different universities, namely, the University of Cape Town (UCT), the university currently known as Rhodes University (RU) and Wits. I will look at how they engaged with one another through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and how their ideas, acts of mobilisation and rebellion allowed for the re-energisation of debates and struggles fought by black feminists in South Africa for decades which are targeted at ending rape. I will focus on how their use of social media to communicate their message, through text, images and videos, drove the issue of rape on university campuses into national political discourse, attracting the attention of mainstream media (local and international), politicians and political organisations, the government, civil society and the wider public. I will begin by outlining the context of #RapeAtAzania and #RUReferenceList. I will then look at how black feminists are organising and advocating for gender justice through the digital sphere. I will also share the importance of black feminist agency and revolt. Finally, how black feminists build solidarity and engage the personal, political and public using social media is outlined.

#RapeAtAzania and #RUReferenceList: A brief context During the #FeesMustFall protests in universities across South Africa in 2015, a young black woman was raped by a person she regarded as her comrade. Her rape happened at Azania House, an administrative building that activists from the #RhodesMustFall movement had occupied

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


BLACK FEMINIST REVOLT and digital activism working to end rape culture in South Africa

at UCT. Azania House was a space where these student activists would sleep, study, and hold lectures on their project for decolonisation. It was a place they could also hold strategic meetings about the growth of their movement. Black student activists thought Azania House was their safe space. But, for a young black woman, it was not the case, she was raped in this House. This violation triggered mass mobilisation by black feminist (an identity they claim and own) at UCT who demanded the rapist be held to account. These black feminists took South Africans and the world with them on their journey of demanding accountability from the rape perpetrator. This happened through social media, mainly Twitter and Facebook. The hashtag #RapeAtAzania was created by these black feminists and used to share videos of their actions and urge the public to find the rapist. They populated social media with his name, picture and even his address so the public could assist in arresting him. This distribution of the alleged rapist’s picture, his personal information and the act of mobilisation serve the purpose to which Prof. Pumla Gqola calls South Africans. She argues: “We need to rethink how we move away from the current situation in which there is too little [action] on holding [rape] perpetrators accountable” (Gqola, 2015, p. 178). She further argues that the silence that must be broken is not over the fact that we live in a society where rape occurs. We must break the silence on who rapes, on the situation in which rapists are not named or shamed, and where there is no social cost for their violent actions. Gqola (2015, p. 11) states that “we need new tools, not in place of, but in addition to the anti-violent strategies we have been using. Holding rapists accountable is a start” (emphasis not in original). The actions of these young black feminists are precisely about doing that work – holding rapists accountable – and social media is used as a mobilising tool to this end. This act of breaking the silence echoes Audre Lorde’s (1984, p. 40) sentiments calling for the “transformation of silence into language and action.” The actions of these young black feminists are precisely about doing that work – holding rapists accountable – and social media is used as a mobilising tool to this end. This act of breaking the silence echoes Audre Lorde’s sentiments calling for the “transformation of silence into language and action.” The second moment of feminist revolt against sexual violence on university campuses in South Africa was in April 2016, with the hashtag #RUReferenceList started by feminists at the university currently known as Rhodes University. These young feminists collected a list of names of young men who had rape complaints against them by young women at the university. In some cases, allegations were made against


one man for raping more than one woman. The feminists circulated the names and images of these men who had rape complaints against them on social media using the hashtag #RUReferenceList. They went beyond these actions and fetched these men from their residences, placed them in a circle and paraded them around, ensuring that the shame was not borne by the rape survivors alone. The feminists demanded university management handle rape cases on campus in ways that do not further victimise the rape victims.

#BlackFeministTwitter: Social media and feminist digital activism The two cases shared above show that the Internet has impacted on the way South African women share information and express themselves. Those who have access to mobile smart phones and the Internet connect, share information, organise social justice campaigns, or even express shared joy over a new Beyoncé album. Minna Salami (2014) writes about how African feminists are using the Internet to change their own lives and other African women’s lives. She further states that the Internet has enabled feminists to challenge the status quo (ibid). What makes the Internet and mobile phones so powerful is that they are able to combine “all former media: to receive information, to document incidences with text, audio and video, to broadcast and publish content and to network with other mobile phone users” (Kreutz, 2010, p. 18). The Internet and social media have made communication less expensive. As Salami (2014) argues: Where traditional media – print, radio, TV etc. – requires not only large sums of money, but also expertise on digital equipment, sound regulation, paper stock and so on, a single website on the internet can TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030




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instantly pull together the written word, audio sounds and visual as well as moving imagery. The same traditional media tends to be emboldened by white supremacists, and patriarchal and capitalist structures that have been gatekeepers, preventing many black men, women and queer bodies from gaining platforms and a voice (Schutte, 2015). With the Internet and social media, “It is possible to bypass traditional gatekeepers, restraints of formal training and inaccessible funding resources because free templates and social sharing platforms are within reach to anyone who can read, write and has access to the Internet” (Salami, 2014). Large international and local NGOs that work towards ending rape and rape culture dedicate substantial resources to traditional and social media to communicate their messages. Unlike those established NGOs, young feminists at universities in South Africa and elsewhere do not have such resources. The young feminists in the case studies above do not have such financial muscle and connections to the traditional media world through which to find their voices. All they have are their mobile phones and access to computers and social media platforms and applications such as Facebook and Twitter. They created the news in real time, news outlets followed their agenda, and their voices were heard far and wide. The live tweets, including texts, images and videos, broadcast by black feminists at the university currently known as Rhodes University, as well as at UCT, were so numerous that traditional media could not help but pay attention. Their spread continued to other universities where students were expressing their solidarity, including at Stellenbosch University.

Women finding their voice in closed and violent tertiary education spaces The agents of change are not the social media applications or the Internet – they were the black feminists on the ground organising and

mobilising themselves. Social media is only a tool that highlights and amplifies their actions for wider reach. If students at the university currently known as Rhodes University and UCT did not communicate their protest actions through Twitter, the rest of the country and the world would not have taken notice of their actions in real time. We would have solely relied on traditional media to report on the events, likely only the following day because many protests happened in the evening. And, perhaps, with the university located in a small town, such as Grahamstown, where traditional media reach is limited, the country would not have witnessed the powerful moments of protest as they happened. Moving videos of activists singing “Senzeni na?” (meaning, “What have we done [to deserve this treatment]?”) were shared on social media during the protests – a song that was sung by black South Africans who were fighting colonialism and apartheid. The students protesting adapted this song and gendered it, singing, “Senzeni na? Isono sethu bubufazi,” (“What have we done? Our sin is being women”). They simply changed their “sin” from being “black”, as in the original song, to “Our sin is being women”. The images, texts and videos captured the nation and the world’s attention. Their actions speak to the point made by Christian Kreutz (2010, p. 18) in his essay on “Mobile activism in Africa: Future trends and software development”: If one takes a look at the examples and different approaches to mobile activism, many potential developments can be identified. All these trends will rely not so much on the technology, but much more on the activist’s ideas for how to use mobile phones as a means of activism and on a critical mass of people participating. The practicality of this statement is illustrated in how the protest by feminists at universities looped into the broader activism of feminist and women’s movements and organisations in other spaces in the country. For instance, their actions were picked up and supported by organisations such as Rape Crisis, which has a long history of

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BLACK FEMINIST REVOLT and digital activism working to end rape culture in South Africa

helping rape survivors in this country. They showed solidarity using the same social media platform (Twitter), also employing the platform to challenge the universities’ management to protect rape survivors. Their tweet stated, “Universities must act in collaboration with students. Civil society can be brought on board also”, and included the quotation: Sexual harassment in an institution can undermine its brand, repel investors, adversely affect recruitment and deter new service users as well as causing financial loss through litigation. Let alone the loss of productivity for victims through their pain and suffering. Do something about it now (Rape Crisis, 2016). Writing on this form of activism, Salami (2014) further states that, by means of feminists organising online, and through the use of “online petitions, social media campaigns, blogs, podcasts, e-zines etc.”, feminist movements have “transformed the ways in which politicians, thought leaders, commentators, entrepreneurs, grassroots activists and the general public in many parts of the world discuss the most critical issues of the day.” is an example of how this is possible. a socio-political advocacy online space which contributed to the #RUReferenceList and which is run by black women in South Africa. They created a petition to hold rape perpe- a socio-political advocacy online space which contributed to the #RUReferenceList and which is run by black women in South Africa. They created a petition to hold rape perpetrators accountable while challenging management and the state machinery to take stronger action to end the pervasive rape culture. trators accountable while challenging management and the state machinery to take stronger action to end the pervasive rape culture. Their online petition was entitled: “Tackle Rape at Universities” (Amandla. mobi, 2016). The petition was targeted at various duty bearers including the Chair of the Commission for Gender Equality, the Advocate at the Human Rights Commission, the Minister of Higher Education, and University Vice Chancellors at various institutions including RU. The petition and advocacy group generated public sentiment on Twitter. The petition launched by validates the argument made by Kreutz (2010, p. 25): The messages via mobile phone are published on Twitter, where followers of the activists can read them and spread the news within their own networks. In some cases, within a short time, counteractions can be launched and new campaigns set up within hours of the detention of activists.


However, Kreutz (2010, p. 17) further emphasises that, “as with every other instrument in the toolbox of an activist, there is also a list of its limitations at different levels.” One of the limitations of social media can be access and the high Internet data costs in the country. I am sure that many rural women in South Africa have engaged in campaigns and actions to challenge rape culture in the country; however, they might not have been publicised online because the participants do not have the same class privilege and access to services as these young feminists from institutions of higher learning. Young black feminists in universities have access, tools and resources to “use social media in order to respond to rape culture and to hold accountable the purveyors of its practices and ways of thinking when mainstream news media, police and school authorities do not” (Rentschler, 2014, p. 65).

Black feminist agency and revolt: The agenda is still the same In her essay, “Gender and ‘the Public Sphere’ in Africa: Writing Women and Rioting Women”, Susan Andrade (2002, p. 57) states: “I have come to wonder whether this mode has become outdated, whether the exercise of feminine power, the female riot or strike, has a place anymore in contemporary Africa.” This question is important in relation to the black feminist activism in university campuses in South Africa. Many asked these young feminists, “Why are you rioting?”, “Why are you protesting?”, “Why are you occupying buildings and roads?”, and “Why are you carrying sjamboks?”, suggesting that these women were acting outside the norms of female subjectivity imposed by patriarchal society and systems. Sjamboks were a key element of the #RUReferenceList solidarity protest at Wits University. I was carrying one myself, bare-breasted, with the word “REVOLT” written across my chest in black. The sjamboks were about fighting back, taking back our agency and power in a moment of vulnerability. It was a reminder of our experiences of rape and how we felt helpless at the time. It was a message to say that we are willing to fight all patriarchal and violent forms of domination physically, and united together. Images of our demonstrations were circulated around social and mainstream media. To answer Andrade’s (2002) question, I believe in the importance of black feminist revolt in a country where black women are the main victims of poverty, exploitation and violence. A revolt is necessary because we simply cannot continue living life in fear of rape and abuse. A revolt is necessary to show that violence against black women and their bodies will no longer be tolerated. The revolt of young black women in institutions of higher learning carries momentous political and cultural implications because of the broader context in which we are located, moments when society attempted to depoliticise our actions by making comments on social media such as: “Why were they naked?”, and concluding that our actions were to seek attention, irrational and vindictive (specifically the act of naming and shaming rapists). McFadden (2003, p. 3) affirms that, too often, “conversations continue to revolve TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

Jerrilyn Mulbah, “Stop Rape” United Nations Mission in Liberia 2008. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER HERWIG, UN PHOTO

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largely around what is culturally sanctioned and permissible, and most debates and policy recommendations are situated within safe zones. Questions surrounding women’s reproduction and sexuality have often been depoliticised.” Women’s politicisation of their issues is thus tolerated to a certain extent and within certain boundaries. However, the acts of revolt, populated on social media, encouraged a discourse which enabled the women to break free from “bounded, limited notions” (McFadden, 2003, p. 4). Furthermore, the young women who engaged in the naked protests were shamed for their bodies. Comments, such as “They must cover their saggy breasts”, were made, as part of the traditions of patriarchal societies in which “women and girls are taught, consistently and often violently, that their bodies are dirty, nasty, smelly, disgusting, corrupting, imperfect, ugly and volatile harbingers of disease and immorality” (McFadden, 2003, p. 5). This black feminist defiance was significant because it sought to defy cultural norms that tell black women that they should be silent about their pain and violation, a point that Butler (2000, p. 4) emphasises as important – a woman must speak “and speak in public, precisely when she ought to be sequestered in the private domain.” This sentiment she shares with McFadden (2003, p. 6), who speaks of the

importance for women to bind themselves “with the political courage to shake off the shackles of patriarchal servitude, and the emotional will to discover new horizons of feeling and being.”

Black feminist solidarity: The personal, political and the public Many black feminists have emphasised that feminist solidarity is a form of political expression. Black women’s pain is often unseen, unacknowledged, dismissed or even romanticised. I must caution that I do not romanticise the actions of young black feminists through my discussion of the #RapeAtAzania, #RUReferenceList or the #IAmOneInThree campaign, and they were not of this nature. They were painful and triggering for many rape survivors, including those who were present at the protests. During the week of the protests at the university currently known as Rhodes University, I wrote an opinion piece for the City Press on why I supported the #RUReferenceList. In that piece, I explained the feelings of anxiety and sadness that many young women experienced and communicated through social media. I reiterated the solidarity and love that was shared by rape survivors on my Twitter timeline. I wrote:

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences



BLACK FEMINIST REVOLT and digital activism working to end rape culture in South Africa

When the #RUReferenceList protest broke out on Sunday night, those of us who were far away stayed up to follow this historic moment. Many young women and rape survivors on my Twitter timeline were deeply triggered. We sent each other direct messages on Twitter, “Are you okay?”, knowing very well we were not. “I can’t stop crying,” came a reply. But beyond the tears, we felt affirmed, proud because the women at the university currently known as Rhodes were standing up for all of us. When they went to fetch those men who are on the list who committed rape, they were ensuring that there is a “social cost” to rape. I was thankful to know that other rapists and potential rapists were watching this from around the country and bearing witness to a challenge to a social system that still wants to let sexual assault be swept under the carpet (Dlakavu, 2016a). Feminist solidarity, filled with love and care, was present during these and other moments on social media. Feminist solidarity is not new to African women. Kathleen Staudt (quoted in Andrade, 2002, p. 50) reminds us that “Africa is the world region with the most extensive female solidarity organisations, an indication of the importance among women of ties outside household boundaries.” These young black feminists were also able to draw “strength and vision from long traditions of feminist resistance against patriarchal sexual hegemony and hetero-normative intolerance” (McFadden, 2003, p. 2). We have seen feminists’ solidarity on social media on the African continent during the Arab Spring uprising in which young women, particularly in Tunisia and Egypt, used social media to “mobilize, produce knowledge, and develop and share resources online” (Newsom & Lengel, 2012, p. 31). We saw this feminist solidarity in Kenya where women were placing feminism in the national discourse with the hashtag


#WhenWomenSpeak; and we saw it in Nigeria where women were challenging child marriage through the hashtag #ChildNotBride (Salami, 2014). During the protests against rape at campuses, young women shared their own personal stories on social media. At the beginning of their tweets, they would warn the reader, who may be a potential rape survivor, that their past trauma might be triggered. For me, this is a sign of empathy and care for one another. A Canadian academic also points out the same demonstration of care through online spaces where rape survivors interact in the US and Canada. She says that on an online platform, “most posts come with trigger warnings, a way of alerting survivors of abuse and sexual assault that the testimonial they are about to read may trigger traumatic memories of their own experiences of violence” (Rentschler, 2014, p. 76). These acts are political. As Lewis, Tigist and van Vuuren (2013, p. 47) state, black young women’s “embracing of the most innovative mobile phones or applications can be seen as their quest for communicative channels that transcend those that simply reinforce their silence, objectification or absence.” Their arguments are shared by a Masters student at Wits who was involved in the #IAmOneInThree campaign. She shared with me that: Social media is my thing, it’s easier to communicate my ideas on social media. And It’s easier for me to not have to explain this body. There is something about the body in person that rejects and disallows that conversation, it’s so hard to do it in person… The personal is political… When I talk about shit, it helps that release; it helps because in my everyday life I find it so hard to do… In my flesh life, my vulnerabilities are always thrown back in my face… So, on social media I can choose not to receive that. The only way I can choose to do that in flesh life is if I keep quite… [when I share my feelings and thoughts on social media]… someone follows that strand and is like ‘me too fam’. It gives you a sense of family, there’s a benefit there I haven’t quite mastered (Lerato Motaung, Wits MA student) There is value in black women sharing their ideas, political activism and experiences on social media for similar reasons argued by Andrade (2002, p. 45) on the importance of African women’s writing because it is a part of a larger project of the “relationship between literary and non-literary modes of political expression.” This is political expression by black women that is in the public sphere; political expression that articulates their own agency. Butler (2000, p. 2) speaks to the need for moving past reductive discourses around feminist aims and actions and the importance of listening to what feminists and feminist movements have to say. The black feminist revolts by university students challenged rape culture, and South Africa was forced to listen to what these young women had to say, their voices were so loud that the country, including the political authorities, could not avoid them. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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Conclusion Looking at the power that social media has had in black feminist politics in this country, as exemplified by the experiences from the three movements I have shared above, I wonder what impact a similar strategy would have had during the Jacob Zuma rape trial in 2006. I was then a young woman (only 14 years old at the time of the trial), sympathising with Fezeka Kuzwayo, known as “Khwezi”, who laid a rape complaint against the current president of South Africa. I did not know what to do to show my solidarity, like many young women at the time, especially in rural areas. During the 10-year anniversary of the trial, violent patriarchal power still intact, I wonder what would have been different if social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook had already been well established then. I imagine I would have followed the OneInNine Campaign that was established by black feminists in support of Fezeka and other rape survivors on social media. I would have connected with other feminists. I would have maybe joined a demonstration or organised one in my small town in the Eastern Cape. I have all of these thoughts and questions because I have participated in and witnessed the benefits of social media in advancing black feminist politics. I have witnessed social media’s power, through “user participation in decentralised networks for coordination and mobilisation” (Kreutz, 2010, p. 24). Furthermore, I have witnessed how it allows us “to mobilize activists across a country” (ibid). Although these tools were not available to us then to use in order to show solidarity with Fezeka, we are using them now with great success. During South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announcement of the local government results in August 2016, 10 years after the Zuma rape trial, I am grateful that Amanda Mavuso, Naledi Chirwa, Lebogang Shikwambane and I were able to stage a silent protest while Jacob Zuma delivered his address to show the country that we remember Fezeka, and we are in solidarity with her while she was alive. As I argued in the City Press (Dlakavu, 2016b), we were able to stage that protest because we stood on “the shoulders of a long lineage of black women doing the work of dismantling patriarchy and rape culture”, including the women who contributed to the acts of revolt highlighted in this paper. Although Fezeka has passed, her feminist spirit lives on in the many young black women who are engaging in activist work to end rape culture in South Africa. In this paper, I have shown that the Internet and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have racialised and gendered impacts. The actions of young black feminists, through the use of their mobile phones to share their political actions and thoughts on holding rape perpetrators to account and to end rape culture, were carried in all of South Africa’s leading traditional newspapers, and on television and radio stations. These young black feminists stepped out of cages, dictated their own political discourse and actions, and the whole country bore witness to it. As individuals, organisations and nations explore ways to ensure a better world come 2030, this

strategy should be noted as one that others across the continent and the globe can use to ensure universities and other spaces are safe for women.


2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7.



10. 11. 12.


14. 15.

16. (2016) Tackle Rape at Universities. Awethu Amandla. (accessed 21 May 2016). Andrade S (2002) Gender and ‘the public sphere’ in Africa: Writing women and rioting women. Agenda, 17(54): 45-59. Butler J (2000) Antigone’s Claim: Kingship Between Life and Death. Columbia University Press: New York. Dlakavu S (2016a) Why I support the Rhodes rape list. City Press, 24 April. (accessed 17 November 2016). Dlakavu S (2016b) Khwezi protest: We came as 4, but stood as 10 000. City Press, 14 August. (accessed 14 August 2016). Gqola PD (2015) Rape: A South African Nightmare. MFBooks: Johannesburg. Hill Collins P (2000) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Routledge: New York. Kreutz C (2010) “Mobile activism in Africa: Future trends and software developments.” In Sokari E (Ed.), SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa (pp 17-25). Pambazuka Press: Oxford. Lewis D, Tigist SH & van Vuuren M (2013) Exploring new media technologies among young South African women. Feminist Africa, 18: 43-64. Lorde A (1984) Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press: Freedom, California. McFadden P (2003) Sexual pleasure as feminist choice. Feminist Africa, 2: 50-60. Newsom VA & Lengel L (2012) Arab women, social media, and the Arab Spring: Applying the framework of digital reflexivity to analyze gender and online activism. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 13(5): 31-45. Nayak SA (2013) Re-reading Audre Lorde: Declaring the activism of black feminist theory. PhD thesis. Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. (accessed 24 March 2017). Rentschler CA (2014) Rape culture and the feminist politics of social media. Girlhood Studies, 7(1): 65-82. Salami M (2014) The coming of (digital) age: How African feminists are using the Internet to change women’s lives. GenderIT, 5 May. (accessed 17 November 2016). Schutte G (2015) Decolonisation and the end of white male hegemony. Thought Leader, 13 November. (accessed 31 January 2017).

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THE POLITICS OF CHOICE AND AGENCY: A case study of the black hair movement Mazuba Haanyama Mazuba Haanyama was born in Zambia and has lived in numerous countries during her childhood and youth. Mazuba considers herself a daughter of Southern Africa and now calls South Africa her home. Her work draws on the teachings and experiences of black and African feminists across the globe. She believes in evolution and the liberation of black people across the world. She views liberation as a process and believes that “none of us are free, ‘til all of us are free”. Mazuba currently works at Livity Africa, a youth content creation organisation based in Johannesburg.

Introduction My starting point is Jared Ball’s (2011) thoughts in I Mix What I Like: A Mixed Tape Manifesto. He reminds us that representation is a political notion and not without its complexity. He states: we might say that popular representations of Black people (African people), First Nations people, Latinos, and certainly women of all backgrounds are all in incomplete, mythological creations designed to stand in for the more complex realities experienced by these people (Ball, 2011, p. 75). So, as we enter into a discussion involving the politics of hair, we are reminded that hair and body politics, though instrumental in shaping some identities, are not entirely representative of a people, and, as we navigate through this discussion, we are encouraged to remember the ways in which representations often limit and confine our multiplicity. Negotiating life through a body that is black and woman, among many other societal configurations, places issues of choice, agency, resistance and subversion at the centre. Trying to do so within the confines of often historically constituted spaces, such as the classroom, our homes, public spaces and religious institutions, can be challenging, to say the least. Surviving a white supremacist, capitalist, racist and sexist world means that being black and a woman is a daily struggle on many fronts. I understand these struggles are laced with and co-exist alongside the myriad of ways we find happiness, joy, fulfilment and laughter. Our experiences are not fragmented, though we are often forced to make our lives such. I am interested in how other black women negotiate and fight for their freedoms within this labyrinth in which we live. I am also interested in how my own body, and bodies similar and different to mine, adorn, decorate, mask and express their identities through dress, colour, shape and hair. In fact, hair is one of the most critical sites for resistance and domination – as we have often seen through historical narratives determining race and class positions, for instance, the “notorious pencil test” in South Africa (Posel, 2001, p. 59). Through this piece, I am trying to gain a better understanding of the struggles waged over black women’s bodies in various spaces and sites of institutional oppression, specifically schools and the class-


room. The key questions are: how have and how are black women and girls crafting space and dialogue just to exist, for our very existence threatens the security of a white-dominated world? What kinds of resistance are happening publicly and otherwise? How are we sharing narratives of resistance and subversion with one another? How can we better understand the way in which some of those narratives are co-opted? Collective action and resistance are necessary tools in a struggle against systems designed to divide and isolate us, even within our own bodies. I am also thinking through how “education”, as a process of living and evolving, occurs consistently and constantly, and it multiplies in various spaces. Therefore, it cannot be confined to one space between certain hours. In the words of Lauryn Hill (1998), from her masterful album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (which was a necessary refuge during my own teenage years and in trying to understand that education is more than what happens at my school during Math class): “The only way to know is to live, learn and grow.”

The politics of knowledge and black resistance A discussion about education may require us to think carefully about the ways we come to know. The politics of knowledge elicits certain notions about who can be a knower and how. The spaces designated for learning are often so steeped in colonial constructions of identity, and they are often not ideal for the kinds of liberation needed in our education system. How are we making different pedagogical decisions that place the oppressed at the centre? In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire (2005, p. 72) explains that “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient continuing hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” How do we nurture such an inquiry, while cognisant of how classrooms represent deeply static constructions of power? Classrooms exist in such a space and, therefore, we may ask: what will resistance to this power show us? In thinking about how we get to be in classrooms, the worlds and barriers we have to cross to enter into such spaces, one also wonders at whom we leave behind for a few hours. Who depends on us to retrieve, from these classrooms, something that TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

will sustain livelihoods we may be responsible for? Many of us leave behind households with responsibilities and mouths to feed to ensure we are in classrooms learning, to ensure we can pay bills and be as productive as possible in this world. Such sacrifices are very real, and our classroom learning should take these into account. Oldfield, Salo and Schlyter (2009, p. 1) state: The lived negotiation of citizenship and the ways it is made meaningful in everyday peripheral parts of Southern African cities are neither static nor decreed through law. Instead, citizenship and its meanings are negotiated in mutually constitutive processes that interlink individuals, communities and representatives of the state. Through such processes, agency is progressively nurtured in relationships within homes and through the quotidian activities that constitute everyday life. At times it is fought for in the public sphere, in open opposition to the state. The meanings of citizenship and the manner in which it is contested or embodied through oppositional action, are thus not the predictable outcomes of structural configurations of power, or a romantic reflection of agency-through-revolt. A variety of public resistance movements to state-sanctioned acts aimed at controlling and silencing black people – which we understand is not new or confined to any borders – were born in 2016. In particular, 2016 saw young black women fighting to make autonomous choices about their bodies, how they express themselves through their bodies, and, particularly, how they choose to adorn their hair (Pather, 2016). These expressions have been met by a great deal of backlash and conservatism. That black women may want to self-determine appears to be a novel idea, an idea we may have to die for, and that many others have already died for. This has to tell us something about power, race, gender and class. We have seen this recently in South Africa, Pretoria specifically – a historically and presently white-dominated area – wherein black girls at an all-girls school were being forced to straighten their hair chemically (Pather, 2016). To maintain levels of “respectability”, black girls have to assimilate as closely as they can to whiteness by straightening their hair. Protests ensued at this school in response to something which harkens back to the long history of colonial domination, currently presenting itself through rules and regulations about how black girls should style their hair. However, this domination seeps further into the racist curriculum, admission policies, and many other contrivances to keep black girls out of school and, more specifically, private schools. The school went as far as to banish girls from speaking African languages (Pather, 2016). Once news and imagery of the protest spread, several other black women alumni from the school reported having experienced similar treatment. This reminds us of the racist machinery at play in a country which has not done the necessary work to address the very real and systemic intersecting issues of racism, sexism


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and classism. The school’s response to these protests was less than favourable, and very little was done to address the root causes of the problem. This illustrates what happens when we dare to self-determine, when we dare to push against systems that do not recognise us and are designed to subjugate our voices. Some have argued that it is merely a school policy, but it is clearly much more serious than that: “it is the protection of white standards at the expense of black identity”, as Pather (2016) explains. The protests may have brought issues around the politics of hair to the fore but, more importantly, they used these politics to demonstrate the larger context of oppression and racism running through the veins of our education system and, thus, the experience of millions of black girls across this country. I recall my own experiences of growing up in South Africa and living through the traumatic gaze of whiteness, rendering me both invisible and a spectacle within the confines of these white elite schools. Often being one of the few black students at predominantly white schools causes a particular kind of relationship to both whiteness and blackness, tacitly making you “the better black” while having to negotiate daily accusations and the co-option of “coconut” status. Panashe Chigumadzi (2015, p. 1) refers to individuals such as myself as being part of “That particular category of ‘born free’ black youth that were hailed as torchbearers for the ‘Rainbow Nation’.” The class privileges I found myself in possession of gave me a proximity to whiteness that, as a child, would often confuse, blur and mask the very real experience of racism. Walking with, but not quite alongside, my white peers, through an education system designed to render invisible and non-existent the knowledges of black and brown bodies throughout history and privileging Eurocentric ways of knowing, becomes a “normal” experience.

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


THE POLITICS OF CHOICE AND AGENCY: A case study of the black hair movement

I often tried to be a little less of myself, the self that I thought marked me as black(er) than I wanted to be against the white-washed walls of the school grounds. My own experiences were coloured by the multiple and what felt like “confused” identities I held. I am Zambian-born, and I lived in London, New York and Gaborone prior to arriving on South African shores. So, I was foreign and “exotic”. I had a tongue that still carried the marks of having lived in America while having adopted southern African nuances as well. I learnt to sound less foreign but still carried an accent marked by these travels. These experiences meant that I had to learn how to make myself malleable, leaning in and out of assumptions to fit in, to be the same, but not really, just not too different. I remember seemingly mundane, but crude questions from the white students, such as, “How did your hair grow so fast?” when I came to school with braids on Monday. Or, those awkward moments when I was at a sleepover at a friend’s house – she being the only other black girl in sight – and it was time to get into bed. I pulled out fawn stockings,

Hair, as a site of political resistance, becomes a symbol and signifier of a range of connected oppressive systems. We are seeing black women and girls resist publicly and courageously, broadcasting their voices through social media, for example, by using the Twitter handle #ItsBiggerThanAHeadwrap. chopped off at the thigh, to wrap up my hair (I wonder why I didn’t own something bright and beautiful to put on my head at the time). My “friends” giggled and asked why I was wearing stockings on my head. I shrugged and slipped into bed, wishing I was not so different, so markedly black and African. Growing up in a world adamant about making the things so naturally you wrong, crushes your sense of your own value. I wish I had the tongue and courage to defend myself at the time. Panashe describes an analogous experience: It is at once a form a self-defence and of relief from the insanity of the Nervous Conditions of being black in a white world. How I wish I had the words to deconstruct apartheid ideology to my grade 8 liberal white English teacher who had told us, in between reading King Lear, that “apartheid had good intentions behind it. It was just that it was badly executed!” Instead, I could only clutch for words and sit with the frustration of doubting my instinct that he was wrong (Chigumadzi, 2015, p. 6). Last year also saw protests taking place at the School for Creative Studies in Durham, North Carolina, where young black women were forbidden to wear headscarves in honour and celebration of Black History


Month in February in the US (Green, 2016). Should they do so, they would face the threat of suspension. Across the Atlantic, thousands of kilometres away, we see similar and connected issues arising in Africa. Hair, as a site of political resistance, becomes a symbol and signifier of a range of connected oppressive systems. We are seeing black women and girls resist publicly and courageously, broadcasting their voices through social media, for example, by using the Twitter handle #ItsBiggerThanAHeadwrap. There is something interesting we need to recognise in the resistance taking place, as well as the kind of oppression occurring, and in what and how our choices of adornment for our bodies could elicit such strong reactions. This is how we can begin to notice a trend in the choking effects of white supremacy matched with the institutional power to dictate to a black girl how she may and may not wear her hair. Recalling that this struggle is not new, though it may take shape among newer, younger actors now, it is a history we, that is, black women, grew up in. And, as such, we remember, our blood remembers, our wombs remember, and our scalps remember. This is something I have been musing over for a few years: hair as a site of political resistance, and black women’s bodies in resistance and struggle merely for our existence. I am paying attention to the choices I can make now, choices which I haven’t always been able, brave enough or safe enough to make. These are choices I make about my own hair and the adornment of my body. I recently attended a black feminist forum, hosted alongside the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Forum, in Bahia, Brazil. The forum has particular connections to black transatlantic slave passage. I was in awe. I felt gratitude and appreciation for the magnitude and depth of visible and invisible black beauty. Not only in our bodies, but particularly our bodies (living in a society that objectifies these bodies can make it challenging to celebrate them at times), our beauty is so magnificent, eclectic and diverse (with as much power as that word can muster). We are everything, we are magic, we are spirit. In a world orchestrated to ignore or destroy that which it does not understand, this magic is often placed in a precarious position, and we are pitted against it by oppressive systems. We understand the complexities of such issues and it might be necessary to have a “natural hair movement”, and for black women to ask themselves and each other, “So when did you go natural?”, as though one had departed from this course which, unfortunately, has been the case. It also requires an understanding of the economic implications involved in trying to source natural hair products and, thus, the class nuances involved in this “movement”. However, that being said, I am not here to police how black women choose to come into themselves. I seek to encourage dialogue on, and greater awareness of, what is happening in the politics of black women’s hair and bodies, as well as analysing how we choose to present ourselves and why we make these choices. I am left exploring a series of questions and ideas about how we politicise choice and deepen our understanding of agency. How do we break free? How do we support these efforts in real and meaningful TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

ways, in sustainable ways? Do we understand how all these issues are connected? Black girls being able to let their hair grow is linked to what we learn in our textbooks or, rather, what has been omitted from our textbooks, and it is also linked to our access to water and electricity. If we do not stop and refuse the fragmenting of our lives, they will continue to silo our struggles, divide us, have us competing in a “struggle Olympics”, and never contribute meaningfully towards the development of our world. I am not sure we can talk about education at this time without drawing attention to the “Fees Must Fall” protests taking place in South Africa. Students are putting themselves on the frontlines, fighting relentlessly for their right to tertiary education. They are demanding that we deconstruct the ways this system has been designed to keep the majority of black people away from the ivory tower. They are using their bodies as the frontline defence but, as we have seen thus far, the State and its institutions are firing rubber bullets and unleashing tear gas on them. It seems that we are not safe in the shadow of the State. Thus, as Freire (2005, p. 81) explained: Education as the practice of freedom – as opposed to education as the practice of domination – denies that [the individual] is abstract, isolated, independent, and unattached to the world; it also denies that the world exists as a reality apart from people.

Conclusion Exercising choice and agency are deeply political processes that can often directly expose one to violence, oppression, and resistance. The education system, a site that often reproduces oppression and violence, will continue to be resisted and subverted by young people in the name of liberation. Whether these eruptions occur around issues of hair or fees, we are reminded that “all oppression is connected” (Chin, 2014) and, as such, all liberation need be connected. We cannot address any of these issues in isolation. This is conveyed in the words of June Jordan (2002, p. 133): If you can finally go to the bathroom wherever you find one, if you can finally order a cup of coffee and drink it wherever coffee is available, but you cannot follow your heart – you cannot respect the response of your own honest body in the world – then how much of what kind of freedom does any one of us possess? Or, conversely, if your heart and your honest body can be controlled by the state, or controlled by community taboo, are you not then, and in that case, no more than a slave ruled by outside force? Without taking radical steps towards transformation and change, we are at risk of re-inscribing notions of fragmentation (though we are not fully whole in our experiences). Standing in solidarity with the political resistance we have seen in 2016, and the many struggles that have


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occurred to allow for us to resist in this way, we continue to fight, we continue to subvert, for our lives depend upon it.

REFERENCES 1. Ball J (2011) I Mix What I Like: A Mixed Tape Manifesto. AK Press: Oakland, CA. 2. Chigumadzi P (2015) Of coconuts, consciousness and Cecil John Rhodes. Vanguard Magazine, 21 August. (accessed 11 February 2017). 3. Chin S (2014) “All oppression is connected” [song lyrics]. Why am I not surprised? Blog post, 25 July. (accessed 11 February 2017). 4. Freire P (2005) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum International: New York. 5. Green S (2016) Student efforts add cultural awareness to Durham schools dress code. WRAL News, 20 March. (accessed 11 February 2017). 6. Hill L (1998) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill [music album]. Ruffhouse Records, New York. 7. Jordan J (2002) Some of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays of June Jordan. Basic Books: New York. 8. Pather R (2016) Hair, white assimilation, and the girls who are rejecting it. Mail & Guardian, 30 August. (accessed 11 February 2017). 9. Posel D (2001) “What’s in a name?” Racial categorisations under Apartheid and their afterlife. Transformation, 47: 50-74. http://bit. ly/2kypL9Q (accessed 11 February 2017). 10. Oldfield S, Salo E & Schlyter A (2009) Editorial: Body politics and citizenship. Feminist Africa, 13(1): 1-10. (accessed 11 February 2017).

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


MAKING EDUCATION SAFE for women and girls in Africa Portia Tshegofatso Loeto Portia Loeto is a Feminist and Gender Education Lecturer at the University of Botswana (Department of Educational Foundations). Currently, she is a full-time PhD student in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney and her research topic is on the generational body image dynamics of Batswana women. As a budding academic, she constantly challenges herself in academic research and writing in her field. She makes her second contribution to BUWA! with this article. Her first article for BUWA! was adapted from her Masters thesis and entitled “Notions of beauty and attractiveness”. She is the co-founder of Young Women Rise, a feminist organisation in Botswana that provides a safe space for young women’s dialogue, education and awareness-raising on various pertinent gender issues. Twitter handle: @PortiaLoeto

Introduction My article has been inspired by the recent #IShallNotForget movement in Botswana, a movement that rose from a national plea against all forms of sexual abuse of children. This was triggered by revelations that a certain politician in Botswana had sexually abused an underage girl and was considering paying the girl’s poor mother to keep her quiet. Although the context was not necessarily related to the school environment, I will focus particularly on the school environment, and how it can be equally unsafe, especially for the girl child. The discussion also draws on my own personal experience in such an unsafe school environment when I was younger. I explore some of the deliberate strategies that can be adopted in order to deal with school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). Lastly, I share what I believe is my role now, and how I am contributing towards building more aware, profoundly professional teachers who are attentive to the dynamic needs of the students they are entrusted with.

Background Writing this article for BUWA could not have come at a better time, particularly with the recent events that gave rise to the #IShallNotForget movement in Botswana following the alleged leaked conversation between two political figures in leadership positions. In the conversation, they speak of how one of them impregnated a 16-year-old girl. The alleged leaked conversation is centred around how the two were plotting to make the problem disappear: from bribing her parents, to making her “disappear” completely. The nation was livid, and this is partly because the leaked conversations suggest that the Batswana, as a nation, tend to forget such incidents quite quickly. In this case, however, Batswana stood up and demanded that the government take serious action against the two politicians. Citizens rallied behind a call for justice for this 16-year-old girl child by creating a Facebook page (Women and men against all sexual abuse of children) and mobilising for action. The reason why I had to highlight the brief background on this issue is that, from on Facebook page, many women mustered the courage to share their own stories of sexual abuse. A significant number of the


ordeals shared by the women occurred at schools, with teachers or fellow students being the perpetrators, or at home with family members being the perpetrators. These were horrific ordeals which the victims endured in silence for long periods due to fear that, if they were to tell, nobody would believe them and they would be subject to further abuse. We were confronted with the brutal reality of how unsafe life can be for the girl child: both at home and in school. I, however, focus this piece on sexual violence (a form of gender-based violence) in schools, given the transformative role that schools can and must play in protecting children and youths, especially the girl child. The school as an institution can either perpetuate violence against girls or contribute towards combating it, especially given the critical role that education must play in Agenda 2030. It is undeniable that education is at the centre of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNESCO, 2016). It is important to advocate persistently for schools and other sites of education to be made safer for women and girls if they are to acquire the kind of education that will count in achieving the 17 SDGs.

My experience of unsafety in school In 1991, when I was doing Standard One, I remember my class teacher sent me to get a newspaper from one of her colleagues, a male teacher, who, at that time, was the only male teacher in school – if my memory serves me correctly. When I got there, he had a class of students busy with an exercise while he seated at his desk. I greeted him and relayed the message from my class teacher. I was a very shy seven-year-old girl, especially in the presence of a male teacher since, for some reason, there were few of them at that time. After I delivered the message, while standing there waiting, this teacher put his hand into my school uniform pocket and kept fiddling and “playing” with the elastic of my underwear (through my pocket), just as boys often do with girls’ bra straps. He kept asking me irrelevant questions, with his adult face fixated on mine while I tried to look away, not knowing where to look. His hand was in my pocket the entire time I stood there, and TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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it really was the most terrifying and awkward thing. I honestly did not know what to do or how to react. So, I just stood there. I just answered his questions until he decided to release me so that I could take the newspaper and go back to class. When I got home, like many little girls, I never said anything to my mum. I did not know whether it was ok or not ok for him to have done what he did. There were rumours that he had sexual encounters with older students. He was a respected figure, particularly because he was male and the main disciplinarian in the school. Now, as I am older, I keep wondering what could have happened if he was alone in the classroom when I was sent to get that newspaper? Or what if I was sent to his house to get it? It was a common thing when I was in primary school for teachers to send us to their houses to clean and cook, and we were viewed at the teachers’ favourites. We liked it and, at that time, being that young and naive, we never thought of the implications and possible dangers in those kinds of situations. Those situations obviously gave teachers like him an opportunity to prey on young girls, young girls who would never even dream of telling their mothers at home that Mr So-and-So did this to me. It still sends a chill down my spine...

Girls’ vulnerability at home mirrored in the schools Gender as a social construct plays a huge role in how girls and boys receive education, and this includes the way pedagogical methods are structured as well as how informal education, which often seeps through formal education, is offered and received. The school usually mirrors the wider society in terms of gender roles and norms, and this is problematic for girls. This means the unsafe environment, including at home, is carried over when they go to school and further entrenched. This closes spaces for girls which ought to allow them to flourish, and become full citizens that equally contribute and benefit from their inputs in society. Safe education could really mean a lot of things – from an environment that is free from sexual harassment and abuse, an environment that caters for the health needs of young girls, as well as an environment that does not perpetuate gender stereotypes that prevent girls from excelling to the best of their abilities. The key questions then are about how safe our schools are, and if they are not, what hope is there for the girl child to self-actualise? What is society doing to change this deplorable vulnerability and if this is enough, given the aspirations laid out in Agenda 2030, to which Botswana’s government, among others, subscribes and ought to be accountable to? The right to education cannot be emphasised enough for the girl child. Levine, Lloyd, Greene and Crown (2009, in Schwandt & Underwood, 2015) emphasise that, when girls are educated, it brings positive change not only to their lives but also to their families, communities, nations and the world. Educating girls is a complete game changer in as far as the prevailing gender stereotypes, which have always been a hindrance, are concerned. For this crucial right to be realised, the

learning environment should be safe. However, studies carried out across the world and in Southern Africa indicate that there is no end of violence in schools, especially and undeniably towards girls. Bhana (2012) asserts that social structural conditions of unequal gender norms, race, social and economic class and other inequalities often create vulnerabilities to violence, particularly for girls. Because schools tend to mirror the existing gender norms from the larger society, femininities and masculinities tend to be reproduced and replayed, as they exist in the wider society. To confirm this assertion, a UN (2006) study on violence against children outlines that acts such as bullying, sexual coercion and rape do not only occur in the home and places of work but in the school as well, an environment where such are least expected. The reason behind this is that sexual violence is understood as located within specific “social and material contexts, where expressions of male power are embodied” (Bhana, 2012, p. 352). Schools, therefore, are integrally related to the social contexts and cultures that constitute gender power and expressions of sexual violence (Bhana, 2012). In agreement with this, a 2014 UNESCO report also states that the existing social hierarchies operate: in a similar way in schools and provides an important basis for relations between teachers and students and among students, in which gender interacts with age and authority to create a powerful form of control. Those who do not accept the dominant norms promoted through this institutional hierarchy risk discrimination, victimisation and exclusion (Leach, Dunne & Salvi, 2014, p. 4). Furthermore, Bhana (2012) provides evidence on the abundant literature that demonstrates how girls are victims of gender-based violence in schools. Many studies in Africa show how girls are often propositioned by both male teachers and older male students who may offer money or gifts to the girls, in and outside the classroom (Leach & Mitchell, 2006, in Bhana, 2012; Morrell, 1998; Human Rights Watch, 2001; Pattman & Chege, 2003; Dunne, Humphreys & Leach, 2006) as the quote below illustrates: I found myself recalling how this was a terrifying phenomenon in both junior and high school, especially when you were a new student. There was constant brutal harassment, even during quiet study times. There were certified bullies who were so mean, uttering sexual language all the time; constant verbal sexual abuse. It used to make my own school days a living hell. A 2001 study by Human Rights Watch (cited in Bhana, 2012) on sexual violence against girls in South African schools provided evidence on the fear that girls live with while at school because of gender violence they encounter in the form of sexual coercion from teachers and boys. The study outlined how school hallways and classrooms are a site of sexual terror where boys and male teachers would try to

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MAKING EDUCATION SAFE for women and girls in Africa

kiss girls, fondle their breasts, or even try to touch them “under their skirts” (Human Rights Watch, 2001, in Bhana, 2012, p. 352. See also Prinsloo, 2006). Leach et al. (2014) unpack gender-based violence in schools and highlight the importance of understanding how it differs in contexts and how it occurs. They draw a distinction between explicit and implicit, or symbolic, forms of violence. Explicit school gender-based violence may include: unwelcome and unsolicited physical contact such as kissing, touching, pinching or groping, sexual advances, name calling, taunts, and verbal abuse – including teachers’ sexist or derogatory comments in class – which is intended to humiliate or intimidate (as when using words such as ‘slut’, ‘whore’, ‘bitch’, ‘slag’, ‘gay’ or ‘fag’), ostracising and silencing tactics, coerced viewing of sex acts or pornography, beatings, sexual assault, forced sex and rape (Leach et al., 2014, p. 7). Implicit or symbolic school gender-based violence, on the other hand: covers actions that are less visible and more mundane, and which are endorsed and reinforced by the everyday practices and structures that fill the school day with rules, norms and symbols that guide and regulate behaviour and legitimise discrimination against those who resist. These taken-for-granted, routine practices of schooling (sometimes referred to as the ‘hidden curriculum’) are dominated by a normative heterosexuality in which masculinity is associated with aggression and superiority, while femininity requires obedience, acquiescence and making oneself attractive to boys (Leach et al., 2014, pp 7-8). A 2001 study by Human Rights Watch (cited in Bhana, 2012) on sexual violence against girls in South African schools provided evidence on the fear that girls live with while at school because of gender violence they encounter in the form of sexual coercion from teachers and boys.

When I started my university studies, I remember being excited about the prospects of a new “mature” environment, and little did I know that I was in for a very rude awakening. Sexual harassment was the order of the day, and it got pretty hostile if you did not give in to being propositioned on the corridors. Walking away resulted in very demeaning and harsh comments from the boys: “Look at her, she thinks she is so much better than the others.” “Whore”, “slut” and “bitch” were the common names for anyone who had the courage not to give in. I think this gets much more


difficult when the harassment is from a member of staff. I remember, in our final year at the University of Botswana, a male laboratory technician would proposition all the girls in the class because we used his office for printing our projects. He would go as far as touching the girls and women. It really was very intimidating and, as usual, no one reported him.

Not enough being done I can share many more of my experiences of the hostile sexual nature of the school environment. Every girl has a story to tell about some form of gender violence, from primary school all the way to university, and into adult life as well. This has been an ongoing phenomenon throughout history. My worry, however, is the lack of clear regulations from educational authorities and the institutions themselves on how to deal with such issues. I remember that, at the University of Botswana, I only got to know about the Sexual Harassment Policy when I was studying for my Masters. That was about six years after my first year at the university. This, to me, demonstrates a lack of a clear and deliberate focus on such issues within most learning environments. The 2005 UNICEF report puts this into perspective by outlining some of the reasons why school-related gender-based violence remains rampant: • Responses by education authorities to allegations of teacher sexual misconduct have usually been marked by complacency and obfuscation; • The lack of reliable statistical evidence with which to convince policymakers of the need to take action; • The silence surrounding what is seen as a sensitive issue, traditional cultural views that find sex between older men and young girls acceptable, and uncertainty among teachers, parents and children about how to report incidents are contributing factors; • Indeed, not all education officials, parents, teachers and the girls themselves disapprove of teachers having sexual liaisons with their students, especially in rural areas where marriage to a man with a government salary is much valued; • Some female students choose to use their sexuality as a commodity for economic or academic gain, or to gain status among their peers; and • Poor levels of accountability, lack of good management and professional integrity in the educational system allow teachers to act with impunity, to the point where in some situations the phenomenon is, if not endemic, a common and even accepted part of school life. This discourages victims from coming forward (Leach et al., 2014, pp 12-13).

What would a transformative learning environment look like? There is obviously a need for transformation in the education and school environments if SDG 4 is to be achieved. There is a need to TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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establish what is working and what is not working in as far as creating a safe environment for learning is concerned. Our efforts must be deliberate and robust towards the targeted problems. It is not enough to have pieces of paper that accumulate dust while there is no implementation. Implementation should go beyond pieces of paper like a school sexual harassment policy (although this does not nullify its importance). We also need to approach learning from a human rights-based perspective: recognise the holistic fundamental importance of education and what it means for girls when they are educated. Education must be viewed as a holistic project that engages all the involved stakeholders, not just the teachers and students. Healing Classrooms (2009), a teacher development initiative of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), puts emphasis on the need for safe schools campaigns and policies that “engage all stakeholders in the process, ensuring that male and female teachers, students, parents, community members and others are aware of their different responsibilities” in the process of education. There should be deliberate “safe schools campaigns” targeting teachers, classroom assistants and other education staff while promoting women and girls’ participation in “the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of protection strategies” (ibid). “Parents, too, have the right and the responsibility to take action if they are aware of misconduct by teachers, but they can also be more proactive in creating safe schools by being fully involved” (Healing Classrooms, 2009). In addition, proposals by the Girls Education Movement (GEM) South Africa for a school to be student-friendly and centred are that all processes must be: a) Rights-based b) Gender-responsive

c) Effective d) Health seeking and promoting e) Safe and protective f) Inclusive g) Work in partnership with the wider community, both public and private (UNICEF, 2006, p. 3). The report further states:

Giving children a voice and a chance to participate in decisions that will affect them at home, in school and the community at large contributes to building tremendous self-esteem and courage through empowerment. Children are therefore more likely to stand up for themselves and take action against negative impacts on their lives (UNICEF, 2006, p. 3).

My role as an educator The University of Botswana, at the Faculty of Education and the Department of Educational Foundations offers a postgraduate unit in “Contemporary Issues in Education”, among others, to student teachers. Being an educator and educating students who someday will be teachers themselves, various contemporary gender issues are always at the core of our class discussions. In my classes, we cover topics such as teenage pregnancy, student-teacher “relationships”, rape, assisting learners with disabilities, sexual orientation and may others. The reason why we train our student teachers and bring such realities to their attention is not only to make them aware but also to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify problems and, most importantly, deal with them in the most professional way possible in order to protect the students from any danger, prevailing

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isolation and discrimination within the learning environment. We always employ a largely gender-infused framework in all our discussions and, most importantly, demonstrate how various issues affect girls and boys differently because of their social positioning in the society. We often emphasise that teachers must not perpetuate persistent gender stereotypes that may hinder equity in learning, especially for the girl child. I am, however, aware that this can only work when coupled with a high degree of professionalism from the teachers, guaranteed support from the Ministry of Education, as well as a sustained culture of parental involvement in their children’s education. I believe this is a step in the right direction, to ensure an education that not only creates space but also equips women for a world that is increasingly complex. Being an educator and educating students who someday will be teachers themselves, various contemporary gender issues are always at the core of our class discussions. In my classes, we cover topics such as teenage pregnancy, student-teacher “relationships”, rape, assisting learners with disabilities, sexual orientation and may others.

REFERENCES 1. Bhana D (2012) “Girls are not free.” In and out of the South African school. International Journal of Educational Development, 32, 352–358. 2. Dunne M, Humphreys S & Leach F (2006) Gender violence in schools in the developing world. Gender and Education, 18(1), 75–98. 3. Healing Classrooms (2009) Strategic protection for girls: Creating safe learning environments. IRC, New York. http://www. (accessed 29 June 2016).


4. Human Rights Watch (2001) Scared at School: Sexual Violence Against Girls in South African Schools. New York: Human Rights Watch. 5. Leach F, Dunne M & Salvi F (2014) School-Related Gender-Based Violence: A global review of current issues and approaches in policy, programming and implementation responses to SchoolRelated Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) for the Education Sector. UNESCO. (accessed 8 February 2017). 6. Morrell R (1998) Gender and education: The place of masculinity in South African schools. South African Journal of Education, 18(4), 218–225. 7. Pattman R & Chege F (2003) Finding Our Voices: Gendered and Sexual Identities in HIV/AIDS Education. Nairobi: UNICEF. 8. Prinsloo S (2006) Sexual harassment and violence in South African schools. South African Journal of Education, 2(2), 305–318. 9. Schwandt HM & Underwood C (2015). Engaging school personnel in making schools safe for girls in Botswana, Malawi, and Mozambique. International Journal of Education Development, 46, 53–58. 10. UN (2006) Report of the independent expert for the UN Secretary General’s study on violence against children. New York, UN. N06/491/05/PDF/N0649105.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 7 February 2017). 11. UNESCO (2016) SDG 4 Education 2030. UNESCO, Paris. http:// (accessed 8 February 2017). 12. UNICEF (2006) Girls Education Movement (GEM) – South Africa. UNICEF South Africa. resources_gembrief.pdf (accessed 7 February 2017). 13. UNICEF (2005) Summary report: Violence against disabled children. UNICEF, Nairobi. PDFs/UNICEF_Violence_Against_Disabled_Children_Report _Distributed_Version.pdf (accessed 29 June 2016).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

MAPPING OUR FUTURES: How integrating Participatory Urban Planning tools into the education of young women and girls can help achieve Agenda 2030 Raisa Cole Raisa Cole leads the Urban Solutions team, a multidisciplinary consultancy specialising in youth-based consulting, small-scale urban project management, and place-making facilitation. Raisa has extensive experience in sustainable development, having done policy work and analysis for the UN World Food Programme, African Union (AU), Solidaridad Southern Africa and the African Institute for Community Driven Development, among others. She has an MSc degree in International Cooperation and Urban Planning as well as an MSc in Urbanism, Habitat and International Cooperation. Raisa is also the head researcher for the Not in My Neighbourhood documentary. Twitter handle: @Raisa.Cole

Introduction “All the SDGs come down to education” (Malala Yousafzai, 2015) Addressing the 70th session of the General Assembly, Nobel Laureate and activist for female education, Malala Yousafzai (cited in Sampathkumar, 2015) made an affirmation that put education at the centre of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “All the SDGs come down to education”. This powerful statement provides a highly practical strategy for operationalising the newly adopted SDGs into sustainable development policies, plans and programmes. The SDG 4 on education, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UN Division for Sustainable Development (DESA), 2016a), is equally premised on creating access to education as it is on using education to actualise the other 16 goals holistically. One of the targets of Goal 4 is to ensure that “all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development” (The Global Goals, 2016). Meeting this target requires the development community to undertake a thorough inquiry into the type of knowledge and skills required to promote sustainable development. One aspect of this inquiry is mapping out the geographies of poverty and underdevelopment in order to understand the nuanced development needs of each locality. It is projected that 50 percent of Africa’s population will live in cities by 2030 (World Bank, 2016). In this highly urbanising African context, much of the work towards achieving the SDGs will take place in cities. Like Goal 4, Goal 11, “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (UN-DESA, 2016b), can also be viewed as a cross-cutting goal, as cities become the primary sites of sustainable development. This paper will explore the type of skills and knowledge required to achieve Goal 11. It will investigate the role of Participatory Urban Planning (PUP) tools in developing these skills, and the ways it may be used to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. In many ways, the success of the SDGs will rely heavily on the development community’s ability to find innovative intersections between them. This paper will link the SDGs on education and sustainable cities,

and focus on the potential impact that realising these goals can have on transforming gender dynamics on the African continent. The African city has, historically, been a masculine domain. Migrant work, a long-standing driver of rural-urban migration in Africa, has created an uneven gender ratio in African cities (Rhoda, 1983). In 2008, cities in Uganda, Rwanda, Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Lesotho, Malawi and Namibia all had a female share of the urban population under 30 percent (Tacoli, 2012). However, recent trends indicate an increasing number of women in African cities. This has the potential to enact wide-scale transformation in gender dynamics on the continent. Urbanisation, often associated with gender-related transformations, has the potential to catalyse dynamic opportunities for the social and economic advancement of urban women. Urban areas have the potential to provide a wider range of livelihood opportunities for the poor with less social restrictions (Farrington, Ramasut & Walker, 2002). The transformational power of cities is captured in how the UN (2015) describes their value: “Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.” Despite these opportunities, the gender gap between urban men and women remains acute. The barriers that limit women’s access to the transformational potential of urban services, such as access to housing tenure, healthcare, education and financial infrastructure, are particularly prevalent in African cities. For example, the legal frameworks related to property rights often discriminate against poor women through the criminalisation of informal housing and limited access to credit (Rakodi, 2014). In most African cities, urban women are overrepresented in the informal sector which is typically characterised by poor wages and working conditions (Chen, 2013). In addition, household water and sanitation access remain the role of women and girls, even within urban contexts, where water must be accessed at high prices through the cash economy (Lewis, 2016).

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MAPPING OUR FUTURES: How integrating Participatory Urban Planning tools into the education of young women and girls can help achieve Agenda 2030

The African City as a site of social transformation “In the 21st as in much earlier centuries, people congregate in cities to realize aspirations and dreams, fulfil needs and turn ideas into realities” (UN-Habitat, 2012, p. v). There are so many development challenges in African cities that one tends to forget their role as centres of prosperity and growth. Cities are ultimately points of attraction, with rural-urban as well as urban-urban migration dominating 21st-century human movement on the continent. By 2050, Africa’s urban population will have grown by 50 percent (UN-Habitat, 2010). While African urbanism evokes images of informality, infrastructural meltdown and erratic unplanned growth, one cannot deny the decision-making processes behind the large-scale influx of people into cities. The assumption that urban migrants are somehow driven to urban areas by deluded perceptions of opportunity undermines the strategic rationalisation involved in developing livelihood strategies. As Pieterse (2009, p. 4) describes it, this movement is driven by an “opportunistic searching” for new livelihood strategies within a network of multiple urban locations. The continent’s large cities are only capable of absorbing 25 percent of urban growth, leaving intermediate and small cities to absorb the remaining 75 percent (UN-Habitat, 2010). If one is to think of urban living in these network terms, then the pooled resources of multiple urban locations have the potential to provide an even wider range of livelihood opportunities than single locations. In addition, there is often a false dichotomy between “rural” and “urban” livelihood systems. The urban poor rely on links between urban, rural and peri-urban areas to develop their livelihood strategies (Farrington et al., 2002), further broadening the network of assets on which the urban poor can draw. It is important to understand the ways

It is projected that, by 2030, Africa’s 18 highest performing cities could reach a combined purchasing power of USD 1.3 trillion – lifting 128 million households to middle-class status. in which the urban is communicated to the rural, and how the relativity of circumstances is established within a rural-urban narrative. However, regardless of whether the movement of people into cities is driven by real or imagined opportunities, there are certain tangible and intangible assets associated with urban living that have the potential to provide people, women in particular, with livelihood opportunities and other instruments of empowerment. In South Africa, average incomes in urban areas far surpass those in rural areas (Gasmi, Ivaldi & Recuero Virto, 2009). The gap between rural


and urban electrification in sub-Saharan Africa is outrageously large, with 59 percent access in urban locations and a mere 17 percent in rural areas (International Energy Agency, 2015). However, this averaging out masks greater disparities within some countries such as Burkina Faso (56 percent urban and one percent rural), Cameroon (88 percent urban and 17 percent rural), Congo (62 percent urban and five percent rural), and Ethiopia (85 percent urban and 10 percent rural) (ibid). In addition, the rate of economic growth in African cities is giving rise to a plethora of new opportunities, markets and household purchasing power (Abbott, 2013). It is projected that, by 2030, Africa’s 18 highest performing cities could reach a combined purchasing power of USD 1.3 trillion – lifting 128 million households to middle-class status (ibid). With the remarkable increase in women-headed households in African cities, this growth and prosperity has the potential to lift an unprecedented amount of women out of poverty. Evidence shows that some countries, such as Senegal and Burkina Faso, have nearly 50 percent more women-headed households in urban areas (Tacoli, 2012). This not only increases their responsibility and decision-making power, but also puts them in a position of vulnerability as navigating the socio-cultural, economic and infrastructural deficits of urban living falls solely on the shoulders of women. “A prosperous city ensures gender equality, protects the rights of minority and vulnerable groups, and ensures civic participation by all in the social, political and cultural spheres” (UN-Habitat, 2012, p. 11); yet, an underdeveloped one can accentuate the risks associated with poverty and vulnerability. African cities score relatively low on the UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Index (CPI)1 with a score of 0.600 or lower (UN-Habitat, 2012). Incidentally, these cities also score relatively low on the Equity Indices (ibid), and often exist as schizophrenic sites of relative prosperity and debilitating poverty. For example, in some places, poor urban populations pay considerably more for substandard water while wealthy residents pay less for cleaner water and better sanitation systems (Lewis, 2016). This ties into the idea of the urban dweller’s hopeful state of being. These individuals have a dual aspiration: to shed the limitations of their previous locations (either cities with fewer opportunities or rural areas) and to reach a level of prosperity that only urban areas can generally provide. Poor urban women aspire to access the benefits of higher paid employment, lower fertility rates, and relatively fewer cultural limitations on their decision-making power (Tacoli, McGranahan & Satterthwaite, 2007). However, these benefits can only be realised if urban development is tailored to the livelihood aspirations of poor urban women (Farrington et al., 2002). Pieterse (2011) identifies three aspects of urban development “tailor-making” required to facilitate better lives and livelihood options for poor urban dwellers. These are 1) sustainable infrastructure, 2) the inclusive economy, and 3) efficient spatial form (ibid). Pieterse (2011) identifies democratic urban decision-making as the thread tying these three components together. These three aspects of urban development have a particular gender dimension to them. Firstly, due to their TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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occupation of the domestic space and the increasing prevalence of female-headed households, poor urban women typically rely heavily on informal infrastructure to provide energy, water and sanitation services, often at exorbitant prices (Lewis, 2016). Secondly, similar gender dynamics can be seen in the informal economies of African cities. In South Africa, the percentage of women in the informal economy surpasses men in both wage employment (23.2 percent of women and 18.7 percent of men) and self-employment (16.3 percent of women and 12.7 percent of men) (Cole, 2015). This is true for a number of African countries and is an increasing trend in African cities. Lastly, gender dynamics play an essential role in how the spatial forms of cities manifest in exclusionary ways. Land use practices that create barriers to urban livelihood generation are common in African cities. Pieterse (2011) argues that strict separation of land uses and sprawling urban patterns create conditions for exclusion and inefficiency. Urban women are generally “time-poor”, having limited time to engage in socially mobilising activities outside their productive and daily household labour (Riverson, Kunieda, Robert, Lewi & Walker, 2005), in addition to their limited financial resources. Massive exclusion is created in public transportation because the travelling time and costs for poor women are often higher due to the peripheral location of informal settlements. In order to make infrastructure sustainable, economies inclusive and spatial form efficient, democratic urban decision-making needs to be a central component of the urban development process.

Active citizenry, non-formal education and the livelihoods of poor urban women “In one way or another the city contains within itself major elements for integral education and training that makes it at one and the same time a complex system, object of educational attention and a permanent, plural, multi-faceted, educating agent capable of counteracting inimical educating elements”(International Association of Educating Cities, 2004, p. 2). Various approaches have emerged to address developmental barriers and harness democratic urban decision-making, with the development of active citizenry at the forefront of these approaches. Education (formal, informal and non-formal) is widely regarded as a catalyst for democratic and civic participation (Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP), 2016). Active citizenship in urban areas is not limited to democratic platforms of urban decision-making (Mitlin & Thompson, 1995), but rather extends to active involvement in and knowledge of a wide range of infrastructural (socio-cultural and bio-technical), economic and spatial processes that direct urban societies (Pieterse, 2011). In order to engage in these domains effectively, participants need to have practical knowledge of the city and its multi-dimensional flows. In this regard, urban governments from across the continent have recognised the importance of diagnostic tools that support a cross-sectoral, multistakeholder approach to helping cities identify opportunities and risks

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MAPPING OUR FUTURES: How integrating Participatory Urban Planning tools into the education of young women and girls can help achieve Agenda 2030

(World Bank, 2016). Participatory Urban Planning (PUP) tools that map resources, policies, processes, institutions and risks in a city are useful for diagnosing the urban environment. The participatory school of thought which PUP developed from emerged in the 1970s as an alternative to the “anthropological ethnographies” (Appel, Buckingham, Jodoin & Roth, 2012, p. 5) that perpetuated problematic power relations between communities and development practitioners or social scientists. This school of thought has been translated into many different participatory practices, such as participatory action learning, participatory action research and participatory planning. These approaches not only allow for greater accuracy in the communication of citizens needs to urban decision-makers, but also give residents direct access to the information needed to be more active in their own development process (Mitlin & Thomson, 1995). PUP, therefore, focuses on putting end-users at the centre of the design and management of urban planning (International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), 2004). In this sense, it provides a powerful means of meeting the diagnostic requirements of decision-makers while meeting the education needs of poor urban women. In using participatory tools, the process of information gathering and the information itself become a catalyst for the more direct participation of these women in the development process (Mitlin & Thompson, 1995). This process of information gathering can be effectively carried out through non-formal education methods. Defined as “Any organized learning activity outside the structure of the formal system… aimed at meeting specific learning needs of a particular sub-group” (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1972, cited in Thompson, 2001, p. 7), non-formal


education has the potential to address one of the key targets of SDG 4 on education, that “all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development” (UN-DESA, 2016a). This type of education exists as a comprehensive set of tools and approaches “by which skills and work-related knowledge and attitudes are acquired, updated and adapted” (Agency for International Development, 1970, cited in Thompson, 2001, p. 8). According to Thompson (2001), non-formal education also plays an important role in facilitating access to formal education services in a city. In this sense, it is particularly suited to African urban environments where incremental measures are needed to lift a large majority of urban dwellers out of poverty. It is also highly relevant in the African context where so much of the population relies on the informal sector to generate livelihoods. Singh (2015) recognises non-formal education as a means of facilitating employability and labour mobility in both rural and urban areas in Africa. He argues that the recognition of informal sector workers’ non-formal education has the potential to increase the productivity and income levels of the working class as well as their ability to adapt to changing environments (ibid). With women making up the majority of informal sector workers in most African countries (Chen, 2013), non-formal education presents an opportunity for targeted development within this social group. The value of PUP in the non-formal education of poor urban women can be illustrated through two PUP tools, namely, mapping exercises and Venn diagrams. These tools are discussed below in relation to their value in poor urban women’s non-formal education. Mapping exercises The mapping process involves the visual representation of data patterns with certain spatial values (Reference, 2016). Mapping exercises, such as cognitive and asset mapping, involve the plotting out of resource flows, community movements and points of convergence in a particular location or between different locations. The diagnostic value of mapping lies in its ability to include a large amount of data graphically and gather key information about a community or space (Appel et al., 2012). Through mapping exercises, outside facilitators, planners and decision-makers obtain key insights into the existing strengths and behaviour patterns of a community for more responsive development interventions (Warner, 2015). At the same time, mapping exercises provide a useful tool for poor urban women to communicate their specific needs to decision-makers and, perhaps more importantly, plot their spheres of influence graphically. As a non-formal education tool, mapping can be used as a Participatory Learning and Action (PLA)2 activity for self-learning and critical thinking around the types of assets and vulnerabilities. This is a particularly powerful tool for poor urban women in that their vulnerabilities, as well as the resources required to address them, can be mapped. The particularly urban manifestation of poor women’s vulnerabilities is related to the lack of employment, irregularity of jobs, low wages, constant fear of eviction, lack of TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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support from relatives and the community, and expensive health, water and sanitation services (Farrington et al., 2002). Mapping provides an opportunity for women to articulate the ways in which they navigate these vulnerabilities every day and the assets they rely on to do so. Venn diagrams Venn diagrams are another useful visual tool. They are used to identify and represent the power relations attached to key institutions (formal and informal) within a location. They measure the level of access to these institutions and their importance to different social groups. This PUP tool involves the identification and ranking of key institutions according to two parameters: the level of access to them and their importance to the user. Venn diagrams can be used to analyse a wide range of institutions, but particularly useful applications of the tool are to understand the service providers, infrastructure and services in a city, and create a picture of the community’s sphere of influence (Appel et al., 2012). Access to these services can be measured according to their distance from the user (travelling cost and time), and their relative importance to people’s lives and livelihoods. Due to the peripheral locations in which many poor urban women live, the longer travelling time and higher costs involved, essential services required to generate livelihoods are often inaccessible. The educational value of Venn diagrams lies in the way they encourage participants to prioritise the services needed for livelihood generation. As a diagnostic tool, Venn diagrams can reveal important power dynamics in a society by demonstrating people’s perceptions of key institutions and they can also be used to identify information flows between institutions and actors.

Conclusion While the formal education of women and girls is an important part of enacting social transformation on the continent, this article has made a case for non-formal education as a powerful incremental measure to lift poor African women out of poverty. The relevance of this type of education is seen in relation to two primary characteristics of the African city. Firstly, non-formal education is well suited to the informal sector as it can be adapted to the specific needs of workers in this sector. This level of adaptability allows for greater participation as learners shape the learning process to their specific needs. In this sense, the process of information gathering, as well as the information itself, creates opportunities for learning. The information generated through the learning process can, therefore, be used to communicate the development needs of learners for more responsive urban planning and management interventions. Secondly, the dualities in African cities, where centralised services often exist beyond the reach of the urban poor, create the need for educational tools that facilitate greater access to urban assets through the education process. If one is to view the African city as both a site

of underdevelopment and prosperous growth, then their role in transforming gender power dynamics on the continent lies in locating and accessing urban assets attached to that prosperity and mitigating vulnerabilities related to underdevelopment. PUP presents an opportunity for bringing about this transformation in that it encapsulates both diagnostic as well as educational elements. The PUP tools demonstrated here provide examples of how they can be used to increase poor urban women’s access to livelihood assets and facilitate active citizenship that catalyses the transformational power of cities.

NOTES 1. The CPI was developed by UN-Habitat (n.d.) and combines the five dimensions of quality of life, infrastructures, equity and environmental sustainability to measure a city’s prosperity levels. 2. “The underlying principle behind the PLA methodology is to engage the full participation of people in the processes of learning about their needs and opportunities, and in the action required to address them” (Appel et al., 2012, p. 6).

REFERENCES 1. Abbott J (2013) State of the world’s cities 2012/2013: Prosperity of cities. Australian Planner, 52(2): 171-173. 2. Appel K, Buckingham E, Jodoin K & Roth D (2012) Participatory Learning and Action Toolkit for application in BSR’s global programs. BSR, Paris. curriculum-resources/herproject-pla-toolkit.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017). 3. Chen M (2013) Women and Men in the Informal Economy. Second edition. ILO: Geneva. (accessed 19 January 2017). 4. Cole R (2014) The political economy of productive urban space: A sustainable livelihoods approach. BUWA!: A Journal on African Women’s Experiences, 1(1): 52. 5. Farrington J, Ramasut T & Walker J (2002) Sustainable livelihoods approaches in urban areas: General lessons, with illustrations from Indian cases. Working Paper 162, March. Research results presented in preliminary form for discussion and critical comment. ODI, London. files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/2706.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017). 6. Gasmi F, Ivaldi M & Recuero Virto L (2009) An empirical analysis of cellular demand in South Africa. Toulouse School of Economics Working Paper 09-091, September. default/files/medias/doc/wp/dev/wp_dev_91_2009.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017).

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7. Global Goals, The (2016) Goal 4: Quality Education. http://www. (accessed 21 August 2016). 8. IIED (2004) Decentralisation and community-based planning. Participatory learning and action notes 49, April. IIED, London. (accessed 19 January 2017). 9. International Association of Educating Cities (2004) Charter of Educating Cities. uploads/2013/10/CARTA-CIUDADES-EDUCADORAS_3idiomas.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017). 10. International Energy Agency (2016) World Energy Outlook. http:// energyaccessdatabase (accessed 1 September 2016). 11. Lewis L (2016) Rural and Urban Water Issues in Africa. The Water Project. (accessed 12 January 2017). 12. LLLP (2016) Active citizenship. xxi-century-skills/active-citizenship (accessed 1 September 2016). 13. Mitlin D & Thompson J (1995) Participatory approaches in urban areas: Strengthening civil society or reinforcing the status quo? Environment and Urbanization, 7(1): 231-250. 14. Pieterse E (2011) Recasting Urban Sustainability in the South. Development, 54(3): 309-316. doi: 10.1057/dev.2011.62 15. Pieterse E (2009) Exploratory Notes on African Urbanism. African Centre for Cities. Third European Conference on African Studies. Leipzig, 4-7 June. Debates/2011-09-28/Pieterse_NotesonAfricanUrbanism.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017). 16. Rakodi C (2014) Expanding women’s access to land and housing in urban areas. Gender, Equality and Development. Women’s Voice and Agency Research Series No. 8, 92762. World Bank, Washington DC. http://documents. pdf/927620NWP0Wome00Box385358B00PUBLIC0.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017). 17. Reference (2016) What is a mapping exercise? https://www. (accessed 4 September 2016). 18. Rhoda R (1983) Rural Development and Urban Migration. International Migration Review, 17: 34-64. 19. Riverson J, Kunieda M, Robert P, Lewi N & Walker W (2005) An overview of women’s transport issues in developing countries. The challenges in addressing gender dimensions of transport in developing countries: Lessons from World Bank’s projects. (accessed 19 January 2017).


20. Sampathkumar M (2015) Five Key Quotes from the Sustainable Development Goals Summit. UN Dispatch. 25 September. http:// (accessed 4 September 2016). 21. Singh M (2015) Global perspectives of recognizing nonformal and informal learning: Why recognition matters. Technical and Vocational Education and Training: Issues, Concerns and Perspectives, 21. UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. Springer Open. images/0023/002336/233655E.pdf (accessed 12 January 2016). 22. Tacoli C (2012) Urbanization, gender and urban poverty: Paid work and unpaid carework in the city. Urbanization and emerging population issues working paper 7, March. IED and UNFPA. http:// (accessed 19 January 2017). 23. Tacoli C, McGranahan G & Satterthwaite D (2007) Urbanization, poverty and inequity: Is rural-urban migration a poverty problem, or part of the solution? Background paper for the UNFPA’s State of the World Population 2007. IIED, London. 24. Thompson EJD (2001) Non-formal education in urban Kenya: Findings of a study in Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi. German Agency for Technical Co-Operation, Nairobi. https://eric. (accessed 8 January 2017). 25. UN (2015) Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. (accessed 7 January 2017). 26. UN-Habitat (2012) State of the World’s Cities 2012/2013. Prosperity of Cities. Routledge: New York. 27. UN-Habitat (2010) The State of African Cities 2010. Governance, Inequalities and Urban Land Markets. UN-Habitat: Nairobi. mirror. (accessed 12 January 2017). 28. UN-Habitat (n.d.) City Prosperity Initiative. urban-initiatives/initiatives-programmes/city-prosperity-initiative (19 January 2017). 29. UN-DESA (2016a) Sustainable Development Goal 4. https:// (accessed 7 January 2017). 30. UN-DESA (2016b) Sustainable Development Goal 11. https:// (accessed 7 January 2017). 31. Warner C (2015) Participatory Mapping: A literature review of community-based research and participatory planning. Social Hub for Community and Housing, Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, MIT. SocialHubfinal.pdf (accessed 7 January 2017). 32. World Bank (2016) Urban resilience: Challenges and opportunities for African cities. news/feature/2016/01/21/urban-resilience-challenges-andopportunities-for-african-cities (accessed 4 September 2016).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

INFORMAL LEARNING, cultural traditions and transformation Goitsione Mokou

“Educational practices intended to generate democratic possibilities must be conceived of not as neutral processes but as political acts; [that can be] hegemonic [and so] reproductive… or guided by an alternative transformative social vision” (Mayo, 1999, p. 155).

Introduction What role can informal learning play in recovering indigenous knowledges and cultural traditions that are otherwise silenced by dominant, hegemonic knowledges within social institutions such as the academy and the media? While informal learning allows for the emergence of otherwise marginalised knowledges towards collective knowledge making and transformation, it is not exempt from the politics of power. Educational practice generally is not a neutral process but a political act mediated by the politics of power. This paper considers the collective process of action-reflection and praxis within social movements, specifically the People’s Education initiative, and its effectiveness in the realisation of transformation and the prioritisation of indigenous knowledges.

Informal learning and popular education

Goitsione Mokou is an educationist and community worker living in Cape Town. She is a co-founder of the Cape Town-based education collective, People’s Education. Goitsione is a Masters student at the UCT School of Education, specialising in Curriculum Studies. In both scholarship and practice, her key areas of interest are curriculum and pedagogy, and their inherent relationship in knowledge production and society, towards notions of “subject” making and adult education. Goitsione is concerned with popular pedagogies and how new counter-pedagogies can be created toward knowledge-making practices that seek to counter hegemonic discourse in both formal and non-formal education discourse. Goitsione is also a decolonialist, a jazz-phile and she hopes to master the keys one day.

challenge the assumptions and attitudes of privilege that hegemonic knowledges necessarily cannot. These are in fact made evident in folklore, dance, drama and craft.

Informal learning takes place in a non-formal education context. It is not about the acquisition of formal knowledge or certification, and it is not necessarily facilitated by qualified experts. Its participants are not graded or classed. Informal learning can take place anywhere by drawing on local knowledges of facilitators toward the realisation of knowledges that serve the immediate needs of any given individual and/or community. It is necessarily accessible. Popular education seeks to allow facilitators and participants alike collective and/or individual agency toward the realisation of knowledges that seek to transform socio-cultural practices which are dominant, hegemonic and destructive. Popular education is thus located within a context of transformation. Informal learning and popular education pedagogies are invested in changing people’s perspectives of change as something mediated from the top down. It is a recognition of local activities and structures as a starting point of the learning process. This implies an increasing level of participation and allowing people to retain their voices, rendering the population as self-relevant as possible. Informal learning and popular education pedagogies are at once transformative and emancipatory.

Social movements and transformation

Culture and indigenous knowledges

People’s Education and sex education

There is always a dominant discourse which needs to be interrogated. Thus, the culture of the informal learning space also needs to be interrogated. Ntseane (2011) suggests that an understanding of African knowledges would be useful in this. Their collective nature brings to the centre otherwise marginalised voices and goes a step further to

People’s Education is a collective of educationalists, activists and artists in the Western Cape of South Africa who work to facilitate a culture of learning in informal social contexts. (The collective is discussed in detail in Evan Abrahamse’s article in this issue, but certain aspects of the collective will be emphasised here.) People’s Education critiques

Freire (cited in Endersen, 2013, p. 30) considers popular education and informal learning to be “rooted in the real interest and struggles of ordinary people; it is overtly political and critical of the status quo; [and] it is committed to progressive social and political change.” Furthermore, “Knowledge is not acquired merely through abstract, rational thought but also by experiencing, interacting with and reflecting on the material world in which we live” (ibid). A dialogical model of education using the experience of participants in an educational process of conscientisation serves to counter the “culture of silence” (Freire, 2005, p. 30) whereby the oppressed “consent” to their oppression. Ntseane (2011) speaks of a type of culturally sensitive transformative learning. The “Afrocentric learning paradigm” includes community participation, spirituality, collective empowerment and gender roles (Ntseana, 2011, pp 311-312). The two former values are concerned with a plurality of knowledges, while the latter two are concerned with the manner in which knowledge is to be shared for the collective and transformative good.

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INFORMAL LEARNING, cultural traditions and transformation

the formal education system, its preoccupation with Western models of education and its reproductive pedagogical device, curriculum and inaccessibility to the poor. The collective concerns itself with decolonising both practice and knowledge by mobilising the archive and contemporary African knowledges to decolonise learning and knowledge-making so that African communities are able to realise their own solutions to social issues. This is achieved by an emphasis on the African text and realised in varied forms of socio-cultural practice, in ritual and meaning. The collective draws extensively on the work of Freire (2005) in that the facilitators all view themselves as “teachers amongst students and students amongst teachers” and believe that it is only through collective engagement and learning processes that communities are able to affect real change or transformation. People’s Education is a process of developing methodology through experiential learning where all activities are followed by a process of critical reflection on this methodology, coordinating strategies, pedagogical practice and content. This process is evident in the People’s Education approach in that all projects inform an internal study programme that focuses on these areas in line with the collective’s principles toward the development of methodology and experiential learning. Experiential learning is understood as a method of “learning by doing” where the experiences illuminate lessons toward skills and/or content and the betterment of future practice. In a detailed invitation by People’s Education (2015) to a sex education workshop, the workshop process and intended outcomes are discussed as follows:

action following reflection. It is a critically reflective process which seeks to realise what has been learnt. However, popular education pedagogies and indigenous knowledges alone are not enough. Meaningful transformation can only be realised when action and reflection are in alignment with the interests and struggles of oppressed people. It is the argument of this paper that it is this collective process of action-reflection within social movements that speaks to a realisation of transformation and seeks to draw on the indigenous knowledges in order to challenge those which are otherwise hegemonic. Popular education combined with art and culture realises pedagogical practices and/or educational modes which foster indigenous knowledges. This allows People’s Education to challenge otherwise hegemonic knowledges. Informal learning in the context of transformation and decolonising plays a positive role in recovering indigenous knowledges and knowledge-making practices.

Setting out to explore new ways of talking, learning and teaching sexuality in cross-generational and peer discussions. It becomes evident that we must create new knowledge and new social practices. Our sex and our sexuality remain as subjects which are taboo and shunned. Yet we live in a hypersexualised society. How do we create our own terms of engagement? We should discuss sex as an essential part of our humanity: equal parts knowledge and learning, personal and political, public and intimate. Engaging this through the workshop process, participants have imagined an emerging ritual practice rooted in the lived experience, recognising tradition that is partly forgotten and partly remembered. This is an effort to normalise the discussion of sex.

The need for shared and equal responsibility [is] stressed by encouraging all stakeholders to be involved in all levels of decisions on choice of programme, assessment of learning outcomes, curriculum design and methods; to foster interaction among [participants, facilitators], communities [and its socio-cultural practices] in order to encourage commitments to social justice [locally].

People’s Education is a social movement that focusses on informal learning practices informed by popular education. People’s Education seeks to speak to a collective, draw on indigenous knowledges and better its methodology through action-reflection and praxis.

Praxis Praxis gives voice to local and indigenous knowledges that are otherwise silenced by dominant, hegemonic knowledges such as the academy and the media. Praxis signals a process of change realised through


Conclusion Social movements are not immune to the politics of power. Social movement organisations and/or collectives need to remain critically reflective of attitudes and practices that illuminate the politics of power. Facilitators need to be mindful of not imposing but rather actively seeking out and utilising knowledges that are informed by those with whom they collectively work – an objective that People’s Education pursues. In conclusion, the following words from Walters and Watters (2001, p. 456) are pertinent:

REFERENCES 1. Endersen K (2013) Popular education in three organisations in Cape Town, South Africa. Studies in the Education of Adults, 45(1): 27-40. 2. Freire P (2005) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum International: New York. 3. Mayo P (1999) Gramsci, Freire and Adult Education: Possibilities for Transformative Action. Zed Books: London. 4. Ntseane PG (2011) Culturally sensitive transformational learning: Incorporating the Afrocentric paradigm and African feminism. Adult Education Quarterly, 61(4): 307-323. 5. People’s Education (2015) Sex education workshop invitation. People’s Education, Cape Town. 6. Walters S & Watters K (2001) Lifelong learning, higher education and active citizenship: From rhetoric to action. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 20(6): 471-478. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

PEOPLE’S EDUCATION: A case study of alternative strategies to impart knowledge Evan Abrahamse Evan Abrahamse was born in Cape Town and raised in Zambia. He is a veteran of uMkonto We Sizwe, the military wing of the ANC, and a former trade unionist. Evan is currently an activist for alternative education practice and is part of the People’s Education collective.

Introduction People’s Education is an informal collective of activists, teachers, community workers and artists based in Cape Town who are concerned with education in the African context. Through collaboration with like-minded individuals, institutions and organisations, and based on the principle of putting theory into practice, People’s Education is attempting an organic intervention in the culture of learning in a variety of contexts. The informal collective believes education is a social responsibility and a key area for engaged activism. They note that education-centred activism functions as a core component of the broader movement towards ending poverty, inequality and alienation. Africa has inherited a colonial education system which socialises and conditions fatalism and conformity (Spaaija & Jeanes, 2013). This functions to reinforce pervasive inequalities, of which the continental sense of inferiority constitutes a core paradigm. The education system continues to leave people ill-equipped for the struggle to discard this legacy and focus on the current needs of a fast-changing world. The collective believes that schools are a reproductive, self-sustaining system, and bureaucracy and unequal power relationships between learners, families and schooling systems perpetrate disempowerment. Social conditions, long school hours and the lack of a learning culture in the society in which the schools exist breed bad educational practices. The gap between those who benefit from the system and those who do not is a haunting one. People’s Education concerns itself with decolonising education, and sees the application and (re)instatement of African knowledge and knowledge-making practices as a key part of this process. Their philosophy is that Africans need to build a capacity to realise their own solutions to social issues in the local context. As such, the organisation uses African texts, practices and rituals as its starting point. Taking our cue (and name) from the People’s Education (for People’s Power) Movement founded during and as part of the anti-apartheid struggle (Mathebula, 2013), the collective engages pedagogical sites through community workshops, seminars and workplace study circles. The group has defined its activities as education activism through pedagogies premised on their being “teachers amongst learners and learners amongst teachers.” This praxis is significantly informed by the ideas and work of Paulo Freire (2005, p. 17) who stated: In order to understand the meaning of dialogical practice, we have to put aside the simplistic understanding of dialogue as a mere

technique. Dialogue does not represent a somewhat false path that I attempt to elaborate on and realize in the sense of involving the ingenuity of the other On the contrary, dialogue characterizes an epistemological relationship. Thus, in this sense, dialogue is a way of knowing and should never be viewed as a mere tactic to involve students in a particular task… I engage in dialogue not necessarily because I like the other person. I engage in dialogue because I recognize the social and not merely the individualistic character of the process of knowing. In this sense, dialogue presents itself as an indispensable component to the process of both learning and knowing. The approach of People’s Education is also in agreement with Dr Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (2005, p. 21), who argues that a conscious effort towards a culture of African knowledge making is essential to the well-being of Africans: What is required therefore is a programme of genealogy that raids the textual and oral archives of our different African histories in order to demonstrate plural forms of existence. By opening up a disruptive collective historical imaginary, we can unlock ourselves from the repressive power regimes of the present, in favour of a liberatory future. Change for the future only begins when we change the way we are able to look into the viscera of our past. We must begin to disinvent the reified traditions that bind us into mutually destructive gender relations. Habit must be rebalanced in relationship to innovation and creativity by searching into the past for alternative ways of being and doing. The collective is interested in working beyond institutionally mediated ways of thinking and acting on education. They are motivated to create an African education that focuses on where Africans come from and where they now stand, with a view to enabling them to imagine and build towards pluralistic futures.

The “Uneducated” intervention The first intervention, known as “Uneducated”, took the form of a 15-minute multimedia performance utilising drama, dance, stencils, live drawings and music. The performance sought to explore the role of

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education in identity formation. The notion is that generic institutional pedagogies (and the inherent power relation between teachers and learners) have the effect of not only prescribing ways of receiving and making knowledge but also restrict individuality and creativity. “Uneducated” raised debates on what can be termed the “schools for jobs” phenomenon. As social institutions, schools cannot be viewed as separate from the cultural and economic circumstances and objectives of the societies which they (should) aim to serve. The performance also poses a few questions including whether the current mainstream education system can free us as Africans, and, if the education system is so bound up with neocolonialism, should Africans seek alternative paths to learning and teaching. The approaches they use seem to point towards the need for alternatives. The performance was initially inspired by discussions on the nature of the schooling system in South Africa and the need for creative disruptions within and against this structure. Artists and others in the collective then workshopped and produced the “Uneducated” piece, which came to be structured around the three major stages of learning: early childhood, where we begin to conceive of the world, immersed in the family environment; formal schooling, which is often a process of mass regimentation amounting to little more than social control; and academia, within which one may become actively involved in so-called knowledge production.

Sex education project and workshops In 2014, working alongside Greatmore Studios, People’s Education embarked on a project concerning sex education in the contemporary African context. This endeavour started with a series of art-centred community workshops, two of which were held in Cape Town and the third in Grahamstown as part of the National Arts Festival. These are viewed as steps towards a working methodology for self-learning among Africans. The key questions are: How are Africans talking about sex with each other? What are we talking about when we talk about sex? In what ways does this talk serve to inform our ideas of sex and sexuality? Art has the capacity to break down barriers and create common spaces. It allows people to say things that they would otherwise struggle to communicate and brings forth potentialities for public access to and engagement with these more embodied forms of knowledge. Using workshops as an approach allows People’s Education to reinvent teaching and learning. They constitute a methodology that speaks to the process of knowledge-making and are well suited to a project seeking to engage people on a subject as sensitive and central to the human condition as sex. Facilitators and participants jointly determined the objectives and intended outcomes of the project. This dynamic took shape as part of our emphasis on interactive and participatory knowledge-making. Our intentions were not to transmit the dos and don’ts of sex but, rather, to cultivate an open dialogue about sex and sexuality.


A central belief of People’s Education is that we live in a highly sexualised society which is simultaneously characterised by stigmas and conservatism. The collective is concerned with how this affects society’s sexual education. The enquiry is centred on how children are being taught about sex, and whether or not we can borrow and improve on existing practices within the mainstream curriculum, as well as engage these practices. Key questions raised are about how parents engage their children in sex education, and if these are effective in the contemporary African context. The idea is to find the best ways to engage with youths on such an important subject as sex, and how to ensure children get the right messages that allow them to live and experience healthy sexualities. How do we spread such engagements? Furthermore, would a healthy society not be one in which people of different sexual orientations talk openly about sex without the pervasiveness of heteronormative ideas? Other workshops were held for members of the “Rhodes Must Fall” movement at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and at the Harare Academy of Inspiration, a Khayelitsha-based public arts initiative. Several film projects and community-based activities are ongoing.

Nomfundo’s study circle In collaboration with Labour Research Services, People’s Education is concurrently running study circle sessions at Braid Excellence, a hair salon based in Mowbray, Cape Town. Known as Nomfundo’s study circle, this project seeks to nurture a culture of learning and community building in the workplace, engaging Africa as both place and subject. Dialogue and the sharing of personal experiences have constituted a core part of this process. Recently, the project has focused on making a short documentary film about the processes the study circle sessions are engaged in. Using other films and discussions as intertextual References, and with a keen emphasis on beauty, identity and remembrance, the film is intended to explore the following two-part question: How are the study circles realised, and what are some of the observable processes? Part of the approach is to allow the participants (workers and clients at the salon) to take part in the film-making process. In many instances, they are the ones asking the questions and holding the camera. At this stage, we are looking to broaden the scope of this project by, for instance, bringing other salons around Mowbray into the conversation.

African Music Workshop Series Another one of the collective’s ongoing projects is a workshop series on African music as it relates to education and knowledge in the contemporary setting. The series involves participatory workshops, screenings, listening sessions, performances and more. It is essentially a response to the lack of study and active engagement with African TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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music, given our musical legacy and the role it plays in the everyday lives of Africans. The key questions in this initiative are: What is African music? Can we talk of it as an exceptional type of music? The latter question speaks to, among other things, issues of modernity and hybridisation. What are the implications of westernisation and other processes of cultural change for the ways in which music is produced and consumed in Africa and by Africans? Can we talk of the African musical world as existing beyond continental borders and/or among diasporic or non-African identities? The idea is to reflect on the role of music in our everyday lives as well as in our spiritual lives. Music has the capacity to unlock the imagination and unleash its power, heal trauma and resolve issues of the self. We embody and inhabit our ancestral forms through music. We are aware there are numerous existing pan-African popular music genres. These have their own genealogy, history of interaction, influences and cross-pollination. The collective is interested in exploring how to dig deeper into these through conversations, how to delve into their message and popularise African music in its richness. People’s Education explores how music can be an educational tool and a tool for positive change. They note that, while a number of musicians have brought forth a very clear political message, there are more subtle ways in which music may constitute a transformational or revolutionary idea. Kwaito is illustrative: the attitude of “Pantsulaness” is transmitted to the youth, not only through the lyrics or semiotic message of a song, but also by way of the feeling and beat of the music. Along these lines, People’s Education is interested in the concept of music and sound as a language of its own, as a mode of knowledge and knowledge-making, and how to harness these paradigms in the struggle for the liberation of our people. This includes exploring the

possibility of bringing African music praxis into the formal classroom. If we cannot formally pedagogise and institutionalise African music, how can we strive towards a decolonised and pluralist music learning and teaching space? What is the value of maintaining the formal structure?

The “Free Space” intervention “Free Space” is a pop-up intervention, an open platform for interactive and spontaneous expression. An area is designated, art materials are provided, musical instruments, props, costumes and other means of performance and/or creative engagement are made available. Participants are encouraged to “do something” – anything – so long as it is not harmful, and does not derail the process. These sessions are aimed at the general public, foregrounding communal modes of creativity, by which those who are customarily excluded from the “Arts” (as an elitist space) become co-creators. There is an emphasis on breaking intergroup boundaries, such as the audience/performer relationship, and the facilitator/participant dynamic.

Art teaching practice interventions Together with Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA), People’s Education is running an intervention around secondary school art teaching practices. Many state schools in the townships are seriously under-resourced. This is particularly true where the creative arts are concerned. It is often the case that there are no trained art teachers and/or the required art materials. This project emerged in response to these circumstances and is intended to investigate and implement innovative ways of dealing with them.

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PEOPLE’S EDUCATION: A case study of alternative strategies to impart knowledge

The main approach here is to adapt “Free Space” as a classroom methodology. In terms of its potential as an educational tool, particularly with regard to senior phase high school students, “Free Space” offers three significant functions. Firstly, it constitutes a safe and playful environment in which pupils are encouraged to be creative, and practically apply what they have learnt in art, dance, music and/ or drama class. Along these lines, it serves as a means of evaluation and reflection. Secondly, it demonstrates and relies upon the power of art and art-making as mechanisms of social cohesion, while highlighting the role and importance of community. Thirdly, “Free Space” carries important life lessons and may be linked to subjects like Life Orientation. In these ways, the practice may be employed as a means of integrating various subjects, to the extent of reinforcing learners’ understandings of certain interrelated ideas and disciplines. For instance, historical learnings may be brought to life in the form of dramatic re-enactments. This approach reconciles “free activity” and the current assessment methodology whereby evidence of ability on the part of the learner is required. The key is the development of an understanding of the role of art in life. It is simultaneously a means of expression on the part of the individual, a means of intervention and reflection on one’s condition, a form of communication for ideas and opinions, and a means of agency in society. A sober engagement with art in its context is envisioned through this process. A space where these and other theoretical and philosophical questions can be examined freely is essential to this leap in cognition. The learner’s capacity to meet the required insight, contextualisation and other rubrics is thereby facilitated. Being an unstructured method, “Free Space” can assist teachers in addressing learner diversity, pace and method of instruction, as well as the needs and learning style of individual learners. It inverts the structure of assessment such that pupils can participate and demonstrate their potential more fully. People’s Education has established a yearlong programme with Mfuleni High School, where facilitators (artists and educators) go in several times a week, working in collaboration with teachers, to bring the intervention’s objectives to life. This is our first intervention in the formal learning space.

Land and farming education The land and farming project is still in the planning stages. It is a collaborative between People’s Education and Wynberg Organic Urban Farms. Essentially, the land and farming project is an education programme focussing on practical farming skills, distribution, marketing and a diverse array of pan-African teachings. Here, we are concerned with the land, its use and its ownership. The intention is to nurture a culture of sustainable land use as a solution to the many economic


problems faced by Africans in the urban context. This will involve building a community of skilled producers with independent resources. A core part of this project will be the process of popularising farming as an alternative for urban youths seeking employment. We are challenging the norm whereby young people tend to seek certain types of employment. Farming is presented as a viable and attractive alternative. People’s Education and Wynberg Organic Urban Farms want to engage in dialogue on land and organic farming, looking at issues of land and landlessness, emerging organic markets, the ways in which we can start to reclaim and make use of space towards a more progressive future, and the dichotomous notion of the urban world as isolated from rurality (and vice versa). It is envisioned that this conversation will involve art-centred workshops, where participants develop ideas and express their impressions on the question of land through visual arts, performance, poetry and so forth.

Lessons learnt Voluntary work can too easily be swallowed up by broader societal processes. Collectives often play a fundamental role in activism, and so it is important that they remain resilient in the face of the many challenges they are bound to encounter. For the majority of those at People’s Education, this is the first time they have critically engaged with learning in an informal social context. They find themselves developing a collective methodology through experiential learning, where all activities are subject to critical reflection at the levels of coordination, strategy, pedagogical practice and content. Over the past two years, People’s Education has realised that individual demands always need to be negotiated and worked into the collective space. It is also increasingly clear that, while they are determined to expand the impact of their work, the scope of activities should remain organic. This can be stated simply as, “Do what you can, when you can”.

REFERENCES 1. Bakare-Yusuf B (2005) Visceral development: Toward a genealogy of habit, gender and transformation. Paper presented at CODESRIA Gender Symposium on Gender Alternatives in African Development: Theories, Methods and Evidence. 27-29 October, Cairo. 2. Freire P (2005) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum International: New York. 3. Mathebula T (2013) People’s Education (for People’s Power) – A promise unfulfilled. South African Journal of Education, 33(1): 1-12. 4. Spaaija R & Jeanes R (2013) Education for social change? A Freirean critique of sport for development and peace. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 18(4): 442-457.

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE ECONOMIC COSTS of not educating women and girls: Child, early and forced marriage Cynthia Ngwalo-Lungu Cynthia Ngwalo-Lungu currently manages the OSISA Inclusive Access to Health Rights Programme. She has years of experience in public health, SRHR, governance, HIV/AIDS, gender, child rights and public policy. Cynthia is passionate about human rights, especially health, women and children’s rights. She has an MBA from the University of Wales and a BA (Humanities) from the Chancellor College at the University of Malawi.

I had seen this young girl on several occasions while visiting Lunzu, Malawi, and I decided to speak to her and find out why she was always out and about, fetching water and doing all sorts of chores at home on a school day. She told me that her name is Nankhoma and she is 15 years old. Listen to her story. I got pregnant last year when I was in Standard Six. My mother told me to go and live with the man who had impregnated me. His name is Che Jika (55), and he is married. His wife would not have me in their house, so he sent me to his mother’s house. As I had no job and Che Jika’s mother was quite old, he promised to provide for our daily needs. For three months he did not visit us, and there were days when we did not have a meal. On other days we survived on charity as the neighbours sympathised with us. A few months later he started visiting, but he did not buy us food or any necessities. He would come in, often in the middle of the night, drunk, and demand sex. His visits were really painful for me because, one way or another, I always knew I would get a beating. On most of these occasions, he would say I deserved the beating because I am ugly, lazy and rude. On other occasions, he would beat me up for being stupid enough to get pregnant. I went back to my mother’s house for the delivery. Che Jika did not come to see me when I delivered our twin babies, even after he was told that one of the twins had passed away at the hospital, Che Jika did not turn up. My baby is four months old now, and Che Jika has still not come to see his own child or sent any financial support. My relationship with Che Jika naturally died as I stayed with my mother after I had the babies. Neither Che Jika nor his people followed up with me. When my child was two months old, my mother and other elders in my family found a man who was willing to marry me. We had a beautiful church wedding. It is my second marriage. My husband does not beat me, and he takes care of me and my child. I look at my friends playing in the field, chasing after butterflies. I cannot join them as I have to take care of my baby. I see them walking around in uniforms as they come back from school. I miss school but I have a child to breastfeed and a husband to take care

of. I would like to go back to school, but I can’t tell my husband. Maybe someday I will pluck up the courage to ask him. Maybe someday I will convince my mother to help with caring for my child so that I can go back to school. I always wanted to be a nurse, and I know that if I don’t go back to school, this will just be a dream. I fear for my future, and I fear for my child’s future. I don’t want my child to go through what I have gone through. Stories like that of Nankhoma are common in Africa: childhood nipped in the bud. It is a story of a people and a culture that sanctions the abuse of the girl child. How else can one describe a people who throw flamboyant ceremonies, ululate, drink, dance and make merry as they send a vulnerable child off to an institution that is built on child abuse? If child marriage is not the highest form of abuse, then what is?

A definition and current trends Child marriage is a union where one or both parties are below the age of 18 (Girls Not Brides, 2014). Child marriages affect both boys and girls, but there are higher numbers of marriages involving girl children compared to boys. “Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into union before age 15. Boys are also married as children, but girls are disproportionately affected” (UNICEF, 2013, p. 1). One-third of developing nations’ girls are married before the age of 18, and one in nine are married before the age of 15 (International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), 2012). Child marriages are rampant in Asia and Africa. “All African countries are faced with the challenge of child marriage, a harmful traditional practice that robs girls of their education, their health and their future” (Girls Not Brides, 2014, p. 1). However, the practice is particularly widespread in West and Central Africa (42 percent) followed by Eastern and Southern Africa (36 percent) (Girls Not Brides, 2014). In Southern Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia are some of the hot spots for child marriages, recording prevalence rates ranging from 35 to 55 percent. In Mozambique and Malawi, one out of two girls will be married before the age of 18, while for Zimbabwe it is one out three girls (Girls Not Brides, 2014).

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THE ECONOMIC COSTS of not educating women and girls: Child, early and forced marriage

Driving factors There are several factors that fuel child marriages on the continent and, indeed, in Southern Africa. At the centre of child marriages are the issues of patriarchy, power and unequal gender relations. Most societies on the continent do not place proper value on women as productive members of society. It is, therefore, common for communities to view girls and women as second-class citizens, inferior, weak, unwise and unequal to boys and men. In most African cultures, there is very little value placed on the girl child and communities tend to invest more in boys than girls. It is not uncommon for families to withdraw their girl child from school while boys continue their education. The belief is that girls are only good for marriage and nothing else. These beliefs manifest themselves in various customs and traditional practices which are a manifestation of the perception that women and young girls are little more than sexual objects. Research illustrates that there is a link between poverty, economic hardships and child marriages. Overall, child marriages more frequently involve girls who are the least educated, poorest and who live in rural areas (Girls Not Brides, 2016a). For instance, in Benin, in 2006 alone, women aged 20 to 24, and living in rural areas, were 2.5 times more likely to be married or in a traditional union before 18 compared to their urban counterparts (Girls Not Brides, 2016b). Many poor families view girls as a financial burden, prompting them to marry their daughters off at an early age. In these situations, parents argue that they cannot afford to provide for the girl child financially and marriage

Whatever the causes of child marriages, it cannot be disputed that the practice is a violation of human rights. Child marriages often rob girls of their rights to safety and security, health, education and the right to make their own choices and decisions for their lives. The practice also comes with very high economic costs to the individual, community and the nation at large. The impact of child marriages on the psychosocial and physiological development of the girl child, and indeed the development countries, should not be underestimated.

is an effective way to attain financial security for the household as the husband will support his wife and their children. In many other cases, young girls are considered assets to be used for financial gain through practices such as lobola (bride price) and other similar traditions where, for example, the girl child is married off as a form of debt repayment.


Weak legal systems, though not necessarily a cause of child marriages, certainly contribute to the prevalence of the practice. Most countries in Africa are signatories to the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWCA). Although these two instruments do not directly discuss eradicating child marriages, they are hinged on child protection and the enhancement of child rights. In addition to international treaties, most countries in Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, have developed a number of laws and policies to protect women and girls’ rights. However, effective implementation of the laws is the greatest challenge. Laws and policies have not been popularised, and duty bearers are unable to implement them. Communities are not aware of the laws that protect women and girls and, therefore, they are unable to demand their rights. In some cases, the various laws and policies aimed at ending child marriages are inconsistent and do not speak to each other, thereby creating room for abuse. For instance, even though Malawi passed the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill, which stipulates 18 as the minimum age for marriage, Section 22(7) of the country’s Constitution still allows persons between the age of 15 and 18 years to marry, as long as they have the consent of their parents or guardians (Human Rights Watch, 2015).

Consequences and economic costs Whatever the causes of child marriages, it cannot be disputed that the practice is a violation of human rights. Child marriages often rob girls of their rights to safety and security, health, education and the right to make their own choices and decisions for their lives. The practice also comes with very high economic costs to the individual, community and the nation at large. The impact of child marriages on the psychosocial and physiological development of the girl child, and indeed the development countries, should not be underestimated. The practice has detrimental health consequences including maternal mortality, infant mortality and high HIV prevalence rates, all of which present significant social and economic costs at the individual and national levels. Research shows “countries in which girls are commonly married before the age of 18 have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality” (US San Diego Health, 2013). Child marriages often lead to teen pregnancies and early childbearing. In developing countries, 90 percent of births to adolescent mothers occur within marriage. The proportion is close to 100 percent in Northern Africa and between 70 and 80 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa (Mangiaterra, Pendse, McClure & Rosen, 2008 p. 2). According to the WHO (2014), pregnancy and childbirth complications are the second cause of death among 15-to19-year-olds globally. As girls’ bodies are not fully developed to handle childbirth, there is a high risk of infant mortality, maternal mortality and obstetric complications. For example, in Mali, the rate of maternal mortality for girls between 15 and 19 is 178 per 100 000 live births, and for women aged 20 to 34, only 32 per 100 000 (Nawal, 2006). Overall, TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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girls between the ages of 10 and 14 years are five to seven times more likely to die in childbirth compared to women aged 20 to 24 (ibid). Child marriages become an especially risky and costly endeavour as a result of HIV. Various HIV experts indicate that 15 to 24 years of age is a very dangerous time for young women across the globe as prevalence and new infection rates are high for this age group (UN Women, 2016; UNAIDS, 2016). Data from studies within eastern and southern Africa reveals that in southern Africa girls aged between 15 and 19 years accounted for 90 percent of all new HIV infections among 10-to-19-yearolds, and more than 74 percent in eastern Africa (UNAIDS, 2016). According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (in Too Young to Wed, 2012), child marriage has fuelled the rise in HIV infection among girls and young women in southern Africa to the extent that they recommend reducing the numbers of child marriages as an essential strategy in attaining targets for reducing the rate of HIV infection among young people (International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), 2007, p. 15). “Child brides are 50 times more susceptible to HIV infection for a variety of reasons, including their age and physical maturity, their limited power to negotiate safe sex and their potential exposure to intimate partner violence” (van Oranje, 2016, in Mpulo, 2016). Child brides do not have the bargaining power to refuse sex or negotiate for safe sexual practices. They are also often married to older men who have more sexual experience and multiple sexual partners, increasing the girl’s risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (ICRW, 2012). The economic costs of HIV to the individual, household and states cannot be underestimated. At household level, HIV/AIDS increases expenditure. For example, researchers in Africa established that households in Cote d’Ivoire with an HIV patient spend two times as much on medical expenses compared to other households (Stover & Bollinger, 1999, p. 4). HIV/AIDS costs extend to government investment into the healthcare sector as states in Africa and across the globe channel millions into HIV response. In most countries, the health sector budget is HIV heavy in the sense that a considerable percentage of the budget is channelled towards HIV treatment and management which is often more expensive than treatment for other conditions. Child marriages also have a costly and detrimental effect on girls’ education. Every person has a right to education and it is the foundation on which future employment prospects are built. However, this is a right not enjoyed by many child brides. In most cases, a child marriage leads to an abrupt end in the girl’s education. Statistics indicate that 60 percent of child brides in developing regions have no formal education (Girls Not Brides, 2014). In Nigeria, child marriages account for 15 to 20 percent of drop-outs for girls in secondary school (Girls Not Brides, 2014). Child marriage reduces literacy and educational attainment for girls, resulting in high levels of unemployment. Uneducated girls who are fortunate enough to find jobs earn less than their educated peers. A lack of education also results in reduced labour force participation (Woodon et al., 2015) which has detrimental effects on individual productivity, household finances and overall economic




growth. Therefore, child brides are more likely to live in poverty, and are usually financially dependent on their spouses who are often abusive (Human Rights Watch, 2015). These young girls and women do not have the education, skills and economic opportunities for sustainable livelihoods. Although child marriage is seen as a way to escape the cycle of poverty, evidence from developing countries reveals that “the practice of child marriage perpetuates the intergenerational cycle of poverty and acts as a break on development” (UNICEF Uganda, 2015, p. 13). By curtailing education, increasing pregnancies and limiting opportunities for employment, child marriage contributes to poverty at the household, community and national levels (UNICEF Uganda, 2015).

Implications for Agenda 2030 The link between child marriages and other developmental areas, such as health, education, and women’s empowerment, is a clear indication of the urgent need for global investments aimed at ending child marriage. Eradicating child marriages is a crucial goal towards triggering transformative developmental changes in other areas. The inclusion of “eradicating child marriages” as a target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a commendable step towards breaking the poverty cycle, improving health outcomes, improving gender inequities, and it is crucial to the achievement of Agenda 2030. If international commitments to ending child marriage do not translate into action, and the practice continues, up to 280 million girls alive today are at risk of becoming brides before they turn 18, the total number of women married in childhood will grow from more than 700 million today to approximately 950 million by 2030” (UNICEF, 2013, p. 6). The number of girls under the age of 18 and married each year will grow from the current figure of 15 million to 16.5 million in 2030 (ibid). An increase in child marriages would have negative implications and derail progress on Agenda 2030. An increase in child marriage will ultimately render the achievement of a number of SDGs, including SDG 4 (inclusive and equitable quality education), an impossible task.

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THE ECONOMIC COSTS of not educating women and girls: Child, early and forced marriage

How can states achieve inclusive and equitable education for all when girls continue to drop out of school and countries continue to witness a gradual increase in disparities between education for boys and girls? Considering there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls, and that girls’ education is likely the single highest return investment one can make in the developing world (Summers, 1992, in Murphy, Belmonte & Nelson, 2009), failure to meet SDG 4 will likely have a negative multiplier effect on the achievement of other sustainable development goals including SDG 1 (eradicate poverty), SDG 3 (health and well-being for all), SDG 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls) and SDG 8 (economic growth and employment). For instance, SDG 5 on gender equality will be difficult to achieve without improvements in girls’ education because schooling increases the chances of independence, especially for girls, and “Girls who are educated are less likely to be exploited, less likely to fall victim to trafficking and less likely to be infected with HIV” (Plan International, 2008, p. 4). Therefore, without improving the levels of education for women and girls, it will be difficult for countries to ensure their full and effective participation, and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life (SDG 5). Women will not develop the skills required for decent work or decision-making positions. The wage gap between men and women may also increase as women will continue to be in vulnerable employment which is poorly regulated and offers “limited social protection due to differences in education and the mismatch between women’s skills and those demanded by the labour market” (UNDP, 2016, p. 4). Girls’ education is linked to economic growth and child marriage, and increases in the population of uneducated girls will likely prevent progress on SDG 1 and 8.

in Africa will most likely fail to meet the target of 70 maternal deaths per 100 000 births (SDG 3 target on maternal health) (UN-DESA, 2015). The more girls marrying at such a young age, the greater the increase in infant mortalities will be. Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) found that the risk of neonatal and under-five mortality increases substantially when the child is born to a mother under 18 years of age (Woodon et al., 2015).

Conclusion Achieving the SDGs has been recognised as an uphill task. However, it is a challenge that countries and stakeholders have committed to undertake, and is worth expending all efforts and resources in pursuit of it. Given the global and national resource limitations on the implementation of the SDGs, it is imperative that countries and stakeholders develop strategies that invest in and prioritise interventions for SDG areas that are likely to have a multiplier effect and the potential to trigger transformative changes in other developmental areas. Ending child marriage and educating girls will help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Educated girls stand a better chance of competing in the job market and contributing to national and global economic development. Empowered and educated girls are also better able to nourish and care for their children, leading to healthier, smaller families and improved overall health outcomes, especially in key areas such as maternal and infant health. Eradicating child marriage and creating interventions in the area of girls’ education should be considered as key priority areas for strategic investment. Investments in these two key areas will trigger significant progress in the other SDGs, including SDG 1, 3, 5 and 8.

REFERENCES Ending child marriage and educating girls will help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Educated girls stand a better chance of competing in the job market and contributing to national and global economic development. Empowered and educated girls are also better able to nourish and care for their children, leading to healthier, smaller families and improved overall health outcomes, especially in key areas such as maternal and infant health.

If girls on the continent continue to drop out of school, as well as marry at such a young age, achieving the goals for good health and wellbeing, as set out in Agenda 2030, will be a difficult endeavour. Maternal health improvement will continue at the slow pace experienced during the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and countries


1. Girls Not Brides (2016a) Child marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa. (accessed 10 November 2016). 2. Girls Not Brides (2016b) Child Marriages in Benin. www. (accessed 10 November 2016). 3. Girls Not Brides (2014) Child marriage and education in Africa. Child-marriage-and-Education-in-Africa-Brief-by-Girls-Not-Bridesfor-DAC-2014.pdf (accessed 8 November 2016) 4. Human Rights Watch (2015) Malawi: New marriage law can change lives. HRW News, 17 April. news/2015/04/17/malawi-new-marriage-law-can-change-lives (accessed 31 January 2017). 5. IPPF (2007) Ending child marriage: A guide for global policy action. IPPF, London. ending_child_marriage.pdf TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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6. Mangiaterra V, Pendse R, McClure K & Rosen J (2008) Adolescent Pregnancy. MPS Notes, 1(1). adolescent/documents/mpsnnotes_2_lr.pdf 7. (accessed 31 January 2017). 8. Mpulo N (2015) Child brides more susceptible by far to HIV. IOL Special Features, 20 July. (accessed 12 November 2016). 9. Murphy S, Belmonte W & Nelson J (2009) Investing in girls’ education: An opportunity for corporate leadership. CSR Initiative. Harvard Kennedy School, September. https://www.hks.harvard. edu/m-rcbg/CSRI/publications/report_40_investing_in_girls.pdf (accessed 31 October 2016). 10. Nawal MN (2006) Health consequences of child marriage in Africa. Emerging Infections Disease, 12(11): 1644–1649. 11. Plan International (2008) Paying the price: The economic cost of failing to educate girls. Children in focus. https://www.planusa. org/docs/PayingthePrice.pdf (accessed 10 February 2017). 12. Stover J & Bollinger L (1999) The economic impact of HIV and AIDS. Policy Project. March. seimpact/seimpact_africa.pdf (accessed 31 January 2017). 13. Too Young to Wed (2012) Ending child marriage can stem the spread of HIV/AIDS. 2Y2W Blog, 30 November. 14. (accessed 12 November 2016). 15. UNAIDS (2016) UNAIDS announces 18.2 million people on antiretroviral therapy, but warns that 15–24 years of age is a highly dangerous time for young women. Press Release, 21 November. pressreleaseandstatementarchive/2016/november/20161121_ PR_get-on-the-fast-track (accessed 10 February 2017).

16. UN-DESA (2015) Sustainable Development Goal 3. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. https:// (accessed 10 February 2017). 17. UNDP (2016) Africa human development report, Accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa. UNDP, New York. docs/sa_AfHDR_2016_lowres_EN.pdf (accessed 10 February 2017). 18. UNICEF (2013), Ending child marriage, progress and prospects report. UNICEF, Paris. Marriage_Report_7_17_LRpdf (accessed 10 November 2017). 19. UNICEF Uganda (2015) The National Strategy to End Child Marriage 2014/2015 – 2019/2020. Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Uganda and UNICEF. 20. UN Women (2016) Facts and Figures: HIV and AIDS. Prevalence and new infections. hiv-and-aids/facts-and-figures (accessed 10 February 2017). 21. US Sandiego Health (2013) Higher Child Marriage Rates Associated with Higher Maternal and Infant Mortality. https:// (accessed 31 January 2017). 22. WHO (2014) Adolescent pregnancy fact sheet. WHO Media Centre. (accessed 31 January 2017). 23. Woodon Q, Petroni S, Thompson L, Male C, Onagoruwa A, Savadogo A, Edmeades J, Kes A & Neetu J (2015) Child marriage and the 2030 Agenda: Selected findings from early research. (accessed 8 November 2016).

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PREGNANT OR NOT, EVERY GIRL COUNTS: Weighing the cost of teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone Katharina Wuppinger

Katharina Wuppinger is an Education Specialist at UNICEF Sierra Leone. She is supported by the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in the implementation of a bridging education programme for pregnant and lactating school girls, as part of the six-to-nine-month recovery phase after the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Katharina also contributed to the design of the follow-on project, Girls’ Access to Education (GATE), which was rolled-out in September 2016 and focuses on keeping adolescent girls in secondary schools.

“Basic education begins to unlock potential, but it is secondary education that provides the wings that allow girls to fly” (Ziauddin Yousafzai).

Synopsis Sierra Leone is among the top ten countries with the highest number of adolescent pregnancies globally (United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2013, p. 4). The recent Ebola crisis has exacerbated the already existing inequalities and vulnerabilities of girls. This appears to have resulted in a further increase in teenage pregnancies during the months when schools were closed (Denney, Gordan & Ibrahim, 2015, p. 11). When adolescent girls become pregnant, they are exposed to multiple vulnerabilities, and their health, education, earning potential and entire future are at risk. This is often passed down to their children, who start life at a disadvantage, perpetuating an intergenerational poverty cycle (UNFPA, 2013, p. 18). The costs of early pregnancy and childbirth take a heavy toll on the girls’ families, communities, economy and the development of the country. With these bleak prospects, the chances of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for women and girls in Sierra Leone are poor. Continued education of girls – pregnant or not – is key to reversing the downward spiral to poverty. Being a mother at the age of 15 was not something young Aminata had envisaged. She was about to complete junior secondary school when Ebola hit the country, and all schools were closed. Just two days before they reopened, Aminata discovered her pregnancy. At this point, her education came to a temporary halt. Having to leave school, her chances of returning and completing her basic education were slim. This is the story of many Sierra Leonean girls besides Aminata. In a country where four out of 10 young women aged 20 to 24 have already given birth before the age of 18 (UNFPA, 2013, p. 4), the chances of meeting the SDGs in relation to women and girls are bleak. Whichever way you look at this problem, education is the answer. Education is a fundamental human right for boys and girls alike. This vision set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and agreed to by the world’s nations over 65 years ago, has been


continuously reinforced over the decades through numerous policies, such as the 1990 Education For All Goals, the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the 2000 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the recently adopted SDGs. Girls’ education has been recognised as a global priority, and governments, international and non-government organisations, as well as other education development partners, have championed the cause for girls because, above all, they are individuals with undisputable human rights (rights that are too often violated), and also because their well-being matters for societies. “Investing in girls is the right and smart thing to do” (UNICEF, 2013). If a girl has access to quality education and stays in school long enough to gain valuable skills, she will earn more income that can be invested in her family and community (ibid). She will have fewer but healthier children and be able to send them to school (Camfed, 2016). Leaving school should not be an acceptable option as it only leads to poverty. To Aminata, we can add millions more girls in Africa and the story is the same: a vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty. In spite of this picture, there is hope. Over the past two decades, significant progress has been made in enrolling girls at primary schools. The number of girls in low-income countries has risen from 23.6 million in 1990 to nearly 63 million in 2012 (Winthrop & McGivney, 2014, p. 1). This has resulted in an increase in the girl-to-boy ratio from 82 to 95 girls per 100 boys (ibid). But, this is only at the primary school level. The story is different at secondary school level. Only a few countries have realised this target at the secondary school level. Thirty-four million girls are missing out on lower secondary education, and millions more are not attending higher secondary schooling (Winthrop & McGivney, 2014). Adolescent girls are often under pressure to leave school due to various reasons including early pregnancy and marriage, school violence, domestic responsibilities, poverty and/or their education not being prioritised by their families and communities (Plan International, 2012). The renewed commitment to the SDGs is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done. The goals aim to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all (including secondary education), as well as ensuring gender equality and empowerment of all girls and women by 2030. Achieving inclusive and quality primary TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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and secondary education for girls reiterates the acceptance that girls’ education is one of the most powerful and consistently proven tools for sustainable development.

Left behind: The situation of pregnant adolescent school girls in Sierra Leone in 2014/15 Aminata’s story is just one among the seven percent of girls who have given birth before the age of 15. Further to this, more than 38 percent of women aged between 20 and 24 years have given birth before the age of 18 (Statistics Sierra Leone and UNICEF Sierra Leone, 2011, p. 73). Typically, more girls from rural areas and from poor households have started childbearing at a young age (Statistics Sierra Leone and UNICEF Sierra Leone, 2011, p. 72). The Ebola crisis that hit Sierra Leone in 2014 left behind many more girls like Aminata. Although adolescent pregnancy rates in Sierra Leone were always high, it is likely that Sierra Leone experienced an increase in teenage pregnancies during the recent Ebola outbreak (Denney, Gordan & Ibrahim, 2015, p. 11). A rapid assessment conducted in 2015 showed that 18 160 adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 (out of which 80 percent were school going at some point before their pregnancy) became pregnant during the Ebola outbreak (UNFPA, 2016, pp 13, 18). Not only is Sierra Leone one of the worst countries in which to be a mother, it is more tragic for an adolescent girl. Besides the pregnancy, there is the shame, blame and judgement by society, community, parents, teachers, peers, and government. Sylvester Meheux, Chairman of the Council of Principals in Sierra Leone, stated that a pregnant girl needs to be “counselled because of her lack of personal control”, while the Minister of Education, Science and Technology said they “would serve as a negative influence to other innocent girls” (Amnesty International, 2015, p. 15). Objections have been raised to these views. The question of how these young girls became pregnant in the first place was not considered or investigated. They were immediately found guilty of being “immoral” for merely appearing to be pregnant, excluded from school, and thereby sentenced to life-long poverty and social exclusion (Amnesty International, 2015). And, so were their children. However, the fact that young girls seldom become pregnant by choice must not be ignored. In Sierra Leone, eight out of 10 pregnant adolescent girls or mothers did not want to become pregnant at the time it happened, a fact published by the same government which chose to exclude these young girls from school (Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, 2016, p. 15). Pregnancy among adolescent girls is often a consequence of other rights’ violations including coercion and/or sexual violence and rape, a lack of information related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, limited access to contraceptives and family planning methods, and the widespread acceptance of child marriages. The Ebola crisis exacerbated the already existing

inequalities and vulnerabilities of girls to violence including sexual assault (Denney, Gordan & Ibrahim, 2015, p. 11). The closure of all schools for nine months, due to the Ebola emergency, may also have resulted in an increase in early and forced marriages and teenage pregnancies, all of which have life-long consequences for girls. All the while their vulnerabilities to poverty, exclusion and dependency multiplied. Compounding the already difficult situation for pregnant adolescent girls, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education, Science and Technology published a policy statement in April 2015, just before schools re-opened, outlining the government’s position on pregnant school girls (Amnesty International, 2015). The statement formally indicated that “visibly pregnant” girls would not be allowed in mainstream schools nor would they be allowed to take public exams (Amnesty International, 2015, p. 23). Although the exclusion of pregnant girls from mainstream education pre-dates the outbreak of Ebola, the official declaration of the ban when schools re-opened sparked renewed debate and concern about this violation of girls’ rights in the country. The government’s decision was criticised by the international community, and described as flawed and based on “discriminatory and stigmatising attitudes and beliefs” (Amnesty International, 2015, p. 17).

Adolescent pregnancy and the impact on SDGs Adolescent girls are exposed to multiple vulnerabilities when they become pregnant, and their circumstances and future prospects change radically – rarely for the better. The high rate of adolescent pregnancy in Sierra Leone is closely linked to poverty. When a young girl like Aminata becomes pregnant, her entire future may be at risk and her health, and education and economic potential impacted negatively. Often these negative impacts are passed down to the next generation, and these children are condemned to start life at a disadvantage, perpetuating an intergenerational cycle of poverty (UNFPA, 2013, p. 18). The younger a girl is at her first pregnancy, the higher the health risks are for her, including maternal death. Four out of 10 women in Sierra Leone die as a result of their adolescent pregnancy (Government of Sierra Leone, 2013, p. 5). Girls who start giving birth early will most likely have more children and at shorter intervals during their lifetime (Loaiza & Liang, 2013, p. 4). Stillbirths and deaths in the first week of life are 50 percent higher among babies of adolescent mothers than among babies of mothers in their 20s (UNFPA, 2013, p. 22). The exposure to older, more sexually experienced men (for example, due to child marriage or transactional sex) puts girls at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections including HIV (UNICEF, 2008, p. 5). Girls often lack relevant and correct information on sexual and reproductive health, and access to family planning that would allow them to make healthy decisions (UNFPA, 2016, p. 6). Furthermore, the limited knowledge of adolescent girls pertaining to the nutritional requirements of children and adequate care practices has a negative impact on the child’s health status and early development (UNFPA, 2016, p. 6).

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PREGNANT OR NOT, EVERY GIRL COUNTS: Weighing the cost of teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone

The early pregnancy of young girls is ranked as the third most common reason for their dropping out of school, mostly at secondary school level (UNICEF, 2008, p. 5). When a school girl becomes pregnant in Sierra Leone, her formal education comes to a halt, firstly, because the government expels visibly pregnant girls from mainstream schools and prevents them from taking public exams, and, secondly, due to her difficult personal circumstances (UNFPA, 2013, p. 26). Girls like Aminata, who became pregnant during the Ebola crisis, have not only missed a significant portion of their education as a result of the nine-month school closure but are further losing out due to the current ban on pregnant girls attending school. The longer a girl is out of school, the less likely she is to return as the opportunity costs increase (UNFPA, 2013, p. 26).

Developments in 2016 bring hope to young mothers and pregnant adolescents Aminata and those like her are being helped, however. In order to minimise the risks of permanently dropping out of school, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology decided to provide a bridging education programme for pregnant and lactating girls while they are not allowed in school settings (Mason, 2016). Out of the 14 500 girls who attended the bridging education programme from October 2015 to August 2016, approximately 58 percent were able to return to mainstream education (ORB International, 2016, p. 27). But, even where girls are allowed and indeed manage to return, they struggle to pay school fees and find caregivers for their children while in school. Aminata was lucky; she was able to resume schooling in September 2016. If Aminata had dropped out of school permanently, she would have found it even more difficult to secure gainful employment due to the low level of educational attainment and, as a consequence, the limited opportunities and choices for girls. Their lower socio-economic status is as a result of a deeply patriarchal society in combination with limited access to services, including schooling, which means that these girls are unable to escape poverty (Plan UK, 2012, p. 7). “Their lack of education is both a cause and a consequence of poverty” (ibid). Most of these inequalities are deeply rooted. Social and gender norms define women largely in terms of marriage, childbearing and the domestic role. Girls are expected to learn domestic skills and undertake household chores at early ages, often to the detriment of their education. Child marriage reinforces these social and gender norms (Levine, Lloyd, Greene & Grown, 2009, p. 48). The prevalence of teenage pregnancy in the country has a direct and profoundly negative impact on national development as well as on the delivery of the SDGs. It undermines the previous investments made in girls’ education in Sierra Leone, which is exacerbated by mainstream schools having to abandon pregnant adolescent girls based on moral grounds at the most critical stage of their education when the return on investment is the highest. The Government of Sierra Leone has since


relented on the issue to an extent due to pressure from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and various other human rights and civil society organisations (Amnesty International, 2016). Nevertheless, it is now even more critical to continue investing in pregnant adolescent girls, prevent them from permanently dropping out of school, and ensuring they complete their secondary education. Even though this means increased costs for governments at this point in time, in the long run, this investment will not only benefit the girls themselves and their children but also the nation and society as a whole by breaking the generation-to-generation transmission of poverty.

Education transforms lives Investing in the education of adolescent girls is one of the most effective ways to end the cycle of poverty of current and future generations. Girls who remain in school longer are less likely to get married and become pregnant at a young age (UNFPA, 2013, p. 25). Even if young girls have already given birth, with the continuation of their education and improved knowledge about sexual and reproductive health as well as family planning methods, the birth intervals can be delayed and fertility as well as maternal mortality reduced. Secondary education is acknowledged as “the most universal and strongest correlate of having relatively few children” (Levine et al., 2009, p. 19). Furthermore, the continuation of a young mother’s education has a positive influence on the overall health of her child as well as her own health status (Levine et al., 2009, p. 20). The returns on education investment are, on average, higher for girls than for boys, and these returns are particularly evident for secondary schooling (Levine et al., 2009, p. 18). Girls who are able to attend secondary or higher education are in a better position to participate in the labour force, take advantage of economic opportunities and increase their financial income, which can be invested in their households. “Providing girls one extra year of education beyond the average boosts their eventual wages by 10-20 percent, for boys, the returns are 5-15 percent” (Levine et al., 2009, p. 19). Educated mothers who are able to generate their own income are more likely to send their children to school and guarantee equal opportunities for girls to access education. However, access to education alone is not enough to reap these benefits. It is important to eliminate gender inequalities in education and provide girls – whether pregnant or not – with a quality education that equips them with the necessary life skills, self-esteem and confidence. Equally, schools need to ensure girls feel safe, respected and empowered to stay in school and complete their education (Levine et al., 2009, p. 3). Education is one of the most effective interventions to raise girls and women’s status in their families, communities and societies at large, and gives them more say in decisions that affect their lives and demand their rights. Educating girls and young women fosters their active engagement and participation in all aspects of public life, leading to better TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

governance and social stability (Levine et al., 2009, p. 17). However, these structural barriers to gender equality cannot be addressed by girls’ access to education alone. Transformative approaches and strategies combined at various levels are needed to tackle discrimination and power relations between males and females in schools and society in Sierra Leone.

The imperative of investing in pregnant adolescent girls The right to education is inalienable. Pregnant adolescent school girls are no exception. The cost for the nation of leaving them to their fate is too high to be disregarded. On the contrary, this is the time when Aminata and other girls need more support than ever before to reverse the downward spiral of poverty. A number of steps need to be taken in light of this, including protecting the rights of pregnant adolescent girls. Aminata matters because she is a human being with equal rights that need to be respected, protected and fulfilled by government as agreed upon in existing human rights treaties including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Discrimination against adolescent girls in legal and policy frameworks at the national or local level, such as the ban on visibly pregnant girls being in schools, should be systematically identified and eliminated (Levine et al., 2009, pp 3-4). The Government of Sierra Leone has a clear obligation to ensure that “no girl is discriminated against on the basis of her pregnancy status” (Amnesty International, 2015, p. 6) and that existing laws that protect girls and young women are enforced. Families and communities should be held accountable for the fulfilment and protection of girls’ rights (Levine et al., 2009, p. 4). It is also imperative to stop discriminating against girls like Aminata by making them solely responsible for their pregnancy. Such an approach is misguided because adolescent pregnancy is related to societal and cultural factors that are beyond girls’ control and which work against them. It also ignores the equal responsibility of men and boys and their role in adolescent pregnancy (Denney, Gordon, Kamara & Lebby, 2016, p. vii). Instead of seeing the girls as the problem, governments, communities and families need to accept that the root of the problem lies in extreme poverty, existing gender inequalities and discrimination against girls, power imbalances as well as limited options for girls and young women (UNFPA, 2013, p. ii). Secondly, there is a need to invest in the prevention of adolescent pregnancy. Prioritising the prevention of adolescent pregnancy and motherhood can accelerate the fight against poverty, inequity and gender discrimination. The most effective way to consolidate the gains – such as the reduction in the under-five mortality rate, and the elimination of gender gaps in primary school enrolment, among others – achieved since the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone is by investing in adolescent girls (UNICEF, 2011, p. 3). Because of its complexity and the


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diverse underlying societal and cultural pressures, multidimensional strategies are needed to address and prevent adolescent pregnancy effectively and empower girls. These strategies need to be tailored towards the most marginalised and vulnerable girls (UNFPA, 2013, p. viii). Although the prevention of unwanted adolescent pregnancies is important, the care and social support of pregnant adolescents and their children should be given the same level of priority (WHO and UNFPA, 2006, p. 4). Thirdly, there is a need to invest in the continuous education of pregnant adolescent girls and young mothers. Education is the most powerful tool to lift a nation and its future generations out of poverty. The return on investment is highest when investing in girls’ education, particularly when girls complete secondary education (Levine et al., 2009, p. 18), which has a direct impact on the successful delivery of the SDGs. Disrupting the education of Aminata and thousands of other pregnant girls in Sierra Leone, or putting them at risk of never returning to school, has tremendous negative consequences for girls, their families, communities and societies at large. It undermines the previous investments made by the government and the international community in girls’ education. Adolescent pregnancy should be prevented. But, if a girl becomes pregnant at an early age, it does not have to be the end of her education and chances at a better life. With adequate support from government and her own family, she can continue her education while supporting her child and fulfilling her human potential.

Conclusion The fight against poverty, inequality and gender discrimination, and the delivery of the SDGs will only be effective with a stronger focus on adolescent girls, including pregnant girls and young mothers. Educating girls and supporting them to complete secondary education is a necessary investment for a peaceful world without poverty. Until girls are given equal access to good quality education, pregnant school girls

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PREGNANT OR NOT, EVERY GIRL COUNTS: Weighing the cost of teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone

are allowed to stay in school as long as they feel comfortable doing so, and are supported to resume schooling after childbirth, nations will continue to suffer from child and maternal mortality, disease and other by-products of poverty, and compromise their potential for national development. As governments have just adopted the SDGs, world leaders must remember this simple truth: education transforms lives and the education of every single adolescent girl in Sierra Leone – pregnant or not – counts in the fight against poverty.

REFERENCES 1. Amnesty International (2016) Sierra Leone: Continued pregnancy ban in schools and failure to protect rights is threatening teenage girls’ futures. news/2016/11/ sierra-leone-continued-pregnancy-ban-in-schools-and-failure-toprotect-rights-is-threatening-teenage-girls-futures (accessed 8 January 2017). 2. Amnesty International (2015) Shamed and blamed: Pregnant girls’ rights at risk in Sierra Leone. Amnesty International Publications, International Secretariat, London. https://www. afr51%2F2695%2F2015&language=en (accessed 8 January 2016). 3. Camfed (2016) Everybody wins when girls can stay in school. (accessed 14 January 2017). 4. Denney L, Gordon R, Kamara A, & Lebby P (2016) Change the context not the girls: Improving efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone. Report 11. Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, London. 5. Denney L, Gordon R & Ibrahim A (2015) Teenage pregnancy after Ebola in Sierra Leone: Mapping resources, gaps and ongoing challenges. Working paper 39. Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, London. 6. Government of Sierra Leone (2013) Let girls be girls, not mothers! National strategy for the reduction of teenage pregnancy (20132015). sites/default/ files/resources/Sierra_Leone_National_Strategy_for_the_ Reduction_of_Teenage_Pregnancy.pdf (accessed 8 January 2017). 7. Levine R, Lloyd CB, Greene M & Grown C (2009) Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda. Second edition. The Centre for Global Development: Washington DC.


8. Loaiza E & Liang M (2013) Adolescent pregnancy: A review of the evidence. UNFPA, New York. default/files/pub-pdf/ADOLESCENT%20PREGNANCY_UNFPA.pdf (accessed 14 January 2017). 9. Mason H (2016) A second chance at schooling for pregnant teenagers in Ebola-affected Sierra Leone. UNICEF. https://www. (accessed 8 January 2017). 10. ORB International (2016) Evaluation of services to pregnant schoolgirls in Sierra Leone. Unpublished draft report. 11. Plan International (2012) Because I am a girl. State of the world’s girls 2012. (accessed 14 January 2017). 12. Plan UK (2012) The girls’ education challenge. https:// download?token=xie7hqHF (accessed 14 January 2017). 13. Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation (2016) Teenage pregnancy in Sierra Leone. Assessment and programme recommendations. Unpublished draft report. 14. Statistics Sierra Leone and UNICEF Sierra Leone (2011) Sierra Leone multiple indicator cluster survey 2010. Final report. Statistics Sierra Leone and UNICEF Sierra Leone, Freetown. 15. UNFPA (2016) A Rapid Assessment of Pregnant Adolescent Girls in Sierra Leone. Unpublished report. 16. UNFPA (2013) The State of World Population 2013. Motherhood in childhood: Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy. UNFPA: New York. 17. UNICEF (2013) Investing in girls is the right and smart thing to do. Infographic. Every Woman Every Child, Global Education First Initiative, UNICEF. html (accessed 14 January 2017). 18. UNICEF (2011) The State of the World’s Children 2011. Adolescence: An age of opportunity. UNICEF: New York. 19. UNICEF (2008) The Out-of-School Children of Sierra Leone. UNICEF: Freetown. 20. WHO and UNFPA (2006) Pregnant Adolescents. Delivering on Global Promises of Hope. WHO: Geneva. 21. Winthrop R & McGivney E (2014) Raising the Global Ambition for Girls’ Education. Brookings policy paper 2014-05, December. The Brookings Institution, Washington DC. https://www.brookings. edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Winthrop-NextGenGirls-v3.pdf (accessed 14 January 2017).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

EDUCATION FOR ALL: Reaching vulnerable children through non-formal education programmes in Zimbabwe Patience Ndlovu

Patience Ndlovu is a seasoned Development Specialist with more than 20 years’ experience leading programmes in rural and urban areas of Zimbabwe. She is currently working on her PhD and she leads the WEIBantwana Initiative programme in Zimbabwe. A natural relationship builder and talented strategic thinker, Patience’s policy development experience and excellent networking skills with development partners and government at all levels has been instrumental in the development and scaling up of non-formal education (NFE) as well as other integrated service delivery models targeting highly vulnerable children, adolescent girls and young women.

Background The world’s academic and policy communities have set clear and aspirational goals for the attainment of Education For All (EFA), guided by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Significant barriers to education still remain for vulnerable children. Research has proven that education can alter the course of people’s lives, it can be seen as the key to future success for their countries, and the African continent as a whole (DfID, 2005; Schultz, 2002; Waller, 2016). Translating these aspirations into reality for the most vulnerable children on the continent is critical. This article discusses a model from Zimbabwe that has proven to work in practice.

The problem and the opportunities Across sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 30 million children of school-going age do not attend school (UNESCO, 2015). Poverty and many related driving forces lead to dropouts. Teen pregnancy and early marriage are major impediments, forcing young girls out of the formal school system. The literature also shows that discriminatory behaviour towards girls and the resultant “unfriendly” school experience (as described by Portia Tshegofatso Loeto elsewhere in this issue) sets the stage for dropping out (Erulkar, 2001; Mensch, Clark, Lloyd & Erulkar, 2001; Chisamya, DeJaeghere, Kendall & Khan, 2012; Lucas, 2012; Emirie, Chalchisa & Berhanu, 2008). For boys and girls, access to school is often obstructed by the cost burdens involved and the need to seek out livelihood opportunities. The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set the bar high, challenging governments across Africa to address the barriers that keep millions of children from attending school and achieving their greater potential. In response to the call, some governments are making efforts to bridge the gap and bring real and often innovative solutions to under-resourced environments (WEI/Bantwana & UNICEF, 2015). Education in such contexts can yield an excellent return on investment. Governments, businesses and civil society organisations are collaborating to leverage talent and resources to reach marginalised

populations. While there is early promise in small-scale solutions towards the achievement of SDG 4 on inclusive education, lasting impact is dependent on the development, testing and scaling up of innovative models carried out within mandated structures of education ministries across the continent. Early success is being seen in Zimbabwe. The Bantwana Initiative by World Education Inc. (known as WEI/Bantwana) has been collaborating intensively with the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) since 2009 to address the education divide. The National Assessment of Out-ofSchool Children showed that 832 000 children aged 13 to 18 in Zimbabwe were out of school in 2014 (Manjengwa, 2015). Programming platforms were created to increase access to non-traditional modes of primary and secondary school education. In recognition of the many thousands of children and young people in need of proper schooling, an alternative education pathway is required. WEI/Bantwana and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) developed and scaled up programmes to provide alternative access to quality education through the resuscitation and integration of non-formal education (NFE) pathways. NFE pathways are attractive to adolescent women and girls, youths with disabilities, and other children who, due to their circumstances, cannot benefit from or access mainstream educational services. WEI/Bantwana efforts have strengthened the GOZ’s NFE systems and helped thousands of young people access education opportunities, providing them with a viable route out of poverty and into a brighter, more secure future. Encouragingly, programme data for 2016 shows that the majority of learners enrolling in these programmes are girls and women (WEI/Bantwana & OSISA, 2016). Using the NFE Part-Time and Continuing Education (PTCE) model (MoPSE, 2016) as a case study, this paper profiles an inclusive education model that is both scalable and well-aligned to SDG 4. While it primarily focuses on education, this model addresses other issues such as gender, employment, health, adding value and contributing to the achievement of other SDGs.

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EDUCATION FOR ALL: Reaching vulnerable children through non-formal education programmes in Zimbabwe

Designing an effective inclusive education programme with limited resources: Some guiding principles For over a decade, Zimbabwe’s economy has faced serious challenges limiting the government’s capacity to finance education and pushing households deeper into poverty (Manjengwa, 2015). Recognising this profound need within the limited resource setting, WEI/Bantwana (2009a, 2009b) developed an NFE programme with a core set of principles. These principles offer guidance for providing critical access to education for out-of-school children – very often women and girls – in resource-constrained settings. These may fairly be identified as transformative education opportunities for a lost generation of young people falling through the cracks. The WEI/Bantwana NFE programme principles are elaborated on in a discussion of reports by Mamba (2016), and WEI/Bantwana and UNICEF’s (2015, pp 2-4) on the programme. 1. Capitalising on existing materials, infrastructure and human resources. Where possible, the NFE programme is implemented at formal primary and secondary schools that are already part of the national education system, and the programme is delivered by existing, trained teachers using the NFE curriculum. Where these existing resources do not exist, alternative community structures, such as community centres, churches and libraries can be used as well as trained community volunteers and evidence-based non-formal curricula. 2. Linking to the formal school system for integration and visibility. Fostering links with the formal school system helps ensure that learners are registered, monitored and assisted, that learners receive quality education, and are supported broadly by the education system. The NFE classes enable learners to sit for the same national examinations as learners in formal schooling and to move seamlessly into the formal school system when possible. 3. Providing a flexible learning structure that responds to the learner’s particular needs. Out-of-school learners typically come from marginalised groups in society, and they often have other competing needs and responsibilities. Some learners may have special learning needs, and each one has different levels of attainment, depending on the stage at which they dropped out of school and how long they have been out of school. Therefore, teaching approaches need to be participatory and learner centred to accommodate learners’ varying abilities and availability. It must be noted that the majority of out-of-school youths aged 13 to 18 are adolescent girls who have been married off or fallen pregnant, and they have to engage in income-generating activities, such as vending, livestock herding or paid domestic work, to support their household (Manjengwa, 2015). Therefore, it is critical that the scheduling of classes be flexible, enabling adolescent girls to attend to caregiving and other duties that kept them away from school in the past.


4. Offering counselling and support. Given the extended time that teachers and students spend together, and the influence that teachers typically have on learners, they are well placed to counsel and support vulnerable children within these programmes. Teachers are trained to offer basic counselling, as well as to link the learners to needed “wraparound” social services (Mamba, 2016). This helps make classes a safe space while providing a platform for the delivery of critical services such as health assessments, child protection, and food and nutrition information. 5. Extending the focus and benefits beyond the classroom. As a result of their vulnerable situation, out-of-school learners have broader needs and require extra support and training in order to gain practical life skills which set them up for a more secure future. The learners and their caregivers should be offered “opportunities to gain practical life skills outside the classroom, such as gardening, poultry rearing, welding and carpentry” (Mamba, 2016). This can be done by involving the school and wider community in learners’ extra-curricular activities. Within the school, learners can be linked to practical subjects currently offered within the school or income-generating activities run by the school. Within the community, learners and caregivers can be linked to local businesses, community income-generating projects, or vocational training centres.

WEI/Bantwana and OSISA partner to design an innovative approach for transformative primary education Guided by the above principles, WEI/Bantwana partnered with OSISA in 2009 to fund the development of Out-of-School Study Groups (OSSGs) (WEI/Bantwana, 2010) “to provide basic, accelerated ‘catchup’ education to children who had been out of school for extended periods of time” (Mamba, 2016). OSSGs are community sites where out-of-school children and youths are provided with basic literacy and numeracy skills by means of an accelerated programme carried out by trained facilitators (ibid). This model, later called the Zimbabwe Accelerated Learning Programme (ZALP) (UNICEF Zimbabwe, 2013), was recognised, adapted and scaled up nationally by the GOZ and UNICEF with WEI/Bantwana as the implementing partner. The ZALP went on to prepare over 32 000 children in 32 districts for reintegration into the formal primary school system (ibid). The pilot began with six OSSGs, and then expanded to 32 districts, 602 schools and 20 OSSGs under the ZALP (WEI/Bantwana & UNICEF, 2015). As a result of the success of this programme and other efforts, the MoPSE (2015) developed the National Non-Formal Education Policy for Zimbabwe: Promoting alternative pathways to increase access to quality education in Zimbabwe in 2015. In this policy, the GOZ declared all schools centres of non-formal education. These moves have positioned Zimbabwe to achieve the education aspirations of Agenda TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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2030. This policy, while signalling the government’s recognition of the growing challenge of out-of-school children, faces on-going roll-out challenges which the GOZ and WEI/Bantwana are working to address.

Promising PTCE model accelerates roll out of NFE policy for secondary school education The ZALP out-of-school model brought basic primary education to children in resource-constrained settings. However, it did not address the needs of the growing number of secondary school youths (13 to 18 years old) who are not in school. The group of 13-to-18-year-olds who are not in school is estimated to be 17 percent of all out-of-school children in Zimbabwe (Manjengwa, 2015). Following successful implementation and scale-up of the primary school children’s OSSG model, OSISA and WEI/Bantwana partnered to resuscitate the PTCE programme as a means to provide NFE to children at secondary school level who have been out of school and offer them a second chance at education (Mamba, 2016). Mamba (ibid) explains that PTCE uses a flexible method which allows children and youths in varying circumstances, such as those in part-time employment and learners providing care to their own children, parents or siblings, to access secondary education on platforms other than the formal secondary school system. During the recent two-year pilot run from October 2014 to September 2016, WEI/Bantwana facilitated the set-up of PTCE centres of learning in government schools, identifying and training teachers in NFE methodologies, inclusive education as well as referrals, and assisting in the reintegration of learners into the formal education system (Mamba, 2016). The comprehensive, innovative pilot recognised the extremely vulnerable context in which many of these students live. In an effort to keep them on an educational pathway, the model includes

an applied economics component for the caregivers of PTCE learners. This component includes training on internal savings and lending methodologies, and helps individuals save money and support their children’s education in the long term. To address the real financial burden of funding an NFE programme at the local level, the WEI/Bantwana programme is also piloting income-generating projects for schools. These projects help schools meet the operational costs related to implementing PTCE and subsidise the most vulnerable students to continue their education. During the pilot, WEI/Bantwana worked closely with the GOZ, with the intention of learning from the model, adapting and scaling it up nationally.

Emerging benefits of the PTCE pilot Since its inception in 2014, the PTCE pilot has achieved a number of goals, as described by Mamba (2016), and these are assessed below in relation to Agenda 2030 and relevant findings and commentary of other researchers and authors. Accelerating progress towards national implementation of the new NFE policy The SDGs are part of the new global Agenda 2030, and their achievement depends on country-specific adoption and development of enabling policies and comprehensive implementation. The NFE policy is well-aligned to SDG 4 and the transformative education agenda. However, full implementation is still required. In Zimbabwe, the pilot has accelerated the implementation of NFE programmes by the schools, as mandated by the new NFE policy. For example, in Zvimba District, the government requested WEI/Bantwana to support a district-wide setup of PTCE centres in the

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EDUCATION FOR ALL: Reaching vulnerable children through non-formal education programmes in Zimbabwe

schools (rather than the smaller number of schools initially targeted by the pilot) (Mamba, 2016). This district-wide approach has seen increased numbers of out-of-school children and youths accessing education. Provision of inclusive education and referrals for learners with disabilities According to Mamba (2016), Zimbabwe’s “current education system is not adequately equipped to provide inclusive education to children with disabilities.” However, the pilot has two benefits to address this: increased capacity to meet the needs of learners with disabilities, achieved through caregiver sensitisation and teacher training, and the development of a functional referral protocol. The referral protocol guides caregivers, volunteers and teachers to specific disability-related services. Providing inclusive education to learners with disabilities is key to achieving SDG 1 (end extreme poverty), 4 (education) and 10 (reduced inequalities). Furthermore, research has shown the returns on investing in education for people with disabilities in another developing country, Nepal, are two to three times higher compared to those of persons who do not have a disability (Lamichhane & Sawada, 2013, cited in Lamichhane, Paudel & Kartika, 2014, p. 4). According to Baboo (2016), writing for the Global Partnership for Education, “investing wisely in early education avoids or reduces the considerable costs of special education, remedial teaching, medical treatment and improves learning outcomes for learners with disabilities significantly.” Learners with disabilities who successfully pass through the education system are equipped with knowledge and skills that enable them to function and earn an income, thus supporting them in escaping poverty. This model empowers learners with disabilities, boosting them to the same level as other individuals, and enabling them to be equally competitive. Though small in scale, the model is providing lessons and ideas that can be implemented to reduce inequality within and among countries, in keeping with SDG 10. Provision of second-chance education to older women and adolescent girls The majority of learners enrolling for the PTCE programme are girls and women who dropped out of school for a variety of reasons which are common in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, including early marriage and pregnancy, the prioritisation of boys’ education in families with limited resources, and caregiving responsibilities. The flexible nature of PTCE enables women to attend to caregiving and other responsibilities while receiving a basic education. This model offers a second chance for women and girls, who often bear the brunt of poverty and unequal power relations, to access education and move out of the cycle of poverty. Thus, the model feeds into the achievement of SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. Schultz (2002), who pioneered studies on the economic returns of girls’ education, found that women and girls who complete secondary school will have as much as


a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in their future earnings, contributing significantly to economic growth overall. An additional study conducted in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda found that educational opportunities offered through farmer field schools increased the value of crops and livestock, as well as resulting in a 61 percent increase in income for women and girls (Davis, 2012). By providing second-chance education to women and girls, this model contributes not only to the achievement of SDG 4 (inclusive education) and SDG 5 (gender equality and women’s empowerment) but also has ripple effects for broader economic growth (SDG 10) and reducing poverty (DfID, 2005). Extending the focus and benefits beyond the classroom Waller (2016) argues that “Young people, living in the poorest communities, have a right to education, but they also have the right to an education that delivers on the promise of a better life.” While schools offer practical subjects to students, an emerging benefit of the Zimbabwe PTCE approach is that learners and their caregivers are experiencing opportunities to gain practical life skills, such as gardening, poultry rearing, welding and carpentry, outside the classroom and at a relatively low cost (Mamba, 2015). The opportunities cement the concepts taught in class through functional literacy and provide skills that they can use to increase their household income and improve nutrition. This is especially effective because these learners are highly vulnerable and may not even complete the cycle of education. Imparting practical skills equips learners for occupations and income generation to address pressing needs. Should they be forced to drop out again before completing their schooling, the acquired skills will nevertheless be advantageous. Such practical skills develop children and youths’ eligibility for formal employment, in keeping with SDG 8 (inclusive, sustainable economic growth and employment) (Mokwena, 2015). Children at off-school sites receive valuable “wraparound” services which ensure that their other non-educational needs are met, including health assessments, food and nutrition services, and child protection services (Mamba, 2016).

Going Forward The ZALP and PTCE models are proving to be viable for NFE and can be adapted and replicated towards the achievement of SDG 4 as well as other SDGs. Following initial piloting, these programmes are being scaled up with success. Furthermore, the recently issued NFE policy and associated circulars provide opportunities for non-state actors, such as NGOs, private colleges and individuals, to implement NFE programmes, offering avenues to leverage the creative synergies and resources of civil society. These NFE programmes are influencing national policy implementation, and providing lessons to inform the national agenda on equity in education for the children of Zimbabwe (Mamba, 2016). The important lessons gleaned can be applied within the broader subcontinent as NFE programmes work their way towards reaching Agenda 2030. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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REFERENCES 1. Baboo N (2016) The case is clear for financing inclusive education for children with disabilities. Global Partnership for Education blog, 20 October. case-clear-financing-inclusive-education-children-disabilities (accessed 11 January 2017). 2. Chisamya G, DeJaeghere J, Kendall N & Khan M (2012) Gender and Education For All: Progress and problems in achieving gender equity. International Journal of Educational Development, doi: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2011.10.004 3. Davis K (2012) Impact of farmer field schools on agricultural productivity and poverty in East Africa. World Development, 40(2): 402-413. 4. DfID (2005) Girls’ education: Toward a better future for all. Department for International Development. http://www2.ohchr. org/english/issues/development/docs/girlseducation.pdf (accessed 11 January 2017). 5. Emirie G, Chalchisa D & Berhanu A (2008) A study on violence against girls in primary schools and its impacts on girls’ education in Ethiopia. Save the Children Denmark, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Addis Ababa. 6. Erulkar AS (2001) “Increasing the quality of adolescent girls’ education: A vital development and reproductive health measure.” In Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health: Charting Directions for a Second Generation of Programming (pp 77-89). Population Council: New York. AYSRH/4b.pdf (accessed 26 October 2016). 7. Lamichhane K, Paudel DB & Kartika D (2014) Analysis of poverty between people with and without disabilities in Nepal. Working paper no. 77, March. JICA Research Institute, Tokyo. 8. Lucas N (2012) Girls’ retention and performance in primary and secondary education. Makers and breakers: A research project to investigate the dynamic of factors influencing school retention and performance of girls in Africa (unpublished report). Plan International UK, London. 9. Mamba V (2016) OSISA and World Education: Partnering to provide second chance and inclusive education to children and youth in Zimbabwe. 11 July. OSISA. education/zimbabwe/osisa-and-world-education-partneringprovide-second-chance-and-inclusive-educatio (accessed 18 January 2017).

10. Manjengwa J (2015) National assessment on out-of-school children in Zimbabwe. IES: Harare. 11. Mensch BS, Clark WH, Lloyd CB & Erulkar AS (2001) Premarital sex, school girl pregnancy and school quality in rural Kenya. Studies in Family Planning, 32(4): 285-301. 12. MoPSE (2016) Non-Formal Education Circular No. 13. 14 November. MoPSE, Zimbabwe. 13. MoPSE (2015) The National Non-Formal Education Policy for Zimbabwe. Promoting alternative pathways to increase access to quality education in Zimbabwe. MoPSE, Zimbabwe. 14. Mokwena L (2015) Making a case for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Africa’s education debate. 21 January. The Africa-America Institute. (accessed 11 January 2017). 15. Schultz P (2002) Why governments should invest more to educate girls. World Development, 30(2): 207-225. 16. UNESCO (2015) A growing number of children and adolescents are out of school as aid fails to meet the mark. Out-of-school children policy paper 22, fact sheet 31. UNESCO Institute for Statistics and EFA Global Monitoring Report. 17. UNICEF Zimbabwe (2013) On International Day of the Girl Child. Innovation key to more girls in school and learning. https://www. (accessed 11 January 2017). 18. Waller L (2016) Careers for Ugandan youth: Can education drive employability? Global Partnership for Education blog, 15 August. (accessed 18 January 2017). 19. WEI/Bantwana (2010) OSISA alternative access to education pilot project report (unpublished). 20. WEI/Bantwana (2009a) Education standard operating procedures (unpublished). 21. WEI/Bantwana (2009b) Alternative access to education for out-ofschool orphans and vulnerable children. Proposal submitted to OSISA (unpublished). 22. WEI/Bantwana & UNICEF (2015) Zimbabwe Accelerated Learning Programme (ZALP): Giving out-of-school children a second chance. (accessed 18 January 2017).

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REVOLUTIONISING THE GENDER DIVIDE in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Memory Zonde-Kachambwa A gender and women’s rights activist, Memory Kachambwa grounds her work in feminist principles and a feminist framework of analysis. She is the Programme Manager at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (known as FEMNET). She is a board member of the award-winning UNESCO Female Students Support Network Trust in Zimbabwe which assists young women in tertiary institutions. Prior to joining FEMNET, Memory was the gender and women’s empowerment technical specialist at the International Youth Foundation (IYF). While serving at IYF, she developed a gender strategy for ZimWorks, a youth project with a particular focus on mainstreaming gender and on young women, as part of its employability and entrepreneurship programme. The employability and entrepreneurship programme focused on capacity development including crossovers in TVET. Memory also headed the Women’s Trust in Zimbabwe and has worked for UN Women and UNIFEM.

Introduction Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the acquisition of skills are now being recognised as key education pathways that are responsive to the needs of Africa today. TVET is good for women, men, the youth, Africa and economic growth. However, in the past, TVET has been perceived as inferior and trivialised as suitable for the academically weak. Many of the TVET programmes are outdated and do not match the demands of the job market, and the training is largely designed along gender stereotypes. Numerous barriers affect women and girls disproportionately in TVET in general, and they hinder them from pursuing trades traditionally reserved for males in particular. Gender inequalities in TVET are still a major challenge as women often enrol for programmes that reinforce gender norms and are low paying compared to their male counterparts. This further proliferates unpaid care work through the undervaluing of women’s economic contribution, even in the formal economy. Deliberate actions are needed to bridge the gender divide in TVET by fostering the crossover of women to male-dominated and higher-paying sectors. Global and regional frameworks, such as the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and AU Agenda 2063, provide opportunities to change this status quo. They have specific provisions and indicators for promoting relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship for all. This is critical to achieving equitable access to quality education in line with the sustainable development agenda. SDG 4 focuses on ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UN, 2016a). Target 4.5 states “By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations” (ibid). Interlinked with this goal and target is SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 8 on growth and employment which can contribute to the effective implementation of TVET using a gendered lens.


This article gives an overview of TVET, why it is looked down upon, why it is important for economic growth and why it is important for women and girls in particular. Using Zimbabwe as an illustrative case, the article is also intended to discredit myths that girls are not capable of undertaking traditionally male disciplines.

What is TVET? UNESCO (2014) defines TVET as “those aspects of the educational process involving, in addition to general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupation in various sectors of economic life.” This is reflected in the forms, structures, educational technologies, curricula, pedagogy, management, resourcing and socio-cultural backgrounds of TVET and its participants. The target groups are mainly adolescents (15-17 years), youths (18-24 years) and young adults (25-35 years).

Perceptions of TVET Perceptions of TVET affect both men and women. TVET has been perceived as “inferior” or as a fall-back plan for those who are not gifted academically, largely due to historical connotations. In many developing countries, TVET has been influenced by economic, social and political factors. According to Sharma and Naisele (2008), theoretical underpinnings of TVET can be justified by philosophical, Marxist and egalitarian concepts. In Zimbabwe, for example, TVET was largely influenced and structured around providing a workforce for the formalised manufacturing industry and large commercial farms (Matus, Hansen, Zhou, Derman & Pswarayi, 2014). In the late 1970s to early 1980s, students were screened and a decision was made as to whether they should take a practical or an academic route. The practical route involved subjects like woodwork and needlework which would feed into TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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TVET while the academic route led to pursuing professional courses such as teaching and nursing which have a higher social recognition. This historical trajectory of TVET in Zimbabwe has a gender bias towards supplying a male workforce into the formalised economy at the expense of women and girls’ contribution and fair representation.

Why TVET is important for the economy and for Africa in general Recently, TVET has come into the spotlight as a possible solution to the rising unemployment crisis across Africa. In countries where the formal sector is relatively small, the expanding urban informal sector, characterised by home industries, is becoming a major source of employment and absorbs a considerable proportion of the labour force. For instance, Malawi responded to the increasing number of youths not in employment, education or training with its National Technical, Entrepreneurial, Vocational Education and Training Policy (Government of Malawi, 2013). More recently, the African Union (AU) crafted its blueprint policy document known as Agenda 2063. An action point highlighted in Agenda 2063 is “Improving the quality and relevance of technical and vocational skills development to address the needs of both cutting edge skills and training the majority who are involved in the informal economy” (AU, 2015, p. 38). Agenda 2063 also pays attention to gender equality, stating that: There is an urgent need of ensuring access to quality education, including universal access through at least secondary education

Role models are significant in shifting mindsets: My personal story Growing up seeing my father as the “fixer”, who bought old cars and reassembled them in fascinating “makeovers”, was a great joy to me. I would spend time peering fearfully at the blazing sparks from the welding machine that transformed crazy odd-looking scrap metal into amazing creations of art, from metal cupboards to scotch carts and everything in between. All I ever wanted was to spend time in the selfstyled metal jungle home industry. From a distance, I admired the banter punctuated by loud laughter in between making and fixing stuff, and I yearned to hear all about the fascinating stories and adventures. This was a far cry from the usual quintessential talk that characterised my house duties; here, conversations were laced with “Work hard my daughter, clean those dishes properly,” and “This is how you cook the perfect consistency of sadza”. It was all about becoming a good wife or excelling in academics while not upsetting the “naturally ordained” gender order. Occasionally, there were rare moments when I was called to check the car oil, rev the car engine or help load the finished products for delivery. These moments were bliss for me. I wanted to be like my father.

for all children, with particular attention to girls’ retention and completion rates, as well as the need for more girls and women to enrol in STEM subjects for Africa to achieve rapid industrialization and economic transformation (ibid). The increasing number of educated but jobless graduates without relevant skills to ensure their employability points to a mismatch between the education system and the job market (Matus et al., 2014). There is a growing realisation that technical skills in combination with academic training are critical to the economic growth model characterising Africa. For instance, in Zimbabwe, there has been a relook into the education system and efforts towards implementing the recommendations of the 1999 Nziramasanga Commission Report have been made (Precie, 2014). This report emphasises continuous assessment and changing the education curricula to include practical skills in addition to academics (ibid). The search for an appropriate education system has been the focus of pedagogical thinking for a long time. The role of TVET in delivering quality education has been central to research and policy reform discussions, and especially in relation to changing the education curricula to incorporate technical skills.

The importance of TVET for women and girls Women’s Rights frameworks have been and continue to be clear on the need to promote quality TVET that is gender responsive. For instance,

He was an independent entrepreneur, educated up to Standard Six, and had obtained a vocational education certificate. His skills in engineering were self-taught and his earnings in this trade were enough to secure a fairly comfortable standard of living. Unlike my father, I had the opportunity to go to university, largely because I qualified academically. My heart was in metal engineering and fabrication but I had never been exposed to this option in any of the career guidance I received. I had never seen women doing this kind of work either. In fact, my father’s home industry was perceived as a dirty job suited for school leavers who had not excelled academically. Technical vocational training, particularly in the fields of motor vehicle maintenance and boat making, which I was passionate about, was never discussed and neither were they offered as an option for me as a girl. This shaped my career and that of many other women I later met in life who were successful in what they were doing but, if given the choice, would have gone to a technical vocational college and pursued a challenging non-traditional career path. To date, gender norms and practices underpin the education and, consequently, career choices of many young women. This results in young women crowding into stereotypical careers which may offer lower pay compared to their male counterparts, perpetuating the gender gaps in remuneration.

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REVOLUTIONISING THE GENDER DIVIDE in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

education and training of women is one of 12 critical areas of concern mentioned in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (UN Women, n.d.). Article 10 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) makes provision for bridging the rural and urban geographical divide and calls for: The same conditions for career and vocational guidance, for access to studies and for the achievement of diplomas in educational establishments of all categories in rural as well as in urban areas; this equality shall be ensured in pre-school, general, technical, professional and higher technical education, as well as in all types of vocational training (OHCHR, n.d., p. 4). The Maputo Protocol equally promotes “education and training for women at all levels and in all disciplines, particularly in the fields of science and technology” (ACHPR, 2003 p. 13). In cognisance of the number of young women who drop out of the formal education system due to pregnancy, care work and early marriage, the protocol further promotes “the enrolment and retention of girls in schools and other training institutions and the organisation of programmes for women who leave school prematurely” (ibid). At the sub-regional level, the SADC (2016) has a Regional Education and Training Implementation Plan 2007-2015 which provides strategies for fostering education and training including the establishment and running of TVET. In 2015, governments committed to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in which member states agreed to scale up education investment for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) (UN, 2016b, p. 152). This is in addition to enhancing technical, vocational and tertiary education and training, enabling equal access for women and girls, and encouraging their participation. Over the past decades, TVET has been explicitly mentioned in global, regional and sub-regional policy and legal frameworks. The near parity in tertiary education reported in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report (UN, 2013) does not give the full picture on certain sectors. The new development frameworks, such as the SDGs, address this gap and call for parity across all sectors, especially enrolment of young women in STEM subjects. However, despite all these policy and legal frameworks, the majority of TVET institutions are still a long way from being transformed by incorporating the progressive gender equality principles and removing gender biases. UNESCO (2016) states that: girls are still the first to be denied the right to education despite progress made over the past 20 years. TVET systems are often gender-biased, affecting the selection of, access to and participation in specific learning programmes or occupations for both men and women. In turn, this gender division of labour contributes to the perpetuation of gender inequalities at work and in society at large… women overall continue to suffer from higher rates of


unemployment and lower rates of employment, are less likely to participate in the labour force and face higher risks of vulnerable employment. TVET is important for women and girls as it provides an entry point for the acquisition of skills, enhancing the chances of women’s gainful employment and the creation of viable start-up businesses, thus improving their economic status.

Crossing the gender divide and taking up nontraditional TVET There are many hurdles faced by young women and girls in crossing over to non-traditional trades, these challenges are largely hinged The Young Africa (YA) network The TVET model discussed here is derived from the case study of YA, a vocational technical institution set up in 1998, as part of the YA worldwide network, to address the needs of marginalised youths. Individuals targeted by YA include those living with HIV/AIDS, girls who drop out of school as a result of early pregnancy, and the many youths who fail their O Levels. They endeavour to equip young people through practical skills training and encourage them to earn a decent living through income-generating projects. To achieve this, YA teaches hand skills for self-reliance, skills of the heart and mind to live with dignity and responsibility, and skills of the soul to live with a purpose. YA also uses a franchise system under some of its industrial cubicles in which local SMEs hire the organisation’s space and equipment and commit to allowing YA students access to their production centres to learn, as part of their practical lessons. To address the lack of affordable credit and the non-availability of finance for start-ups, YA offers internal savings and lending to its graduates, and small loans up to US$ 200 when available. After training, youths have started saving for their businesses. There are 12 different artisanal, vocational technical skills offered including dressmaking, leatherwork, machine shop engineering and catering, among others. Training for commercial trades includes IT, marketing, financial management, administration and purchasing, and more. YA has childcare facilities and a crèche to help mothers with children to attend their classes. Childcare services are also offered during mobile TVET programmes. YA has a boarding house for young women and girls, most of whom are orphans and victims of gender-based violence. Young women and girls can stay up to two years after the completion of their course while they seek employment and a new place to stay. Supplementary evening classes are held for those who require this. Every student goes through a life skills training course which covers subjects including gender sensitisation. Visit for more information on the institution.

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on gender norms that limit the perception of women’s suitability for a number of occupations and sectors. Globally, most training programmes, including financial vocational training, are rarely tailored towards the needs of young women (Calder & Huda, 2013). Young women’s household experiences impact on their decision making at all levels, including choice of vocation. Their lack of agency within households, combined with the high incidence of spousal abuse (29 percent) (Zimstat, 2012), indicate that power dynamics within households go beyond decision making and make women’s full and equal participation in, within and outside the household both economically and socially tenuous. Gender stereotypes around technical subjects are imprinted on both girls and boys from primary and secondary school level. Practical topics and subjects like nutrition, needlework, woodwork and building are gender determined and also selected for the “less academically gifted”. Rarely do girls select technical subjects such as woodwork or technical drawing and the same applies for boys with cookery or needlework. In fact, same-sex schools do not generally offer certain subjects which are deemed for the other sex. A gender scoping study by ZimWorks (2015, p. 8) shows that girls and young women perceive male-dominated trades as physically demanding and “too dirty.” However, girls and young women participating in male-dominated trades feel that women are equally capable of doing jobs traditionally associated with men (ibid). Furthermore, with the advent of technology and highly mechanised workshops that require reduced physical labour, among other factors, it seems even more unreasonable that women desiring these types of employment should be discouraged. The ZimWorks (2015) report also discusses how prospective female students turn down male-dominated trades

because of the long working hours which compete with the multiple gender roles of girls and women, including childbearing and household responsibilities. “Even before getting married, women have a tendency to prioritize family care (reproductive roles) and would rather not make decisions that affect their wellbeing” (ZimWorks, 2015, p. 9). In addressing some of these gender stereotypes and helping students in their career choices, it is important to offer life skills and gender sensitisation programmes prior to enrolment. Studies show that most women who choose non-traditional trades are inspired by a role model. My personal story (see Box 1) illustrates how both the family and the community play a role in influencing career choices. The negative perceptions associated with TVET push most students to pursue career paths that may not necessarily be in line with their true desires. On a personal level, TVET means combining the head (academic knowledge), heart (passion for a certain career) with the hand (skills). TVET is an opportunity to acquire skills that are practical and recognised. With enough support, such as through an apprenticeship, career incubation can either set one up for employment or one’s own business start-up that creates self-employment and employment for others. Typical non-traditional trades pay more compared to typical traditional female trades. Crossing the gender divide to pursue a non-traditional trade means pursuing what one’s heart desires and offers the potential to earn a better income. When individuals pursue what they desire and what they feel more drawn to, they are more likely to succeed. Social transformation is needed alongside frameworks and policies to accept and embrace women as equal to men, including in their pursuit of non-traditional vocational trades. Workplaces and licensing boards for technical vocations need to be sensitised on embracing

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women in non-traditional trades and efforts must be made to ensure the environment is conducive, including the infrastructure. Biases based on gender (and not on performance) should be addressed and discouraged in favour of equitable workplace practices for all. Choices made by women in non-traditional trades should not be seen as inappropriate in the same way that men taking up non-traditional trades, as fashion design, catering and hairdressing, is acceptable.

Concluding reflections While TVET may not yet be as highly regarded as other forms of education, it is vital in unlocking the human resource talent and potential of many gifted young people, particularly young women. TVET is beneficial for African individuals and nations, and for economic growth. Sound TVET education models should thus be supported. TVET is necessary alongside academic training. TVET provides the much-needed skills to survive the shocks associated with the failing and constrained formalised economy, and is vital for future economic growth and development. This is especially important as TVET is anchored in the informal economy which is the reality for many African nations. TVET and technical skills are equally important in the education pathway. There are a number of points to be considered if quality holistic sustainable education, which should include TVET, is to be realised, as part of the ambitious global agenda. These are: 1. There is a general mismatch between the industry needs and current education offerings. More collaboration is needed between the private and education sectors to ensure relevance of coursework and greater employability of graduates. 2. Demand-driven TVET is potentially one of the most important tools for developing young people’s skills. 3. Introducing mobile vocational technical training to reach remote and rural populations is a model that can be adapted to address geographical barriers in Africa. 4. An integrated holistic model of TVET and a vocational technical trajectory that promotes technical skills, life skills, community work gender sensitisation, mentorship, financial inclusion, internship and entrepreneurship is necessary. Policy frameworks for gender equality are not enough. Society needs to become accustomed to young women who crossover into non-traditional trades because women are able and many want to enter traditionally male fields. The idea needs to be promoted that men and women are equally “technical”. Quality education should recognise that women, who “hold up the other half of the sky”, should be deliberately integrated in TVET in a manner that does not reinforce gender stereotypes but provides opportunities for sustainable and inclusive education that is responsive to the market demands and promotes economic growth. This is possible by putting in place deliberate interventions on gender equality and promoting the enrolment of girls and young women in traditionally male-dominated trades. Ensuring that


A TVET model focusing on non-traditional trades In Zimbabwe, there are a few non-government TVET institutions that have emerged to bridge the gap created by the largely dysfunctional Government TVET institutions and respond to specific community needs and the high unemployment rate among the youth. Young Africa (YA), located in Chitungwiza, a high-density town 30 kms from the capital city of Harare is a technical vocational skills training institute targeting marginalised young people. In 2015, YA embarked on a programme to encourage young women and men to enrol in non-traditional courses. Their strategies include community, prospective student and family sensitisation; career guidance and campus tours; focus group discussions and communicating testimonials from graduates from non-traditional courses; and a 50 percent discount for students who enrol in non-traditional courses. They also do mobile TVET in rural and urban locations, extending the programme to areas which would ordinarily be left out. Mobile TVET has given young women and men an opportunity to acquire skills and mitigates the barriers of transport. Young women still face time constraints due to unpaid care work. Hence, sensitising communities and families goes hand in hand with recruitment. YA deliberately recruits female lecturers for non-traditional courses who double as mentors and role models for women. Having female teachers for non-traditional courses like motor vehicle maintenance and bricklaying at YA has altered perceptions and improved recruitment of young women into non-traditional courses. This model is a form of affirmative action that has not received any backlash as yet. This could be because of the mechanisms and support systems in place to ensure smooth integration and incentives for young men to enrol into traditionally female fields. The holistic model includes an internship, business and basic ICT skills for all students, microfinance and incubation of start-ups supervised by master craftspersons. The YA ensures its training environments are gender-responsive. For example, it offers childcare facilities, gender sensitisation and life skills training for all students, a girls’ hostel facility for orphan girls, and programmes on combating sexual harassment in male-dominated workspaces including counselling and a reporting pathway. Despite these efforts being made, it is unlikely that all industry players are ready for the crossovers of young men and women into non-traditional trades.

there are female role models, in the form of teachers, mentors and craftspersons, will contribute to girls and young women crossing over to traditionally male spaces, while the sensitisation of communities on the benefits of allowing young women to take on male-dominated trades is essential. The media also has a role to play by showcasing success stories of young men and women in non-traditional trades and debunking stereotypes and myths about women taking on technical vocations. There is no reason why young women and girls should not choose non-traditional trades if the obstacles are addressed. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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Experiences of TVET students disrupting the status quo The experiences of men and women pursuing non-traditional trades are varied. When men become hairdressers or chefs they receive a lot of attention, both negative and positive. Themba (pseudonym), a male hairdresser, explains that his female clients prefer him to style their braids because they are neater and last longer, his scalp massages are more effective, and women feel confident about his skills. He feels that when he tells his clients that they look beautiful, they tend to believe it more and see it as more genuine coming from a man than from a woman hairdresser. However, he has faced opposition from his peers who were convinced that he must be homosexual because he spends most his time with women in a salon. He managed to convince his parents to pay for his vocational education by telling them that he was going to become a barber. When he embarked on his career in the hair salon, his family was not supportive initially until he began to earn a moderate income. It is noteworthy that, in the hospitality industry, there is greater acceptance of men doing work related to women’s gender roles. Female crossovers either seem to impress society or, because of their few numbers, go unnoticed. Tendai (pseudonym) was inspired by her father to enrol in a technical vocational college to learn motor vehicle maintenance. She was the only female student in her intake.

Her teachers were shocked when she first came for training because her name is unisex and they assumed their new students were all male. Wearing a work suit in and around college did not help her either. She received many a questioning look from women and men on campus. In her neighbourhood, they teased her and called her the “girl in overalls”, while family members called her a “tomboy” and questioned her on whether she thought of getting married. The work environment is particularly hostile for Tendai. Her first job assignment was to fix a male client’s Mercedes vehicle. When the client realised Tendai is a woman, he told the owner of the garage that if she touched his car he would either withdraw his business or not pay his bill. The “boys” also have their habits of telling crude jokes and laughing as if she does not exist. The facilities in the workplace do not help either. There are only male toilets, and she has no choice but to share the facilities with nine men. Tendai had to work much harder for her trade license than her male counterparts. One instructor explicitly told her that the trade is not for females and that licensing her compromised and cheapened the trade. Another test instructor asked for sexual favours and when she declined he said she would suffer for it. Despite her experiences in pursuing a non-traditional career path, Tendai has remained resilient and she is resolved to mentor other young women wanting to join the trade.

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REFERENCES 1. ACHPR (2003) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Gambia. http://www. (accessed 21 January 2017). 2. AU (2015) Agenda 2063 Framework Document. The Africa We Want. AU Commission. (accessed 14 October 2016). 3. Calder R & Huda K (2013) Adolescent girls economic opportunities study, Rwanda. Development Pathways. Nike Foundation and Girl Hub. (accessed 21 January 2017). 4. Government of Malawi (2013) National Technical, Entrepreneurial, Vocational Education and Training Policy. Government Printer, Lilongwe. 5. Matus RJ, Hansen A, Zhou H, Derman K & Pswarayi T (2014) Zimbabwe Labor Market Assessment. Workforce Connections Report. USAID and FHI360. PA00K924.pdf (accessed 21 January 2017). 6. OHCHR (n.d.) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. ProfessionalInterest/cedaw.pdf (accessed 17 October 2016). 7. Precie C (2014) The resurrection of the Nziramasanga Commission Inquiry Report in Zimbabwe – Implications for gender in education. (accessed 20 March 2017). 8. SADC (2016) Education and Skills Development. Themes: Social and Human Development. (accessed 14 February 2017).


9. Sharma A & Naisele E (2008) Technical vocational education and training: ‘The master key’. Review of the functions of FIT, TPAF and other TVET providers. University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. http://www. pdf (accessed 21 January 2017). 10. UN (2016a) Sustainable Development Goal 4. https:// (accessed 21 January 2017). 11. UN (2016b) Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Monitoring commitments and actions. Inaugural Report. http://bit. ly/1UvLHAT (accessed 21 January 2017). 12. UN (2013) The Millennium Development Goals Report. UN, New York. (accessed 20 March 2017). 13. UN Women (n.d.) Education and Training of Women. Beijing Platform for Action. education-and-training (accessed 17 October 2016). 14. UNESCO (2016) Women must be fully engaged in Technical and Vocational Education and Training. (accessed 17 October 2016). 15. UNESCO (2014) TVET Glossary. (accessed 20 March 2017). 16. Zimstat (2013) Zimbabwe Population Census 2012. Population Census Office, Harare. files/img/National_Report.pdf (accessed 22 January 2017). 17. Zimstat (2012) Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) 2010-2011. Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, Harare. (accessed 22 January 2017). 18. ZimWorks (2015) Gender Scoping Study. International Youth Foundation, Zimbabwe.

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF ONLINE EDUCATION in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa Samantha Sanangurai Samantha Sanangurai is a conflict transformation and development practitioner with ten years of experience in the field. As a process facilitator, she has helped communities, institutions and individuals acquire knowledge and skills to transform their conflict situations and design and manage programmes that are conflict sensitive. Her work has been done under the banner of both national and international organisations, and she is currently placed at Search for Common Ground Zimbabwe. Samantha is pursuing a Masters in Human Rights at Africa University where she acquired her Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology and Psychology). She also holds professional qualifications in International Relations and Security and Peace Policy from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC), among other institutions. Twitter handle: @tendosana

Introduction This paper explores the value addition of online education towards the African continent achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: “Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” (UN-DESA, 2016). The paper also analyses the extent to which online education can help achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (SDG 5). This exploration is important because SDG 4 (education) and 5 (gender equality) are priority areas for the four regions of Africa: West, Southern, Central and Eastern Africa (UNECA, 2015). The paper discusses the common understanding and definition of distance online education, education and the gender dynamics underlying education in Africa, and the assumptions behind online education. Furthermore, on the basis of these assumptions, an analysis is given of how online education can yield dividends for the African continent as well as the limitations thereof, given the contextual factors, including gender, which affect the three key assumptions of increased access, cost effectiveness and increased quality. Finally, the author concludes that Africa needs to fully leverage online education because it is the basis for a multitude of future opportunities and will drive the achievement of SDG 4 and 5.

Understanding distance online education Distance education is normally a learning process characterised by the separation of the teacher or lecturer, particularly in terms of physical location, from the learner for all or the bulk of the learning process (Sacramento County Office of Education, 2011). Sacramento County Office of Education (ibid) explains that various types of media are used to communicate the coursework and connect the learner and the teacher. The learner controls the pace of the learning process as opposed to the teacher or lecturer. There are two categories of distance education delivery systems. The synchronous model entails that students and instructors participate in a learning session at the same time, while asynchronous modes entail the opposite (Sacramento

County Office of Education, 2011). Synchronous educational media forms include telecourses, teleconferencing, web conferencing and internet chats; asynchronous educational media includes email, listservs, audio and video recorded courses, and correspondence courses (ibid). Online education programmes may make use of both models. For example, virtual classrooms and platforms, such as those which use Skype or similar services, where the instructors and learners participate in the learning process, are just as popular as the self-paced platforms where learners can access course content in their own time. While distance learning was initially popular with adult learners, it is increasingly used for child and youth education worldwide as these learners are being raised in the technology age. In Asian countries like China, Japan and the Philippines, online education has become very popular for individuals who are learning new languages, particularly English, and even for university education (Wang, 2015). Many online sites have mushroomed over the years such as Tutor ABC, BIBO, English First and Skype De English to mention a few (Good Air Language, 2017). Some, such as English First, are operating in Africa. On these platforms, children, youths and adults are preparing themselves for participation in global markets and to become influential on a global scale. In Europe and America, online education is also very popular and some platforms, such as ALISON (2017), offer numerous courses and diplomas in subjects such as sociology, economics, mathematics, music, business, geography and others. Online education is also forcing educator preparation programmes to change across the world. Colleges and universities have witnessed the highest uptake of online options, indicating that online education is a long-term strategy and it is also expected to become common in primary and secondary education in future (Nachukwu, 2015). The key question is whether Africa can fully capitalise on this development to address the widening gaps in access to education by significant numbers of its young population, especially girls.

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UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF ONLINE EDUCATION in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa

Education: A universal right According to UNESCO (2007), education is a broad pool of knowledge that everyone, children, youths and adults alike, is entitled to as a right, regardless of their life stage. It is a universally recognised right, provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 26 (UNESCO, 2010), and it is also provided for in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) which states, in Article 17, that every individual has the right to education (WHO, n.d.). The majority of countries in the world have constitutions (81 percent by 2011), and corresponding national policies that promote the universal right to education despite the challenges in achieving universal access for all their citizens (Heymann, Raub & Cassola, 2014). Where the right to primary and secondary education is constitutionally guaranteed, there has been a higher net enrolment independent of GDP and urbanisation (ibid). According to UNESCO (2007), the right to education is multidimensional. They identify two broad dimensions. The quantitative dimension relates to the tenant that education should be available to everyone (ibid). Because the concept of “basic education” has since been broadened, it means that education is a lifelong process which should be available to all, whether young or old, male or female, rich or poor. Affordable education also underlies the quantitative aspect, hence the aspiration to have free primary education (UNESCO, 2007). UNICEF (2000, p. 3) stipulates that education should be qualitative. They map out the following five core qualitative characteristics: • Healthy, well-nourished learners, ready to participate and learn, and supported by their families and communities; • Healthy, safe, protective and gender-sensitive environments with adequate resources and facilities; • Content that is reflected in relevant curricula and materials for the acquisition of basic skills, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy and skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, HIV and AIDS prevention and peace; • Learner-centred teaching approaches and processes by trained instructors in well-managed classrooms and schools; and skilful assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities; • Outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society. These qualities help us understand education in the broader context of socioeconomic and political trends and needs such as culture, gender, infrastructure, poverty and educational policies. Despite some of the limits in access to education, Africa has made strides towards achieving universal access to education. These strides include primary school education enrolment reaching 91 percent in developing countries (UN-DESA, 2016). However, over half of the unenrolled children worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa (ibid). The continent must build on its gains, and scale up access and quality for populations most at risk of dropping out of the education system, especially girls and rural


youths. Online education is one option with the potential to secure education access for many more Africans.

Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: The gender dynamics Education in the Sub-Saharan region needs to be understood within context, including the gender dynamics which play a key role in how the right to education is being accessed or not accessed. For example, UN-DESA (2016) statistics show that more than 50 percent of children who are out of school are living in war-torn areas, which includes countries such as South Sudan and the Central African Republic (Lugger & Rheault, 2016). Fragile states like Zimbabwe also have more children leaving school early (UN-DESA, 2016). Women and girls are disproportionately affected with 60 percent of the 103 million youths lacking basic literacy skills being female (ibid). The understanding that access to education and gender equality and empowerment are inextricably linked is very important when aiming for universal access and more so when considering online education. One needs to understand why girls, boys, women and men fail to access education in the different country contexts, as well as considering problems like the existence of child soldiers, child marriages, and the unequal economic position of men and women as discussed in detail elsewhere in this issue. Most boys and men are able to attend school because they have access to resources and family support, and also due to the proximity of school facilities to their workplaces (Majgaard & Mingat, 2012). However, women have less access to formal education and are often only able to access informal social education platforms at the community level which focus more on human rights, peace, livelihood skills and HIV/AIDS, among others (Colclough, 2014). As the online education platforms continue to increase in Africa, the continent should be able to leverage online education so that quality education is provided to more learners while, at the same time, narrowing gender gaps in access to education. Whereas universities and colleges have fully embraced online education, primary and secondary schools in Africa need to increase uptake as they play the most critical role in building the foundations of learning practices. However, this depends on the current assumptions institutions have on the adoption of online education. The next section will analyse the assumptions and assess the extent to which these assumptions enable increasing access, enhancing quality and attaining gender parity in education.

The assumptions behind online education The author explores three key assumptions regarding online education which tend to drive the uptake of online education by different institutions, particularly those in Africa. These are increased access, cost effectiveness and improved quality. One of the most obvious assumptions is TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

that taking up online education increases its reach. The popular online website ALISON (2017) boasts nine million learners from 250 countries who have accessed 750 courses. African learners from countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana and South Africa, and even conflict-stricken countries like Sudan and Somalia are said to have benefited (ALISON, 2015). The same assumption is driving institutions based in Africa, like the Africa University which, as a pan-African university, explores ways to include students from across the continent. According to their 2010-2015 strategic planning document, the institution set the target of reaching 47 countries in Africa and increasing student enrolment to 1 500 using information communication technology (ICT) (Africa University, 2014). It is, however, important to note that the increased reach may not necessarily address gender disparity as far as institutions are concerned. Fewer women attend college education than men and men are more financially disposed to pay for their college education (Assié-Lumumba, 2004). In order to enhance the participation of women, including online participation, there needs to be a deliberate effort to devise gender-responsive mechanisms which attract and benefit female learners specifically. Such efforts should include needs assessments that identify gaps and challenges in reaching women and girls with online education and ensuring gender-responsive online education policies. Additionally, connectivity challenges in Africa pose limitations in increasing access to online education, especially for rural communities (UNESCO, 2015). In some cases, such challenges rule out synchronous online education altogether because software and fast bandwidth tend to be expensive or unavailable. As such, connectivity challenges also mean that online education runs the risk of becoming an elite male resource, in addition to the potential of widening the gender inequality gap in access to education. Currently, asynchronous online education offers the best chances for making effective use of online education because it is less expensive and easier to access. It is important to note that connectivity challenges cannot be addressed by the education sector alone but need to involve all relevant stakeholders, including private, civil society and other public institutions. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) could leverage input from the business sector as investments in the needed infrastructure. Subsidised rates can be offered to schools while governments put in place policies and maintain conducive environments for businesses to grow and remain competitive. Institutions also assume that online education is cost effective. Outside the academic domain, there are non-profit organisations, like Action Aid (AA Learning, n.d.) and the US Institute of Peace Global Campus (USIP, n.d.), which offer courses in the areas of human rights, peace, governance, communication and gender, among others. The online courses offered by AA are free and mainly target professionals in these fields. Evan and Haase (2001, in Bartley & Golek, 2004, p. 169) argue that the prevailing economic situation compels institutions to be prudent with resources, and any means of decreasing expenses


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is highly desirable with distance training programmes already demonstrating “their ability to save millions of dollars each year.” They further argue that online training increases “the impact of money invested in training programmes” through “significantly reduced employee travel cost and time, the ability to train more people, more frequently and in shorter sessions that are easier to coordinate and schedule” (p. 170). This appears to be true for online programmes being offered by organisations which have significantly reduced the cost of training professionals. The Asian company TutorABC provides education for learners who have access to ICT, and the Chinese government set the goal of having their “entire K-12 population of over 200 million students online by 2020” (Adkins, 2015, p. 14). However, this perception of cost-effectiveness may not apply to Africa at this time. Significant investment is necessary first before citizens, particularly the poor, have access to affordable ICTs. Internet access is still very expensive for most Africans. For example, in Zimbabwe, an average internet café charges US$ 1 for 45 minutes on a computer while, at the same time, it is estimated that up to 383 million Africans are living on less than US$ 1.90 a day (Roser & Ortiz-Ospina, 2016). Given that most schools operating at the primary and secondary level are still unable to offer conventional qualitative infrastructure, online education may remain a dream for learners from poor communities who are not able to invest in technology like smartphones which could offer alternative access. The majority of the poor across the globe are women and girls (McFerson, 2010). Hence fewer women are likely to access online education platforms. African governments need to be more progressive and realise that online education is the future of education and move away from making piecemeal investments in attempts to make this type of learning more

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UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF ONLINE EDUCATION in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa

accessible for women and girls. They would ensure the education sector strategically utilises online education now and in future. For example, in 2015, the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe announced its plan to build 2 000 schools (Musiiwa, 2015). The Government could also establish virtual schools and perhaps the cost of setting up these much-needed schools will be lower in the long term. Governments would also need to take advantage of existing affordable infrastructure, such as the open learning management system and software Sakai, which is currently used by the University of South Africa (UNISA). Moodle is another such system which is currently used by Avondale Primary School in Harare, Zimbabwe. The software and systems have no licensing costs, and this allows more of the budget to be spent on system tailoring and reducing total product lifespan costs (Monarch Media, 2010). Additionally, it would be prudent to use cloud servers like that are less expensive and more reliable, given that African is faced with power shortages and reliable power remains one of the continent’s greatest infrastructure challenges (Foster & Briceño-Garmendi, 2009). The third key assumption that is often made by institutions is that online education enhances the quality of education. Among other benefits, online education may have implications for the quality of courses and curricula offered, of the instructors and learner support provided, the learning environment, institutional commitment, and assessment practices (Shattuck, 2014). This constructivist theory has largely been used to define the quality of online education, and it infers that quality online education should be learner-centred – recognising the importance of building on the conceptual and cultural knowledge that learners bring with them to the learning experience, of linking learning to learners’ lived experiences, and of accepting and exploring multiple perspectives and divergent understandings (Swan, 2005). This conceptualisation of quality, with particular reference to it being learner-centred, offers prospects for the African continent. Education can offer a learning environment that pursues 21st-century skills of innovation, problem-solving, information and economic literacy (Innovation Unit, 2006, p. 9), as will be required to achieve the aspirations of Agenda 2030. Learner-centeredness also means that there is increased room to address the gender gaps in education in as far as making it possible for more women to learn at their own pace and in their own space (Bender, 2003). This can reduce the risk of sexual harassment, and affords girls and women the increased ability to express themselves freely in situations where sexist behaviour would otherwise limit or prevent this (ibid). Online education would help to cut high costs associated with the building of brick and mortar colleges and school infrastructure as well as other costs like transport, books, feeding and clothing as both learning centres and learners would have to invest in only two main costs, the internet connection and computers or other cheaper electronic gadgets like smartphones. A demand voiced by learners and administrators is that online instructors should keep pace with the required quality of education by being equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills (Pallof & Pratt, 2011).


The majority of African education institutions do not have enough instructors equipped with computer and internet skills. Investment needs to be made in training them. “Educational tools and technologies will continue to improve; nevertheless, teachers, not technology, will determine the quality of education in the foreseeable future” (Saxenian, 2012, p. 6). This means that teachers and lecturers will need to enrol in online programmes and institutions will have to set aside resources for the related costs (Pallof & Pratt, 2011). It also means that teacher training schools will need to incorporate the use of ICTs in all educational programmes, in addition to courses on online instruction. Such an approach will address the already existing gaps between the number of male and female teachers who undertake ICT courses and reduce the risk of having more male online instructors. There will be a need to demystify the view that learners have to be technologically fluent (Zheng, 2012) and ensure that all students have ICT in their syllabus. Some institutions, mainly universities and colleges, have taken up this view and include it as a foundational course for all undergraduate students. But, more importantly, online instructors will need to be trained on the gendered realities of the invisible communities they service, and they must be aware of the need to conduct and develop materials that challenge rather than perpetuate these realities. Otherwise, online education will prove to be just another site where disproportionate gender dynamics play out, are maintained and supported, as in face-to-face situations, classrooms and mainstream education systems on the continent and beyond.

Conclusion Online education is the future of education. Yet, it is also a present reality, and Africa must latch onto the trends to enjoy the benefits. There is considerable investment required on the continent by governments, and this could involve a PPP approach to ensure infrastructure development becomes more affordable. Additionally, online education for Africa will be effective in terms of reaching SDG 4 and 5 if it takes into account the gender dynamics that keep women and girls out of school, and if context-based meanings are attached to the three key assumptions of increased access, cost effectiveness and improved quality.

REFERENCES 1. AA Learning (n.d.) Course categories. Action Aid. http://bit. ly/2l7cTqv (accessed 24 February 2017). 2. Adkins SS (2015) 2015-2020 China self-paced eLearning market. Ambient Insight. (accessed 10 October 2016). 3. Africa University (2014) Distance Education: AU Strategic Plan. (accessed 10 October 2016). 4. ALISON (2017) Free online courses from the world’s top publishers. ALISON, Galway, Ireland. (accessed 24 February 2017). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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5. ALISON (2015) ALISON learner and graduate survey results 2014. ALISON, Galway, Ireland. (accessed 10 October 2016). 6. Assie-Lumumba NDT (Ed) (2004) Cyberspace, Distance Learning, and Higher Education In Developing Countries: Old and emergent issues of access, pedagogy, and knowledge production. Koninklijke Brill: Leiden, the Netherlands. 7. Bartley SJ & Golek JH (2004) Evaluating the cost effectiveness of online and face-to-face instruction. Educational Technology and Society, 7(4): 167-175. (accessed 10 October 2016). 8. Bender T (2003) Discussion-based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning: Theory, Practice, and Assessment. Stylus Publishing, LLC: Sterling, Virginia. 9. Colclough C (Ed.) (2012) Education Outcomes and Poverty in the South: A reassessment. Routledge: Oxon, UK. 10. Foster V & Briceño-Garmendi C (Eds) (2009) Africa’s Infrastructure: A time for transformation. Illustrated edition. World Bank Publications: Washington DC. 11. Good Air Language (2017) List of online English teaching companies. 6 February. teaching-english-online-2 (accessed 24 February 2017). 12. Heymann J, Raub A & Cassola A (2014) Constitutional rights to education and their relationship to national policy and school enrolment. International Journal of Educational Development, 39: 121-131. (accessed 24 February 2017). 13. Innovation Unit (2006) 10 ideas for 21st-century education. http:// (accessed 11 October 2016). 14. Lugger M & Rheault M (2016) Security a top issue in Central African Republic, South Sudan. Gallup. 22 December. http://bit. ly/2ms37QP (accessed 24 February 2017). 15. Majgaard K & Mingat A (2012) Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: A comparative analysis. World Bank: Washington DC. http://bit. ly/2mrZYke (accessed 24 February 2017). 16. McFerson HM (2010) Poverty among women in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review of selected issues. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 11(4): 50-72. (accessed 24 February 2017). 17. Monarch Media (2010) Open-source learning management systems: Sakai and Moodle. Business White Paper. http://bit. ly/1WRicZc (accessed 11 October 2016). 18. Musiiwa M (2015) Government to build 2 000 more schools. The Herald, 13 August. (accessed 11 October 2016). 19. Nachukwu PO (2015) Handbook of Research on Enhancing Teacher Education with Advanced Instructional Technology. IGI Global: Hershey.

20. Pallof RM & Pratt K (2011) The Excellent Online Instructor: Strategies for Professional Development. John Wiley & Sons: San Francisco. 21. Roser M & Ortiz-Ospina E (2016) World Poverty. Our World in Data. (accessed 10 October 2016). 22. Sacramento County Office of Education (2011) The history of distance learning: A California distance learning project. http:// (accessed 11 October 2016). 23. Saxenian A (2012) Can online education technology improve excellence and access at Berkeley? White paper, 2 March. http:// at_Berkeley.pdf(accessed 10 October 2016). 24. Shattuck K (2014) Assuring Quality in Online Education: Practices and Processes at the Teaching, Resource, and Program Levels. Stylus Publishing, LLC: Sterling, Virginia. 25. Swan K (2005) A constructivist model for thinking about learning online. Research Center for Educational Technology, Kent State University, Ohio. (accessed 10 October 2016). 26. UN-DESA (2016) SDG 4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (accessed 1 October 2016). 27. UNECA (2015) Africa Regional Report on the Sustainable Development Goals. UNECA: Addis Ababa. (accessed 20 January 2017). 28. UNESCO (2015) Digital Services for Education in Africa. Savoirs communs 17. Translated from French by UNESCO and O’ Connell W. (accessed 24 February 2017). 29. UNESCO (2010) UDHR Article 26. Claiming Human Rights. http:// (accessed 20 January 2017). 30. UNESCO (2007) Operational definition of basic education. Thematic framework. framework.pdf (accessed 11 October 2016). 31. UNICEF (2000) Defining quality in education. Paper presented at the International Working Group on Education meeting. Florence, June. PDF (accessed 20 January 2017). 32. USIP (n.d.) USIP Global Campus online courses. USIP, Washington DC. (accessed 24 February 2017). 33. Wang VC (2015) Handbook of Research on Learning Outcomes and Opportunities in the Digital Age: Advances in educational technologies and instructional design. IGI Global: Hershey, PA. 34. WHO (n.d.) ACHPR. Health and human rights. hhr/Human_and_Peoples_rights.pdf (accessed 20 January 2017). 35. Zheng R (Ed) (2012) Evolving Psychological and Educational Perspectives on Cyber Behavior. Information Science Reference: Hershey, PA.

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


“KNOWING FEMINISTS”: Women as role models and champions for girls’ education Edinah Masanga Edinah Masanga is a Zimbabwean feminist, journalist, writer and law student based in Sweden. She is the author of Dreams of a Common Girl: The triumphant journey to the top, her riveting life story that is due to be released soon. She is the CEO of the Women’s Empowerment Foundation for Southern Africa (WEFSA) which strives to change perceptions regarding marginalised women. Twitter handle: @EdinahMasanga The 25th of June is a very significant seasonal day in Sweden; they celebrate “midsommar”, which, literally translated, means mid-summer. People eat, drink and make merry, they light big bonfires and wear flower crowns on their heads to celebrate the peak of summer. It’s a Swedish tradition; but, since I moved to Sweden almost three years ago, I had not yet attended one until 2016. I live in Söderhamn, a small coastal town in the north of Sweden. It has a village feel to it. The shops open at 10:00 am, much later than 6:00 am as is the case in my motherland Zimbabwe. Almost all the residents know each other in one way or the other. It is the kind of town where, if you cannot reach someone on their mobile phone, you could guess one or two places where you could bump into them. I have grown to love it because I am a village girl myself. In 2016, I was invited to mid-summer celebrations by my friend Pauline from Kenya. I joined her and her Swedish family on a weeklong vacation in Norrala, some distance from Söderhamn, into the beautiful farmlands and prairies of northern Sweden. On the Saturday of that vacation week, we had so much fun and drank so much during the day and then, by nightfall, we made a fire in the backyard of the beautiful farmhouse which is situated on a vantage point, overlooking vast farmlands of neatly manicured grass and wildflowers. As we sat around the fire, looking into the red ashes, everyone chatting merrily, I was unusually quiet and, unbeknown to my fellow congregates, my mind had travelled thousands of miles away, all the way back to a small village called Chikaka in the west of Zimbabwe. In this village, I grew up with four brothers. This bonfire had triggered memories of my family sitting around the fire every single night during my childhood. In the summer, we roasted mealies on the cob and in the winter, we buried sweet potatoes under the hot ashes and enjoyed them while chatting about life, sometimes telling legends of the hare and the baboon, or of witches and owls. These are good childhood memories, but I am not interested in reminiscing about the good memories in this instance. I want to talk about one particular bad memory. This one memory is still vivid in my mind up to this day. I remember coming home from school, and finding that my brothers and my mum were already sitting around the fire before sunset, which was unusual unless there were important matters to talk about. I was a very curious child, so I hurried to change out of my school uniform and then joined them so that I could hear what they were discussing. Surprisingly, when I entered, everyone fell silent. I could almost


suspect the discussion had something to do with me, but could not remember having done anything mischievous that week. My mother broke the silence by telling me that they were faced with the dilemma of choosing who could continue going to school using the limited resources we had: myself or my immediate older brother, Simbarashe. The house was divided; on the one hand, my mother and my brother Simbarashe were arguing that both of us had to go, there should be no choice. While, on the other hand, my other brothers argued that investing in me was a waste of money as I would end up getting married and, therefore, my ‘’husband’s’’ family would be the one to benefit from my education. Thus, it made ‘’sense’’ that my brother was the one who would continue going to school. It was a hard argument for me to listen to. I cried so much and, in the end, my mother banged the floor with her fist and declared that we were both going to school and, if the money to pay fees was not enough, it was going to be split in half so that both of us could go up to whatever level the money could take us to. To cut a long story short, I became one of the top female journalists in Zimbabwe, and I now live in Europe. Simbarashe went on to become an aircraft engineer but, sadly, he passed away at the tender age of 22 in 2000 (I miss him dearly, and I hope his soul is resting in peace). Fundamentally, continuing my education in the face of poverty and patriarchally informed resistance was the direct result of my mother being a strong woman who believed that my brothers and I were equal beings and thus deserved equal chances at education. Earlier in 2016, I wrote an article which ended up on TIME website, under TIME Ideas. They describe Ideas as hosting “the world’s leading voices” on “society and culture” underneath every contribution posted on their webpages, including mine (Masinga, 2016). The article is about my mother being an unknowing feminist. In the article, I discuss how my mother encouraged me to fight on amidst all the difficulties and to finish high school so that I could go on to become financially independent.

One in a thousand… My mother was not the usual uneducated village woman. She had a different thinking; she believed that there was more to being a woman than just being someone’s wife. In the village where I grew up, girls TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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would be sent to school until they were able to read and write to a certain level (in Zimbabwe this would be up to Grade Seven), and then drop out to go and become maids in the city or elope with some older man in a nearby village. But, my mum wasn’t having any of it. She warned me incessantly about even thinking of marriage or of accepting work as “cheap labour” before I finished school. She explained that, without education, it was not possible to have a meaningful job and a meaningful salary, especially for women because the jobs which did not require education would require physical strength and, even if women could do these jobs, they were often discriminated against as weak. ‘’You need money to live life,’’ my mum always said, ‘’and you must finish your O Level please.’’ She literally begged me. If anything, one of my mother’s most memorable expressions, and one which I remember best up to this day, is her adamantly stating, “Without money, you will be sad, and you will raise sad children.” On weekends, we used to sit under a loquat tree behind our mud rondavel kitchen, and she would say something like, “Today is your birthday. Do you know that?” Then I would ask what she meant by birthday, and she would quip, “You were born today, old woman”, and giggle. “Mummy, I am not old”, I would protest. But she would then remind me that I was growing older by the day, and that age came with responsibilities. I am sharing all these intimate mother-daughter conversations to show that, in order for girls to remain in school, we need strong women. By this, I mean that girls are not just girls. They are small, vulnerable children and what we say to them shapes their opinions and vision of life. The environment we create for them at home is their first window to life, and the counsel of women around them is an integral part of creating an enabling environment for girls to realise their full potential, starting with completing their basic education.

We need more of the one… I argue that the current global crusade for girls’ education will not achieve much if we leave women out of the movement. We can invest in girls, but we have to remember that they live in the family institution which itself, in the context of Africa, still needs an overhaul. As a knowing feminist myself, unlike my mother, I often read and scorn at the ludicrous uproar about how we should not tell girls to look out for themselves in this dangerously masculine world. Damn right we should! Because, despite all the strides we have made in trying to make the world a safe place for girls, we are still not yet there. It is still a dangerous place. Therefore, the problem is not what we are telling girls; it’s what we are not telling them. We are not telling girls that they are always at risk because, if they are not empowered and grow up to be dependent on men, they will be treated as commodities. If you buy something, you are bound to do with it as you please. The “piece of meat” mentality that men have

towards women is the reason why they take young girls as ‘’wives’’ because, to them, women can’t be more than just carriers of biological organs that please them and bear children for them. However, if we tell girls only to protect themselves and watch out for rapists, without telling them why education is important, and about the need to plan and work towards their socioeconomic empowerment, they will not be able to discern the life skills they need to meander through a toxic male hegemonic society. By ‘’we’’ I am highlighting that if, in the family, there is anyone to tell girls about education, then it should be the older women. How else are they supposed to know? Our focus seems to be too much on telling girls how to dress, how to walk, where to go, what to avoid, and not so much about their empowerment and independence. And, don’t get me wrong, I am of the opinion they do need to know about the dangerous world they are living in, but they also need to know that their lives and safety in the future also depend on their socioeconomic status. Therefore, we must tell girls that economic empowerment and financial independence is the ultimate guarantee of freedom. When girls are encouraged to focus on themselves, and not on men’s needs, or on how they must look to please men, they will be able to lay a solid foundation for their future by focusing on their education and ultimately emancipation. In the context of my argument, I am using the term “education” very broadly. By education, I am referring to the fact that girls should be given a chance, and encouraged, to finish the basic 11 or 12 years of education, and then decide for themselves whether they want to take the academic, creative or another route in their quest for emancipation. By allowing girls to finish school, we give them a chance to grow into young adults and allow their minds to mature. In this way, they will be able to have what I have coined as a “positively selfish attitude”; i.e. focusing on themselves first before they can start thinking about what a husband wants. Women are an integral part of girls’ education because, like my mother, they can form a backbone for their girls and create enabling environments for them to continue or to focus on their education. Simultaneously, if we do not educate girls, we will end up with disempowered women who will most likely not support girls’ education and thus create a vicious cycle of disempowerment and poverty among women and girls. It is not a coincidence that I set a record and came out on top in my high school class, despite coming from one of the poorest families in our community. It is mainly because my mother encouraged my father and the rest of the family to support my education. I was not raised in the ‘’normal’’ way, as other girls in my community were raised. My mum did not force me to do house chores or work in the fields as the other girls did. She encouraged me to read books or to do my homework, and she filled my head with ideas of becoming a professional, driving my own car, and living anywhere I wanted, which seems to have worked. Never at any point did my mother encourage me to view marriage as an achievement in life. Instead, she reminded me that

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“KNOWING FEMINISTS”: Women as role models and champions for girls’ education

marriage is but a choice. Getting married, or not, does not change your life, she would say, but being poor surely will. That is the mentality shift we need, in 2017 as in the past, of seeing girls as human beings, not wives or wives-in-the-making. Today, we are battling child marriages in Africa as one of the leading risk factors which cause girls to drop out of school (Human Rights Watch, 2017). One begins to wonder why girls, who are already in school, are aspiring towards marriage rather than completing their education. African societies are often of bounded livelihoods and communities of people sharing and upholding the same values and beliefs. This has created and proliferated a dangerously polarised environment of “men on top and women at the bottom”.

Girls need much more than the prospect of becoming wives and mothers I posit that it is not that girls do not want the best in life. I believe that everyone wants good things in life. It is that they are getting the wrong type of inspiration. At the same time, no mother or father wants the worst for their child, but it’s a fine line between wanting the best and


knowing what the best really is. I often wonder if parents of girls know what is best for their girls and if they should be blamed for socialising girls to focus on becoming wives and mothers. I don’t believe that parents are setting their girls up for failure because they enjoy it, but that they are shaping and inspiring their girls within the narrow confines of their own knowledge and experiences. Because of the dominant, toxic patriarchal system informing African societies, most parents were raised and groomed to uphold male superiority and encourage female submission. One of the ways of ensuring female submission is to make sure they are not empowered economically and therefore depend on a man all their life. When you depend on someone you have to go by their rules, you respect them, in fact, in some cases, women worship the men who look after them. Many girls are being raised in this toxic environment, and this obscures their view of life. They are not seeing enough empowered women within their immediate social circles. They have no good examples to look up to. It’s a debatable point of view but, unless we have capable soldiers to fight the battles, we will lose the war. African societies are often of bounded livelihoods and communities of people sharing and upholding the same values and beliefs. This has created and proliferated a dangerously polarised environment of “men on top and women at the bottom”. Humans naturally want to please and to be seen as normal within the confines of what is defined and accepted as normal in their community. That is where the danger is because, what is often seen and accepted as normal, is not always the right thing. It is just accepted as such. What we need now is to create a “new normal” in our African societies. In order for this to happen, we need strong agents of change.

Conclusion If we do not empower women economically, and give them a voice in this patriarchal system, we deprive girls of role models and reduce their chances of being supported to pursue education. I am not saying women should not get married. The argument for women’s emancipation is often misconstrued as creating rebels who hate men. I am simply putting forward that marriage is a decision which cannot be made soundly by a vulnerable, hungry and/or disempowered woman. When girls are not empowered, and end up as poor women, a certain kind of desperation results which pushes them to marry just anybody, as long as that person can provide a meal on the table. The mentality that marriage is a way out of poverty needs to be abolished completely, and as a matter of urgency. We must start to teach girls that no one has to be provided for by anyone; that everyone has to provide for themselves, and the starting point is to complete their education. As such, it is not just child marriages which are the problem. It is the whole view of marriage as a financial gift for women that causes even young girls to be dragged into the same net as, of course, they are most vulnerable because of their age. But there are adults who allow that to happen TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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and those adults need to be targeted too. I do not agree that just raising awareness on the need for girls’ education is enough. I know that this is contentious but, rights without means are almost meaningless. Don’t just tell women about their rights; give them the means to exercise them. Give them options, choices and voices. That way they will be better able to protect their girls and look out for their best interests. If women are left vulnerable and insecure they will, of course, transmit negative energy to their girls, or they will be left with other important issues to deal with, for example, fending for their children, and no time to nurture their daughters. When women are made stronger by being able to look after their own financial needs, they develop more powerful, meaningful voices. I believe that can reduce the vulnerability of girls in terms of having the support and protection they need to thrive. Girls need various support systems but, the one which has the potential to yield the most results is that of the immediate female figures in their lives, in most cases, mothers. They just need to have the right knowledge and empowerment to establish their own voices and thereby impart positive energy and guidance to their daughters. If we create this enabling environment, we eradicate an enormous part of the threat to girls’ emancipation. Furthermore, we begin creating

holistic societies, including men who respect and accord to women their real value as equal beings at home and in society, not seeing them as burdens they marry to look after. This multi-faceted approach to preventing the disruption of girls’ education – of upping efforts to send girls to school while tackling the landmines that stand in their way, and creating a fall back wall of empowered women who are ready to prop up their girls all the way to the finish line – is a model which must be pursued aggressively in Africa, especially rural Africa. This can be done and must be done rightly and urgently. It is time for knowing feminists to take the reins.

REFERENCES 1. Human Rights Watch (2017) World Report 2017. Events of 2016. Seven Stories Press: New York. default/files/world_report_download/wr2017-web.pdf (accessed 31 January 2017). 2. Masinga E (2016) How my mother unknowingly raised a feminist. TIME Ideas, 26 August. (accessed 31 January 2017).

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PUBLIC LIBRARIES AS DRIVERS TOWARDS AGENDA 2030: A case study of Lubuto Library Partners Elizabeth Giles and Kasonde Mukonde

Elizabeth Giles is the Training Librarian at Lubuto Library Partners in Lusaka, Zambia. She holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Kasonde Mukonde is the Country Director of Lubuto Library Partners in Lusaka, Zambia. He holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. Twitter handle: @mukondek

Introduction Public libraries are flexible institutions well-positioned to respond to community needs and societal goals, and they have a broad role to play in ending poverty, promoting social justice, and protecting the earth. Lubuto Library Partners (LLP) is an innovative development organisation that builds public libraries’ capacity to create opportunities for equitable education and poverty alleviation. This case study examines how Lubuto Libraries drive progress towards the achievement of Agenda 2030 in Zambia and beyond, serving as a model for the region in the provision of open-access, inclusive educational spaces targeting the most vulnerable children and youths. After nearly four years of funding through the Education Programme of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) to support advocacy for the Lubuto model, LLP was selected as a DREAMS Innovation Challenge winner, working over the next two years to empower adolescent girls to live HIV-free by keeping them in secondary school. Public libraries can be key drivers of Agenda 2030 by serving as versatile platforms that connect communities with information, programmes and services directed towards ending poverty, promoting social justice, protecting the environment, and improving health and education. LLP (2016) is an innovative development organisation that “builds the capacity of public libraries to create opportunities for equitable education and poverty reduction.” LLP offers a model for public libraries that serve as places of connected learning through a holistic process that is “interest driven, socially connected, and tied to school achievement and real-world opportunity” (Ito & Martin, 2013, p. 29). Children and youths in Lubuto Libraries develop educational goals, a sense of community, an outlet for self-expression, and knowledge and skills that empower them both personally and economically. The OSISA Education Programme, in collaboration with Comic Relief, has supported LLP in Zambia to implement a three-year project advocating the Lubuto model, an investment that has led to a


much-strengthened partnership with government, increased stakeholder involvement, and new funding sources that recognise the critical roles libraries play beyond the education sector. One such source is the DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant to reduce the incidence of HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), which LLP was a winner of. Lubuto Libraries offer a uniquely accessible gateway for linking high-risk girls to the type of empowering information and services which enable them to develop life skills, prevent HIV and stay in school, all key to the realisation of DREAMS objectives in the region and deeply connected to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5 of Agenda 2030. LLP’s programmes and services under DREAMS are designed to be adaptable to other libraries in the region, enabling the library profession in Southern Africa to collaboratively champion girls’ health and access to educational opportunities.

About Lubuto Library Partners The mission of LLP is to: empower African children and youth and help them develop the knowledge and skills to reconnect with their culture and community and participate fully in society. Lubuto constructs enduring, indigenously-styled open-access libraries stocked with comprehensive collections of books and appropriate technology (LLP, 2017). These libraries serve as the centre for Lubuto’s programmes, which offer education, information and psychosocial support. LLP programmes also encourage self-expression through reading, music, art, drama, IT, mentoring and other activities. Rather than regimented programming, the Lubuto Library model uses innovative professional library services as adaptable and inclusive tools to support children and youths (LLP, 2016a). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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LLP is based in Zambia and opened its first library at the Fountain of Hope Drop-In Centre in Kamwala, Lusaka, in September 2007. A second library was opened at Ngwerere Basic School in Garden Compound, Lusaka, in November 2010; and a third library in the village of Nabukuyu in the Southern Province in November 2015. These libraries have received well over 700 000 visits and reached some 75 000 young people. Over 10 000 children have participated in Lubuto programmes, over 70 percent are orphans, more than a quarter are out of school, and one in ten comes from the streets. A fourth Lubuto Library is currently being constructed at the Mthunzi Center in peri-urban Lusaka West, with a fifth library slated to open in Choma in 2018. Lubuto Libraries offer holistic programming in which young people and adults from every level of society can participate. Key programmes include LubutoMentoring, a programme providing psychosocial support, life skills, and positive peer interaction; LubutoDrama, a performing arts programme; LubutoArts, a visual arts programme; and LubutoLiteracy, a computer-based literacy programme offered in seven Zambian languages. Other activities include chess, movies, story times and book clubs. New programmes are continually being developed in response to community needs, including early childhood programming, programming for deaf children, and a sustainable agriculture programme. In 2008, LLP and the Ministry of General Education signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which named LLP as a: national partner in providing literacy and library services to Zambia’s orphans and vulnerable children. This MOU complements national plans to ensure equitable access to educational resources and mandates LLP to “provide leadership in establishing standards of good library practice” in order to improve the quality of education in Zambia (Meyers, 2012, p. 2) Since mid-2011, LLP has worked extensively with the Zambia Library Service in the detailed planning of the scale-up of Lubuto Libraries across the country. On 15 May 2014, a new MOU was signed with the Ministry that confirmed their commitment to provide, to the maximum extent possible, the necessary financial support for the building of libraries that meet the needs of orphans, vulnerable children and youths in Zambia. These libraries have a significant role to play in addressing the Agenda 2030 goals on a national level, offering a sustainable and scalable model for holistic and inclusive informal education that includes access to critical information supporting health, human rights and social justice, environmental protection and economic development.

Public libraries as drivers of Agenda 2030 Public libraries are open institutions that provide inclusive opportunities for informal education to the most vulnerable members of society. They are also highly valuable gateways to formal education for children

and youths who have been excluded from the education system by building vital connections to community resources (i.e., schools, scholarships, etc.) (SDG 4). However, public libraries have a broad role to play beyond the educational sphere and are able to act as key drivers in virtually all of the Agenda 2030 goals by setting and achieving targets that respond directly to the needs of their communities. Public libraries are uniquely equipped to respond to the SDGs by: a) Providing equality of access, especially to the most socially and economically marginalised; b) Connecting users with other services and institutions that meet their economic, educational, psychosocial and other needs; c) Providing a range of resources on varied topics, and in varied formats, to ensure maximum access to essential information; and d) Constantly seeking to address the unmet needs of the community through dynamic and innovative programmes and services. Some examples of ways in which these functions of public libraries offer direct support to the achievement of the SDGs are offered below. Public libraries provide equality of access Public libraries offer equitable access to resources, services, programmes and technology (SDG 1). In many countries, they are among the only truly free educational institutions and, consequently, are able to reach members of society who have been excluded from other institutions, such as schools. Public libraries provide information access and services to people irrespective of age, socioeconomic status, gender and ability (SDGs 4, 5 and 10), including access to resources that are prohibitively expensive to individuals, such as Internet access (SDG 9) and other new technologies. Lubuto Libraries conduct extensive, targeted outreaches to vulnerable groups of children and youths, such as orphans, children living on the streets, children with disabilities and adolescent mothers. Public libraries connect youths with other institutions, services and opportunities Public libraries are community information hubs with wide referral networks that can connect the most disenfranchised members of society with information about and connections to basic services (SDG 1), educational opportunities such as scholarships (SDG 4), employment (SDG 8), and community organisations and social service providers dealing with issues such as gender-based violence (GBV) (SDG 5) and child abuse (SDG 16). Lubuto Libraries routinely provide children and youths with connections to scholarship opportunities, social service providers, and NGOs dealing with issues of child welfare. Lubuto Libraries also assist with employment-seeking, along with providing innovative opportunities for the youth to acquire skills in areas such as computer programming, drama and visual arts which are often translated into formal employment.

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Public libraries provide essential information in appropriate formats

The Lubuto Library model advancing SDGs 3 and 5 through DREAMS

Public libraries are deeply responsive institutions that provide information resources in accordance with the needs of their communities. Libraries elicit community requests for information through reference interviews, surveys, focus groups and other means, focused not only on subject areas of interest but issues such as level, language, target audience and format to ensure maximum usability. For example, the Mumuni Library collects and provides essential information in various formats (including information in local languages and multimedia content) on topics such as agriculture (SDG 2) to meet the needs of smallholder farmers and promote sustainability. Lubuto Libraries also collect and provide information on topics such as sexual and reproductive health (SRH) (SDG 5), cultural heritage (SDG 11), children’s rights (SDG 16), climate change, and sustainable use of the environment (SDGs 13, 14 and 15).

In Zambia, the prevalence of HIV infection is 14.3 percent, with women disproportionately infected (16.1 percent versus 12.3 percent) (UNICEF Zambia, n.d.). These rates are climbing most dramatically among girls and women between the ages of 15 and 24 (DREAMS Innovation Challenge, n.d.). Yet, HIV/AIDS is as much a social condition as it is a biomedical one. Research in the region has shown that each additional year of formal education has a protective effect against HIV risk, especially for young women, with the likelihood of contracting HIV dropping by 3.9 percent for each additional year of education completed after Grade 9 (De Neve et al., 2015). However, there are many barriers to education for AGYW in Zambia. LLP’s focus groups have shown that many AGYW in the libraries’ service areas drop out of secondary school due to a lack of financial resources and/or pressure from families, peers or sexual partners into early marriage or transactional sex as forms of financial support, greatly increasing their risk of contracting HIV. Others face negative familial attitudes that restrict their educational possibilities by requiring them to work, perform household chores, or provide childcare for their children and siblings instead of attending school. Many girls in the focus groups also report abuse by parents and caregivers which affects their ability to attend or perform well in school and, ultimately, their health, as research has shown links between GBV and HIV rates among AGYW (Durevall & Lindskog, 2015). Ending discrimination against women, eliminating violence and exploitation, and preventing early marriages by changing social mindsets and keeping girls in school all contribute to achieving gender equality and controlling the spread of HIV. It is in response to these interconnected needs that LLP is offering a series of programmes and services aimed at empowering young women with a support system, SRH knowledge, and determination for education. The DREAMS Challenge is a global partnership between the US President’s Emergency Funds for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Gates Foundation, Girl Effect, Johnson & Johnson, HIV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences Inc. (DREAMS Innovation Challenge, n.d.). Working with partners in ten sub-Saharan African countries, including Zambia, the DREAMS partnership has been delivering a core package of innovations for empowering girls and young women, reducing the risk of early sexual initiation, strengthening families, and mobilising communities for change (DREAMS Innovation Challenge, n.d.). In 2016, three partners in the DREAMS partnership decided to launch the DREAMS Innovation Challenge to provide rapid interventions not covered in the core package (ibid). These include keeping girls in secondary school as well as linking men to services. The DREAMS Challenge directly addresses SDG 3, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” and particularly target 3.3 which aims to eradicate AIDS and other communicable diseases by 2030

Public libraries are responsive to the critical needs of their communities Public libraries are not static information providers. They are dynamic institutions that constantly seek to understand the situations of the communities they serve and to respond appropriately. The most pressing needs of the community are the most pressing concerns of the public library. This extends far beyond education to include needs related to social welfare, poverty and economic inclusion, social justice, and health. For instance, in Southern Africa, 75 percent of all new HIV infections occur among AGYW (DREAMS Innovation Challenge, n.d.). The need for information, programmes and services to address the sexual health information needs of girls and young women as a key component of promoting gender equality is clear (SDG 5), and libraries serving children and the youth have a responsibility to respond in innovative ways. The need for information, programmes and services to address the sexual health information needs of girls and young women as a key component of promoting gender equality is clear (SDG 5), and libraries serving children and the youth have a responsibility to respond in innovative ways. It is through this ongoing cycle of evaluating community needs, setting goals for service and information provision, and implementing new services and programmes that public libraries are able to advance the goals of Agenda 2030 in ways that are uniquely efficient, inclusive and locally responsive.


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(UN-DESA, 2016a). Additionally, the DREAMS Challenge directly addresses SDG 5 (achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls). The public library, as a platform for health information, programming and services, is the central innovation proposed by LLP in the DREAMS Innovation Challenge. It is the libraries’ reach to out-of-school and otherwise extremely marginalised girls and young women that set them apart from clinics, schools and other institutional frameworks through which health interventions are traditionally delivered. Under DREAMS, Lubuto Libraries will offer: 1. Sustainable scholarship support; 2. Role models, peer-to-peer all-male mentoring, and family mentoring; 3. Comprehensive and proactive health information and referral services; 4. Family literacy programmes for adolescent mothers and their young children; and 5. A platform for SRH programming and research. LLP’s DREAMS solutions will be available through all Lubuto Libraries, and are designed to be adopted by other libraries as well as other community, health and education centres in the region. These LLP solutions are described in more detail below.

Solution: Sustainably providing complete scholarship support to AGYW Poverty presents a fundamental barrier to secondary school enrolment in Zambia, where secondary schools require tuition, uniforms, books and supplies at an average cost of approximately US$ 200 annually, according to costs calculated from LLP scholarship recipients. These fees are out of reach for many families, and girls from LLP focus groups also report that sudden crises (such as the death of a parent, unemployment or divorce) and unanticipated financial hardships often force families to withdraw their daughters from school. Many girls drop out of school for several years at a time in order to raise the money needed to return to school, face increasing pressure to drop out permanently, marry early, or engage in transactional sex. The financial resources to stay in school are critical to the success of other interventions intended to strengthen girls’ resilience and determination for education. Access to education through scholarships is a target under SDG 4, “Ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning for all” (UN-DESA, 2016b). LLP’s crowdsourced scholarship programme will provide financial support for tuition, uniforms and textbooks that will enable girls who would otherwise drop out of school to stay enrolled, and to re-enrol girls who have dropped out due to financial

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hardships. The libraries already act as gateways for children and youths seeking health, education or social service referrals, and the increasing number of scholarship requests received from out-of-school girls have demonstrated the need for the development of a formalised scholarship programme to manage the complex logistics of securing school placements. The scholarship opportunities will be advertised to girls through library programmes and extensive community outreach and will be granted on the basis of need. Overcoming the financial barriers will enable hundreds of girls to stay in, or return to, secondary school, protecting them from destructive pressures (i.e., early marriage and pregnancy, and transactional and intergenerational sex) that threaten their health and safety as drop-outs. The libraries already act as gateways for children and youths seeking health, education or social service referrals, and the increasing number of scholarship requests received from out-ofschool girls have demonstrated the need for the development of a formalised scholarship programme to manage the complex logistics of securing school placements.

expressed the need for “encouragement… from all angles”, and stated that “Then you find that one will be able to make it in their studies because there is no one discouraging you.” In particular, girls stressed the importance of support from peers, parents and other supportive adults. Another girl emphasised the centrality of “examples of people that have made it in life so that we get motivated.” To offer girls a comprehensive support system and develop their potential as leaders (SDG 5), LLP will build on its existing mentoring and outreach programmes to empower girls with the necessary life skills to make healthy choices, and develop resilience, self-confidence and determination. The mentoring programme will strengthen adolescent girls’ social safety net by providing small-group mentoring led by female role models and horizon-broadening field trips to visit successful women and inspire determination for education. Exposure to female leaders is central to the mentoring programme as it raises the career aspirations of adolescent girls and fosters increased educational attainment (Beaman et al., 2012). In preliminary focus groups, only one out of 31 participants was able to name a single organisation (besides LLP) helping girls in Lusaka. Community field trips, presentations and programming from other organisations will build awareness of opportunities, services and programmes available to girls in the wider community. Peer-to-peer mentoring and training is built into the all-girls cohort in order to facilitate the development of future leaders, who will ensure programme sustainability by co-leading small groups alongside a role model mentor in subsequent sessions. Sexual health interventions focusing exclusively on girls and women are less effective than those recognising the significance of reshaping men’s attitudes towards safer sex at the same time (Silberschmidt, 2001; Dworkin et al., 2011). A boys’ mentoring cohort will cover SRH, GBV prevention, progressive gender norms and related topics (LLB, 2016b). The programme will also incorporate participation in field trips that place a particular emphasis on exposure to men working towards egalitarian gender norms and women in leadership positions, as exposure to female leaders has been shown to change men’s stereotyped views on gender roles (Beaman et al., 2009). To extend the content of mentoring sessions to the home, parents and caregivers of participants in the all-girls and all-boys cohort will attend monthly family mentoring sessions alongside their children. The mobilisation of parental and caregiver support for education is crucial to the academic success and emotional well-being of girls, who, in LLP focus groups, have asserted their need for their parents “to show love and care” in order to remain motivated in their educational pursuits.

Solution: Role model, peer-to-peer, all-male and family mentoring

Solution: Holistic and proactive health information and referral services

While financial support is a crucial starting point, alone it is not enough to overcome the many factors that mitigate against the successful completion of secondary school for AGYW. In LLP focus groups, one girl

There are few safe spaces in Zambia where adolescents can access unbiased SRH information for free (Mburu et al., 2013). While a national sexual health curriculum exists, it is rarely implemented in schools,


TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

and many girls primarily receive information that is inaccurate, moralising, or intended to frighten them (ibid). Lubuto Libraries will offer privacy to youth seeking sensitive information on SRH and GBV by means of books, online resources, film screenings, and presentations by health organisations. They will also provide crucial connections to services and support (including HIV testing and post-GBV care) through referrals and partnerships. Solution: Family literacy programme In Zambia, 16 000 adolescent girls fall pregnant every year (World Bank, 2015). Almost all of these girls subsequently drop out of school, and the majority never re-enter (Save the Children, 2010). Educational support services to facilitate school re-entry for young mothers are rare but greatly needed, particularly for girls who drop out while still in basic school and have limited literacy skills. Daily family literacy programming will offer young mothers a chance to further their literacy skills in supportive small groups. Research demonstrates that parents persist longer in family literacy programmes than in traditional literacy programmes (Handel & Goldsmith, 1988), develop positive attitudes towards education (Duff & Adams, 1981; Philliber, Spillman & King, 1996), and improve their reading achievement (Darling & Hayes, 1989; Handel & Goldsmith, 1988). In conjunction with adult literacy instruction, the family literacy programme teaches young mothers how to engage their children through shared reading and songs, rhymes, and games drawn from oral traditions in Zambia. This programme, linked with scholarship provisions, empowers young mothers to return to school with increased determination for education in their own lives and the lives of their children. Solution: Providing a platform for SRH programming and research Research organisations struggle to reach out-of-school children and other vulnerable children in studies that take place through schools and clinics. There is a demonstrated need for research sites that allow SRH researchers access to the most vulnerable groups of AGYW, just as there is value in connecting AGYW to new, research-driven programmes and informational services. Lubuto Libraries provide such organisations with a more neutral environment that schools and clinics cannot while providing direct informational and self-esteem-raising benefits to girls who participate in research activities and programmes.

Conclusion Public libraries are well-positioned to respond to community needs and societal aims in a flexible and timely manner. They have a broad role to play in Agenda 2030 and meeting the SDGs of ending poverty, promoting education and social justice, and protecting the earth. The Lubuto


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Library model proactively demonstrates the ways in which public libraries serving children and youths can comprehensively address the SDGs through access to information resources, equitable services and inclusive programming for the general public as well as targeted outreach to the most vulnerable. This model – developed and sustained through OSISA funding which supported advocacy and the creation of meaningful partnerships at the community, national, regional, and international levels – is designed for regional scalability. As a DREAMS Innovation Challenge winner, LLP will build on more than 10 years of experience bringing dynamic library services to children and the youth in Zambia. By designing programmes and services through the DREAMS partnership to keep girls in secondary school – programmes and services that are adaptable to other libraries, educational institutions and NGOs in the region – LLP is facilitating collaboration within and beyond the library profession in the pursuit of health, equitable educational access, and empowerment for girls across Southern Africa.

REFERENCES 1. Beaman L, Chattopadhyay R, Duflo E, Pande R & Topalova P (2009) Powerful women: Does exposure reduce bias? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(4): 1497-1540. openaccess-disseminate/1721.1/57903 (accessed 6 May 2016). 2. Beaman L, Duflo E, Pande R & Topalova P (2012) Female leadership raises aspirations and educational attainment for girls: A policy experiment in India. Science, 335(6068): 582-586. http:// (accessed 1 August 2016).

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3. Darling S & Hayes A (1989) Breaking the Cycle of Illiteracy: The Kenan family literacy model program. Louisville, KY: National Center for Family Literacy. 4. De Neve J, Fink G, Subramanian S, Moyo S & Bor J (2015) Length of secondary schooling and risk of HIV infection in Botswana: Evidence from a natural experiment. The Lancet Global Health, 3(August): e470-477. langlo/PIIS2214-109X(15)00087-X.pdf (accessed 1 August 2016). 5. DREAMS Innovation Challenge (n.d.) About the Challenge. https:// (accessed 1 August 2016). 6. Duff R & Adams M (1981) Parents and teachers: Partners in improving reading skills. The Clearinghouse, 54: 207-209. 7. Durevall D & Lindskog A (2015) Intimate partner violence and HIV in ten sub-Saharan African countries: What do the demographic and health surveys tell us? The Lancet Global Health, 3(January): e34-43. (accessed 1 August 2016). 8. Dworkin S, Dunbar M, Krishnan S, Hatcher A & Sawires S (2011) Uncovering tensions and capitalizing on synergies in HIV/AIDS and antiviolence programs. American Journal of Public Health, 101(6): 995-1003. PMC3093292/ (accessed 6 May 2016). 9. Handel R & Goldsmith E (1988) Intergenerational literacy: A community college program. Journal of Reading, 32: 250-256. 10. Ito M & Martin C (2013) Connected learning and the future of libraries. Young Adult Library Services, 12(1): 29-32. 11. LLP (2017) About Lubuto Library Partners. LLP, Washington DC. (accessed 29 January 2017). 12. LLP (2016a) What we do. LLP, Washington DC. https://www.lubuto. org/what-we-do (accessed 29 January 2017). 13. LLP (2016b) DREAMS. LLP, Washington DC. https://www.lubuto. org/dreams (accessed 29 January 2017).


14. Meyers JK (2012) Outreach to vulnerable youth in Africa through partnerships for innovative programming: The Lubuto Library Project. Paper presented at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Helsinki, 11-17 August. past-wlic/2012/160-meyers-en.pdf (accessed 29 January 2017). 15. Mburu G, Hodgson I, Teltschik A, Ram M, Haamujompa C, Bajpai D & Mutali B (2013) Rights-based services for adolescents living with HIV: Adolescent self-efficacy and implications for health systems in Zambia. Reproductive Health Matters, 21(41): 176-185. (accessed 6 May 2016). 16. Philliber W, Spillman R & King R (1996) Consequences of family literacy for adults and children: Some preliminary findings. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 39: 558-565. 17. Save the Children (2010). Situation analysis of children’s rights in Zambia. Save the Children, Lusaka. 18. Silberschmidt M (2001) Disempowerment of men in rural and urban East Africa: Implications for male identity and sexual behavior. World Development 29(4): 657–71. http://community. (accessed 3 May 2016). 19. UN-DESA (2016a) Sustainable Development Goal 3. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. https:// (accessed 29 January 2016). 20. UN-DESA (2016b) Sustainable Development Goal 4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. https:// (accessed 29 January 2016). 21. UNICEF Zambia (n.d.) UNICEF Zambia fact sheets: HIV and AIDS. Available at: (accessed 2 August 2016). 22. World Bank (2015) Preventing early marriage and teenage pregnancy in Zambia. News feature, 19 May. http://www. (accessed 1 August 2016).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE INTERFACE OF EDUCATION, health and other social services for women and girls Naomi Sophia Mnthali Naomi Mnthali is an educationist who has worked in the field of sexuality education and HIV and AIDS for over 20 years. She holds two Masters degrees from the University of Botswana: an MEd in Research and Evaluation, and an MEd in Counselling and Human Services. She is currently studying towards a PhD in Assessment and Quality Assurance at the University of Pretoria and her research topic is on the assessment of life skills acquisition for learners in Botswana. Naomi currently works in international development, lives in Pretoria, and has a daughter.

Introduction According to the UN (2016), some of the “grounds for hope” in achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls are the fact that “More girls are in school now compared to in 2000”, and “Most regions have reached gender parity in primary education.” In almost all areas of development, education is paramount and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 to 5 all speak directly to the role of education in achieving these goals. In order to eradicate poverty, end hunger, maintain good health and well-being, and achieve quality education and gender equality, people have to be mobilised, and they must recognise the part they play in achieving these goals. Raising the voice and agency of women and girls is particularly important for achieving the development goals for them and for their families, communities and societies (Klugman et al., 2014). One main area central to women’s lives is that of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) which is gaining momentum in the education sector through the provision of SRH education, offered as part of life skills education in some countries. This article highlights the intersection between education, health and other social services. It examines the centrality of education in raising the voice and agency of girls and women in addressing the provision of healthcare, social services and, specifically, SRH services to women and girls. The author also presents the argument that education cannot be seen as an exclusive entity confined to the formal or informal schooling system but it has to be integrated into all development areas to empower women and girls. As a means of raising the agency of women and girls, education has to move away from the traditional pedagogical approach and towards a more participatory and inclusive approach. The case of Mabilesi, an adolescent from sub-Saharan Africa, illustrates this position clearly.

Case study Mabilesi (not her real name) is a 15-year-old girl living with her parents in a remote village in a country in sub-Saharan Africa. She attends a primary school which is about 10 km from her home. Her mother is in her early 30s, and her father is around the same age. Mabilesi has three

siblings, all of whom are much younger than her. With the last born, her mother had a difficult pregnancy, and she was sick most of the time. There is a health post in the village, but most people do not trust the service and prefer traditional doctors. When it comes to childbirth, there is an elderly woman who is said to be an expert midwife and is called upon when it is time for delivery. Luckily, Mabilesi’s mother was able to deliver the baby succesfully, but she remained in bed for two more weeks, unable to get up and work in the fields or do any housework. Mabilesi had to help out before going to school – fetching water, getting her siblings ready for school, and making sure there was food for her father when he came back from the fields. At times, she would feel overwhelmed by all her duties and would decide not to go to school. Her mother was too weak to question her, and her father would have left for the fields very early in the morning. Later, Mabilesi was surprised when her mother, whose health had since improved, told her that she may have to stop going to school completely. The family did not have enough money for her school fees, and there were three other children to take care of. She was now sufficiently educated and old enough to get married. Her father had made up his mind. He would let her know who she would get married to and when the marriage was going to take place. Mabilesi is not sure of what to think. She enjoys school, but sometimes she finds it too far to walk to and from. She is not sure if it is worth the additional stress. She is also not sure about marriage. It sounds scary, but most of her friends have started talking about marriage, and they make it sound exciting. Maybe having a family of her own will complete her as a woman and everyone will respect her.

The various facets of education “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” This is how the field of education is perceived by many. In other words, teachers are those who are not able to do anything else, but they have knowledge and so they teach. What is not acknowledged is the fact that, in order to “do”, a person has to learn how. This is where the

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teacher comes in. Who is the teacher? Do we distinguish between the person in the classroom in front of young learners following a prescribed curriculum and the person in front of a group of adults in a community hall or even under a tree using flipchart paper or a flip poster to impart skills, for example, related to a specific development goal? Those in the classroom may regard themselves as teachers while those working with a group of adults may call themselves a number of different names ranging from facilitator or trainer, to community mobiliser or health worker, among others, depending on the context. What can be agreed upon is that the work they are engaged in is teaching, the hallmark of education. Education is regarded as the vehicle for imparting knowledge, skills and attitudes on any topic including mathematics, science, languages and health. It should be noted that education here refers to both formal and informal education. The formal education system is that which takes place in a formally structured system where learners go through a graded system. In some countries, this starts at the Reception phase (Grade Nought or Grade R) and runs to Grade Seven for primary schools. Learners then proceed to secondary school, which may run from Grade Eight (or Form One) to Grade 12 (or Form Five). In other countries, the system differs, but the period of time for primary and secondary education is an average of 12 years. Formal education may continue at tertiary education institutions for a certain period, depending on the field and qualification, among other factors. Informal education generally takes place at the community level, is less structured than the formal schooling system, and addresses a specific need. Increasingly, informal education is used to address issues of development including the provision of healthcare services and information related to those services, educating people on their voting rights, educating women on their SRH rights, and educating people on social services available in the community.

The centrality of education in the provision of health and other services for girls and women Research has shown, and continues to show, positive health outcomes for people with higher levels of education compared to those with lower levels of education. In reviewing studies on the impact of education on health, Cutler and Lleras-Muney (2006, p. 1) found that, “in 1999, the age-adjusted mortality rate of high school dropouts ages 25 to 64 was more than twice as much as the mortality rates of those with some college.” In other words, education plays a significant role in decreasing mortality rates. This is reiterated by the fact that “individuals with higher levels of education are less likely to die within 5 years” and they have “lower morbidity from the most common acute and chronic diseases” (Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006, p. 3). For developing countries, education has the added advantage of improving life expectancy, and maternal education is strongly associated with infant and child health. As Akbulut-Yuksel and Kugler (2016, p. 6) found in their review of relevant


research, “More educated mothers are less likely to have low or very low birth weight babies, and their babies are less likely to die within their first year of life.” Therefore, in pursuit of the SDGs and their various targets related to health in developing countries, education has to be part of the process. The role of education in the provision of services cannot be overestimated. This includes education on healthcare and nutrition-related services, as well as social grants and security issues. The centrality of education is patently evident in Agenda 2030 and all the SDGs, but is specifically highlighted here with regard to the following development goals: SDG 1 End poverty in all its forms and everywhere. SDG 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. SDG 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. SDG 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all. SDG 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (UN, 2016). Besides education, eradicating poverty, ending hunger, maintaining good health and well-being, and achieving quality education and gender equality, requires the mobilisation of people and the harnessing of their voice. Individuals need to recognise the part they need to play in achieving these goals. One area which is central to women’s lives is that of SRH which is gaining momentum in the education sector through the provision of sexuality and life skills education. Research shows that women and girls’ SRH is important for achieving the SDGs mentioned above because it is linked to lower birth rates, decreased maternal deaths, lower HIV infection rates, higher levels of education and higher productivity (Madzimure, 2015). Women and girls’ SHR needs highlight the intersection between education, health and other social services.

Education lifts the voices and agency of women and girls Klugman et al. (2014, p. 1) point out that raising the voice and agency of women and girls can “yield broad development dividends for them and for their families, communities, and societies.” They provide the following definition for agency: “Agency is the capacity to make decisions about one’s own life and act on them to achieve a desired outcome, free of violence, retribution, or fear” (ibid). Agency is also strongly connected to empowerment. Voice is “the capacity to speak up and be heard, from homes to houses of parliament, and to shape and share in discussions, discourse, and decisions that affect them” (Klugman et al., 2014, p. 2), whether this be on issues which affect individual women or groups of women and their families. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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Education plays a very central role in raising the voice and agency of girls and women in addressing the provision of health, specifically SRH services and other social services to women and girls. Through education, women and girls are able to understand how their sexual reproductive system works from a biological perspective, and how it links to their personal and community values and is affected by social norms. Through education, women and girls are able to develop skills on how to respond to and deal with demands on their physical being which are detrimental to their health. In this regard, education cannot be seen as an exclusive entity confined to the formal and/or informal schooling system. It has to be integrated into all development areas in order to empower women and girls. UNESCO released a fact sheet in 2013 as part of the EFA Global Monitoring Report. In it, the following facts are presented related to the need to provide health services to women and girls: “Educated women are less likely to die in childbirth”, and, “In sub-Saharan Africa, if all women completed primary education, maternal deaths would be reduced by 70 percent, saving almost 50,000 lives” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 2). To explore this further from a purely health perspective, this means that, when a girl drops out of school before completing primary school, they are likely to marry too early – before their physical bodies are ready to take on childbirth. Girls with higher levels of education are less likely to get married at an early age. If all girls had a primary education, there would be 14% fewer child marriages. If all girls had a secondary education, there would be two-thirds fewer child marriages (UNESCO, 2013, p. 2). However, getting married brings inevitable and heavy burdens beyond pregnancy and childbirth. From a social perspective, these

girls do not have the voice or agency to refuse marriage or prevent pregnancy once they are married by virtue of their being children. “In developing countries, pregnancy-related causes are the largest contributor to the mortality of girls ages 15 to 19 – nearly 70,000 deaths annually” (Klugman et al., 2014, p. 3). Education provides a safety-net for girls and a developmental path which allows them to grow physically, mentally and emotionally without endangering their health. This links to the fact that girls with higher levels of education are less likely to have children at an early age. Ten percent fewer girls would become pregnant while under the age of 17 in sub-Saharan Africa if they have a primary education (UNESCO, 2013, p. 2). Close to 60 percent fewer girls under 17 years in sub-Saharan Africa would fall pregnant if they complete their secondary education (ibid). Teenage pregnancy is a serious problem in sub-Saharan African countries. It is largely a result of ignorance and the inability of young girls to navigate societal norms and make decisions about their own future. Education helps to increase knowledge and raise the voice and agency of girls which will enable them to navigate social and cultural expectations more successfully. “Educating girls can save millions of lives. If all women had a primary education, there would be 15% fewer child deaths. If all women had a secondary education, child deaths would be cut in half, saving 3 million lives” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 2). This underscores the fact that educating girls is beneficial, not only for the girls themselves, but for society and humanity in general. On the one hand, educated women are able to protect the lives of their children better and thus reduce the number of child deaths. On the other hand, by reducing the number of girls who fall pregnant at a young age, education ensures that there are fewer young girls dying in childbirth as well.

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THE INTERFACE OF EDUCATION, health and other social services for women and girls

improved health and safety of children. However, the gains of education are affected by the nature and quality of services provided. If there are no health services for women and girls, education will obviously not be fully effective in empowering them to access these services. If they have no access to food, clean water and security, education will also not be fully effective. Herein lies the interface between education and health and other services. Education encourages the knowledge, attitudes, skills and values to access services which are valuable to women and girls’ lives. However, these services must be available and accessible to women and girls for education to be effective.

A paradigm shift in pedagogical approaches

It is an established fact that “Mothers’ education improves child nutrition. If all women had a primary education, 1.7 million children would be saved from stunting from malnutrition. If all women had a secondary education, 12 million children would be saved from stunting from malnutrition” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 2). The more educated a woman is, the more likely that her children will grow up healthy, and the chances of malnutrition deaths are significantly lowered. “Malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than a third of global child deaths” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 3). This is due to the fact that educated women have knowledge on what constitutes a balanced, healthy meal, and they are able to earn an income which will help provide adequate nutrition for their children. Mothers’ education improves child nutrition. If all women had a primary education, 1.7 million children would be saved from stunting from malnutrition. If all women had a secondary education, 12 million children would be saved from stunting from malnutrition. Educating girls is vital to ensuring lower birth rates. “In sub-Saharan Africa, women with no education have 6.7 births, on average. The figure falls to 5.8 for those with primary education and more than halves, to 3.9, for those with secondary education” (UNESCO, 2013, p. 2) . This is because education shows women the importance of having smaller but healthier families and links the concept of a financially stable, healthy family to having fewer children. It is clear that education is imperative to improving the lives of women and girls. It is also clear that educating girls and women ensures the


By improving knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of women and girls to access services, education raises the voice and agency of girls and women in society. This calls for girls and women to be empowered in having a say in their own lives and what affects their health and security. To do this, those in the education field are beginning to recognise the need to move away from traditional pedagogical approaches which assume that those who are being taught have a “blank slate” and need to be “told” or given information on how to do things or what to know. In developing skills and attitudes, participatory pedagogies are proving to be more effective than using the lecture method. Participatory methods are group discussions and presentations, buzz groups, role-playing, debates, mini-research, song, dance and poetry (see, for example, Malawi Institute of Education (MIE), 2004). These methodologies are aimed at enhancing experiential learning as learners develop skills in simulated environments which are safe. According to UNESCO (2015, p. 24), pedagogical approaches to sex education, “such as learner-centred methodologies, development of skills and values, group learning and peer engagement,” are proving to be “transformative approaches that impact on learning and education more widely.”

Application: Raising the voice and agency of girls and women In the story of Mabilesi at the beginning of the article, we see the limited voice and agency of both Mabilesi and her mother. Mabilesi attended school, but it is far from her home and, therefore, her attendance is intermittent. Limited accessibility of schools encourages dropping out. Mabilesi’s parents also have limited education and, to them, pragmatism dictates that their daughter marry and ease the burden on the family. Mabilesi herself feels obliged to accept her parents’ decision, even though she is not sure that she wants to get married. She has no voice and her agency is limited. For Mabilesi’s mother, cultural and societal beliefs interfere with her accessing health services available to the village. This is a clear case of a lack of awareness. If she had attended pre-natal classes, she may have been given information on SRH and taught how to prevent further TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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pregnancies after the second or third child. She may have been examined and information provided on her health status and how this would be impacted by more pregnancies. In this case, for Mabilesi, access to school needs to be improved. Schools should be more accessible to girls to maximise attendance. Use of participatory pedagogies at school will help Mabilesi think more critically about what her parents are proposing regarding marriage at such a young age. Girls like Mabilesi will be able to examine the value of education for their future and set specific goals for themselves. They will be able to find their own voice and engage their elders in a more assertive manner, explaining why they want and need to stay in school for the better of themselves, their future families and the community. Mabilesi and girls in similar situations can develop agency by learning how to make informed decisions and act on them in future. Schools need to engage traditional leaders in the area to educate the community on the need for children to attend school regularly, and why it is important for both girls and boys to stay in school and complete their secondary education. The situation of Mabilesi’s mother demonstrates the need for education on key healthcare services for mothers. The health post in the area should raise awareness through campaigns which educate villagers – both men and women – on the importance of medical assistance, health matters, the physical dangers of child marriage, among other issues.

Conclusion This article has shown the interface between education, health and other services for women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa and made a case for the centrality of education in the provision of health and other services. The author has demonstrated the key role education plays in raising the voices and agency of girls and women by providing knowledge and developing the skills, attitudes and values needed for the success of these services. Education is central to the achievement of SDG 1 to 5 in order to mobilise people, harness their voice and agency, empower them to make better decisions, and access services which will lead to the development of communities and individuals. The argument advanced is also that services must be available and accessible

for girls and women to utilise them. As the world advances towards 2030, pedagogical approaches in education need to move more towards participatory methods so as to effectively empower women and girls and ensure they truly benefit.

REFERENCES 1. Akbulut-Yuksel M & Kugler AD (2016) Intergenerational persistence of health in the US: Do immigrants get healthier as they assimilate? IZA Discussion Paper No. 9728, February. http:// (accessed 4 February 2017). 2. Cutler DM & Lleras-Muney A (2006) Education and health: Evaluating theories and evidence. National Bureau of Economic Research working paper no. 12352, June. papers/w12352.pdf (accessed 4 February 2017). 3. Klugman J, Hanmer L, Twigg S, Hasan T, McCleary-Sills J & Santamaria J (2014). Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity. World Bank Group: Washington DC. (accessed 4 February 2017). 4. Madzimure PC (2015) Sexual and reproductive education among girls and young women in Africa: Progress, challenges and way forward. Paper presented at the Seventh African Population Conference, Johannesburg, 30 November to 4 December. uaps2015. (accessed 17 February 2017). 5. MIE (2004) Participatory Teaching and Learning: A Guide to Methods and Techniques. MIE: Domasi, Malawi. http://www. pdf (accessed 4 February 2017). 6. UN (2016) Sustainable Development Goals. sustainabledevelopment (accessed 4 February 2017). 7. UNESCO (2015) Emerging Evidence, Lessons and Practice in Comprehensive Sexuality Education: A Global Review. UNESCO: Paris. pdf (accessed 4 February 2017). 8. UNESCO (2013) Girls’ education – the facts. EFA Global Monitoring Report fact sheet. October. (accessed 4 February 2017).

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EDUCATION POLICY ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPACTS in Africa: A case study of access to feminine hygiene products for the girl child in Zimbabwe Maxim Murungweni Maxim Murungweni holds an MSc in Development Studies and a BSc (Hons) in Social Work. He has ten years of experience in humanitarian work and research, having worked for Save the Children and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Maxim has been a focal person in Zimbabwean civil society, specifically in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). He has written articles published on the ACERWC website.

Introduction Despite numerous efforts to promote girl child education in Zimbabwe and the implementation of the Zimbabwe National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy (2010-2015) (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2009), the active participation of the girl child in education is still hampered by menstruation hygiene management challenges post-2015. This paper explores how menstruation hygiene management challenges have impacted on the education of the Zimbabwean girl child. Findings reveal that girls are not able to access feminine hygiene products and this is a health issue. However, it should be addressed as an education issue as it has negative impacts on the education of the girl child in Africa (Chebii, 2012). The lack of feminine hygiene products and sanitary facilities results in a range of negative effects, particularly decreased attendance and class participation, lack of concentration, constrained interaction with peers and teachers, and a lack of confidence, among others (ibid). The need to lobby the government to provide free feminine hygiene products to every girl, as part of education services, the prioritisation of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) at all schools, and the construction of girl-friendly sanitary facilities are some of the recommendations made. This paper advocates for the provision of feminine hygiene products for the girl child in schools, as a necessary strategy to enable girls to more fully enjoy the right to quality education. Drawn from the lived experiences of the Zimbabwean girl child, the paper illustrates how the biological process of menstruation can be an impediment to girls in terms of accessing education. Policies continue to be blind to this reality. In Zimbabwe, the discourse on the menstrual cycle of girls has generally been taken as a health issue. Therefore, policies on education have not prioritised it. There is a need for policy to address the provision of hygiene products to girl children for them to access education, with actual implementation plans, monitoring mechanisms and budgetary indications as priorities. An implementation plan would provide a mechanism for ensuring that policy is put into operation, whereas a monitoring plan will provide a checklist and evaluation tool to assess the effectiveness of policy implementation. These key elements are not clearly specified in current adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) and education policies with regard


to access to hygiene products. This would be beneficial for girls’ access to education.

The problem An analysis of the education policy landscape in Zimbabwe shows that access to feminine hygiene products for the girl child is hardly taken into consideration. As a result, there are no deliberate, sustained efforts within the education system to provide hygiene products for the girl child (Mavudzi, 2015). In reality, the menstrual situation is a terrible one for many girls in Zimbabwe (Nyamanhindi, 2013). Instead of celebrating their transition to womanhood, the lack of sanitary products causes girls to drop out of school, and many remain outside the education system, limiting the possibilities for them to contribute meaningfully to development processes in their country and beyond (Mavudzi, 2015). There are various impediments to the implementation of the ASRH strategy, among other instruments that should improve girls’ access to hygiene management and services. Firstly, donor assistance regarding product and service provision, such as sanitary pads and WASH services, are channelled through CSOs and not the Ministry of Health (Masiyiwa & Makoni, 2015). Such efforts tend to be uncoordinated and depend entirely on donor focus. The private sector and the donor community have come together to make headway by contributing to cost-effective hygiene products such as the My Pads initiative. The My Pads initiative is a partnership between SNV and the SMEs business network, which is producing reusable pads for the rural market (SNV, 2015). However, once funding ends, programmes cease. Secondly, disjointed coordination results in the failure to coordinate implementation of policies, as various stakeholders have differing objectives and take policy directives that suit the outcomes they are anticipating to achieve. Thirdly, there is no universal implementation, monitoring and evaluation plan to support the ASRH strategy. A standard implementation, monitoring and evaluation system ensures that all stakeholders keep track of their strategic objectives and ensure service delivery. The monitoring and evaluation plan would provide a check to ensure that implementation of the strategy is being carried out efficiently and effectively. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

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In the 2006 amendment of the 1979 Education Act and related regulations, Zimbabwe took a progressive step forward by making WASH facilities in schools mandatory by law (Government of Zimbabwe, 2006). The amendments oblige schools to have at least two blocks of toilets for girls and boys. However, menstrual hygiene management is not given special attention in the Act or the 2006 Regulation. To remedy this gap, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council has a structure to address menstrual hygiene management through its youth centres, as well as a reproductive health manual, but lacks the financial resources for its implementation. In a study conducted by SNV (2015), it was noted that 53.3 percent of teachers and school authorities stated that there was no policy on menstrual hygiene management, and menstrual hygiene management was not covered by the Health Act. Furthermore, 36.7 percent of these respondents were unsure whether such policies and guidance existed (ibid). There has been some action taken by legislators and policymakers on hygiene management for girls in Zimbabwe. For instance, the Girls in Control project, with support from SNV, has engaged with policymakers to the table the issue of menstrual hygiene management for parliamentary discussion. On 8 July 2014, the then Proportional Representation Legislator, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, moved a motion in the National Assembly advocating for the removal of duties on female hygiene products (SNV, 2015). Other efforts have been taken by various NGOs, like World Vision International (WVI, 2015), through the Improving Girls’ Access through Transforming Education (IGATE) initiative and other integrated multi-sectorial approaches, but policy gaps regarding hygiene management and access to education for girls is still a challenge. This is due to the fact that, in most cases, funding targeting hygiene management is channelled through CSOs and not the Ministry of Health (Masiyiwa & Makoni, 2015). A survey conducted by Vana VeZimbabwe (VAVEZI) in schools rural Zimbabwe showed that 98 percent of the girls surveyed needed support with feminine hygiene products (Jeremani, 2014). Fifty-two (52) percent of all schools had no doors for their toilets, 92 percent had no working hand-washing facilities, and 99 percent had no soap (ibid).In such a context it is impossible for girls in rural areas to manage their menstrual period while in school and this is a human rights violation. The cost of sanitary towels is an additional challenge and it was found that girls in rural areas “use unhygienic alternatives to sanitary pads, such as newspapers, cow dung, sand and leaves, which puts them at a huge risk of infection” (Ndlovu, 2015), likely out of desperation and a lack of knowledge on healthy ways to meet their hygiene needs. This is disturbing evidence of gross neglect of girls’ sanitary needs and a major impediment to their attending school regularly. There is a need to restore the dignity of girls by ensuring that they have access to proper menstrual hygiene management. Feminine hygiene products must be provided as well as facilities for them to be changed in privacy. The basics of soap, clean water and a means of disposal for

used menstrual management materials are also required. These barriers must be removed for girls to access education in the same way as their male counterparts.

Not merely a health issue There is a clear case for girls’ menstrual issues being more than just a health concern. One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that has been prioritised by Zimbabwe is SDG 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all” (UN-DESA, 2016; Poverty Reduction Forum Trust, 2016). It is in line with this SDG that menstruation hygiene management of the girl child be addressed as an education issue. For the nation to achieve SDG 4, all challenges faced by the girl child must be addressed. The other SDGs that are linked to the concerns of girls’ menstrual hygiene management issues are SDG 3 that obligates states to ensure healthy lives for all, SDG 5 which strives for the achievement of gender equality, and SDG 6 which advocates for access to water and sanitation for all (UN, 2016). This indicates that it is a political, economic and development issue, and one that will shape and influence how far developing countries such as Zimbabwe will go in achieving the aspirations of Agenda 2030. This is because education rights have economic, social and cultural repercussions. They are part of a cluster of rights which includes the right to health services, social security and to work. As such, access to this right influences how individuals will participate in their country’s social, economic, political and other spheres. Similarly, any barrier to accessing education should be treated cross-sectionally. Menstrual hygiene management should be treated as an education issue primarily. Beyond this, it must be considered in terms of its intersections with related rights of social justice, economic empowerment, health, participation and livelihoods. Policymakers ought to incorporate access to sanitary facilities and products as one of the goals and measurable objectives towards the achievement of the right to education for girls. In the policymaking process, frameworks and outcomes must be designed while taking cognisance of key social dimensions. Providing feminine hygiene products in schools is the work of a just and non-discriminatory society. On the economic dimension, relieving girls of the burden of the high cost of these products and ensuring girls can access education enables them to become economically active citizens. Politically, girls’ access to education determines to what extent they will be able to participate in and influence the political (and other spaces) that shape their lives. Governments justify the provision of food, and even Zimbabwe’s parliament has considered providing condoms in schools for various reasons (Butaumocho, 2015). Sanitary towels and related hygiene-enhancing materials for girls can also be included in policy and in practice. Agenda 2030 is linked to the “leave no one behind” initiative, which advocates that the state ensures every individual achieves the full package of rights and opportunities in the implementation of the SDGs

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EDUCATION POLICY ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPACTS in Africa: A case study of access to feminine hygiene products for the girl child in Zimbabwe

(Melamed, 2016). In considering the target with regards to education, the leave no-one behind approach requires that states “ensure all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes” by 2030 (Melamed, 2016, p. 2). This means that states need to go a step further and “identify the groups furthest behind on the education target” (ibid). Overseas Development Institute (ODI) research shows that children from the same household may have different levels of education access (Melamed, 2016). Failure to effectively manage girls’ hygiene needs is partly to blame for such inequalities between boys and girls. Furthermore, governments and development partners are compelled to design specific programmes that increase attendance among girls and boys and ensure that multiple inequalities as barriers to progress towards universal education are assessed. State parties also need to ensure effective data collection that enables efficient policymaking and tracking of the relevant inequalities (Melamed, 2016).

The legal framework: Some glaring gaps The Constitution of Zimbabwe (Act No. 20 of 2013) has progressive sections with regards to children’s rights. Section 19 of the Constitution states: “The State must adopt policies and measures to ensure that in matters relating to children, the best interests of the children concerned are paramount” (Government of Zimbabwe, 2013, p. 20). The State of Zimbabwe must also endeavour to ensure that children: a) Enjoy family or parental care, or appropriate care when removed from the family environment; b) Have shelter and basic nutrition, health care and social services; c) Are protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse; and d) Have access to appropriate education and training (ibid).

There is a need for policymakers to be more in touch with the lived realities of girls in schools, especially as it pertains to barriers posed by menstruation-related needs. The provision of feminine hygiene products as part of the Emergency Education Response and Preparedness Network is also necessary. The Constitution lays the foundation for gender-responsive laws and policies in the country, as highlighted in the provisions above. Yet, laws and policies are not clearly aligned with Constitutional provisions. For instance, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s (MoPSE, 2014) School Health Policy is not explicit on the Zimbabwean State’s obligations to provide feminine hygiene products for girls in schools, although this is clearly one of the major barriers stopping girls from benefiting fully from education. In view of the above, this paper advocates


for changes to be made to make it mandatory for the state to provide free sanitary products and facilities for all school-going children. This implies that the MoPSE should have a budget for procurement of feminine hygiene products. However, past education budget allocations show that this call is far from being heeded. The 2015 budget allocation for education was the highest of all the ministries, yet 98.10 percent was allocated to employee and staff costs with only 0.9 percent for capital expenditure, 0.23 percent for current transfers and 0.19 percent to fund programmes (UNESCO, 2015). This leaves no financial resources for the critical needs of young girls such as feminine hygiene products. An increase in the resources allocated to such programmes to procure and provide sanitary products for the girls is necessary. There is a need for policymakers to be more in touch with the lived realities of girls in schools, especially as it pertains to barriers posed by menstruation-related needs. The provision of feminine hygiene products as part of the Emergency Education Response and Preparedness Network is also necessary. This Emergency Network assessed the extent of the damage caused by storms and effects of hunger between October 2011 and March 2012 (UNICEF, 2013). The priority areas for the assessment included water, sanitation and hygiene in general but a specific focus on female hygiene management issues was missing (ibid). The lack of provision for the girl child has become an emergency, as evidenced by its massive negative impacts on access to education (Jeremani, 2014; Jewitt & Ryley, 2014; Mavudzi, 2015).

To what extent has Zimbabwe been responsive to the problem? Innovative reusable sanitary products initiative To improve the situation for women and girls, especially in rural areas, the Government of Zimbabwe has been implementing various projects. Among some of the initiatives is the provision of reusable hygiene products. Christopher Mushohwe, the Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Acting Minister, said that over 7000 women had been trained to make reusable sanitary pads in an effort “to address challenges facing poor rural girls when it came to menstrual management and hygiene”(Ndlovu, 2015).This menstrual hygiene management programme was intended to increase access to feminine hygiene products for women and girls, and such innovative programmes should continue to reach more girls and young women in rural areas and on a regular basis to empower them and prevent them from using unsanitary substitutes, as mentioned above (ibid). Adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services To address the ASRH needs of young people, Zimbabwe developed a multi-sectorial approach in which the Government is working in collaboration TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


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with CSOs to set up facilities that offer ASRH services. The development of the National ASRH Strategy (2010-2015) and a standardised ASRH training manual were also practical elements towards achieving this goal. These policy documents are part of a wider policy strategy that links with other national policies, such as the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan, the National Maternal and New-Born Road Map, and the National Youth Policy. The National ASRH Strategy (2010-2015) (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2009) indicates that young people in Zimbabwe need to be empowered with accurate, current and age-appropriate life skills as well as safe, healthy and responsible sexual attitudes and behaviours. The strategies employed to achieve this includes equipping young people with skills that encourage abstinence, delayed sexual debut, faithfulness in relationships and safe sex practices among young people. In addition, providing livelihood skills is a key component of adolescents’ development and poverty reduction. It has been determined that livelihood skills will also reduce vulnerability to abuse, poverty and sexually transmitted diseases by providing viable livelihoods and increasing household incomes (OECD, 2012). This ensures that women and girls are not exposed to risky coping mechanisms like child marriage and commercial sexual exploitation for survival. However, such a programme ought to be gender-responsive as the needs of young girls and women are different from those of men and boys. As part of the strategy, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (2009) has attempted to institute youth-friendly corners (YFCs) within public health facilities to increase the accessibility of information and clinical ASRH services for young people. Within these YFCs, trained nurses and peer educators are supposed to be available, offering clinical and counselling services to the youth. However, the YFCs have not been well implemented, and researchers (Mmari, Posner, Blum& Alfonso, 2015) have found no evidence that they have been effective

while Svodwiza (2015) has said they need to be revitalised. For the YFC to be effective, the whole health facility has to be youth friendly. Services rendered at the youth centres also require a gender-sensitive perspective in their delivery. This is to ensure that service delivery addresses the different ASRH needs of boys and girls. Though the ASHR strategy and efforts of the Ministry of Health are noteworthy, this policy does deal with the provision of feminine hygiene products for girls in schools which should be compulsory, especially in rural areas. This would mean that a large number of girls still miss at least five learning days per month, in spite of the seemingly progressive policy and programmes being developed. Girl child-friendly policies Results from the 2011 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey indicate that the fertility rate among teenage girls aged 15-19 in 2010-2011 was 115 in 1 000 girls and this is an increase from 99 in 1 000 girls in 20052006 (Mwanaka, 2015). The survey report reflected another disturbing phenomenon: in rural areas teenage pregnancies are more than double the number in urban areas (ibid). In order to facilitate and ensure school-going pregnant teenage girls’ educational studies are not disrupted, the Government of Zimbabwe introduced a policy in 1999 that allows the readmission of the girl child into school after delivery (MoPSE, 1999). This readmission policy is a strategy to ensure that the girl child can complete her education while looking after her child. It was anticipated that this policy initiative would reduce the school drop-out rate of girls around the country. However, other mechanisms are required to support this readmission policy. These include psychosocial support to assist the teenage mothers in dealing with stigma and baby care while they attend class, among other considerations. This holistic approach would enhance the effectiveness of this policy.

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EDUCATION POLICY ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPACTS in Africa: A case study of access to feminine hygiene products for the girl child in Zimbabwe

Conclusion It is clear that the lack of feminine hygiene products and sanitary facilities for the girl child is a major obstacle to girls accessing quality education and it results in high absenteeism. The provision of sanitary products has to be treated as more than just a health issue. It has to be approached as a cross-sectoral problem that straddles girls’ rights to health, education, social inclusion, political participation and economic empowerment. More important, the Government has to incorporate the provision of these items for the girl child into education policy, if it is serious about making the voices of women and girls count in achieving Agenda 2030.

REFERENCES 1. Biriwasha CKM (2012) Young Zimbabweans face sexual and reproductive health rights challenges. Development Age, 16 September. (accessed 19 January 2017). 2. Butaumocho R (2015) Condoms in school a big no no! The Herald, 9 February. (accessed 23 February 2017). 3. Chebii (2012) Menstruation and education: How a lack of sanitary towels reduces school attendance in Kenyan slums. OSISA, Johannesburg. (accessed 23 February 2017). 4. Government of Zimbabwe (2013) Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act No. 20 of 2013. Government Printer, Harare. (accessed 19 January 2017). 5. Government of Zimbabwe (2006) Education Amendment Act No. 2 of 2006. Government Printer, Harare. research/HB%202005-06%20Education%20Amdt%20Bill.pdf (accessed 23 February 2017). 6. Jeremani D (2014) Disadvantaged young girls to receive sanitary ware. The Chronicle, 3 July. disadvantaged-young-girls-to-receive-sanitary-ware (accessed 19 January 2017). 7. Jewitt S & Ryley H (2014) It’s a girl thing: Menstruation, school attendance, spatial mobility and wider gender inequalities in Kenya. Geoforum, 56: 137-147. article/pii/S0016718514001638 (accessed 22 January 2017). 8. Masiyiwa E & Makoni O (2015) Theory U-Report: Promoting social dialogue to inform Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) program strategies for addressing SRHR issues affecting pre-adolescent and adolescent boys and girls in Guruve District. Women’s Action Group (WAG), Zimbabwe Gender Challenge Initiative (ZGCI), Harare. (accessed 21 February 2017). 9. Mavudzi M (2015) Menstruation nightmare for poor rural girls. The Herald, 26 November. (accessed 23 February 2017).


10. Melamed C (2015) Leaving no-one behind. How the SDGs can bring real change. ODI, London. (accessed 16 January 2017). 11. Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (2009) National Adolescent and Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy 2010-2015. Government Printer, Harare. 12. Mmari K, Posner E, Blum R & Alfonso N (2015) Evidence review of programs implemented 2009-2014. Zimbabwe inception report. UNFPA Consultancy. (accessed 23 February 2017). 13. MoPSE (2014) School Health Policy. Government Printer, Harare. 14. MoPSE (1999) Circular Minute P35. Discipline in Schools: Suspension, exclusion and corporal punishment (Section 5.0). Government Printer, Harare. 15. Mwanaka H (2015) Teenage mothers stigmatised. News Day, 9 October. (accessed 19 January 2017). 16. Ndlovu T (2015) Government trains 7000 girls to make reusable pads. The Herald, 10 March. stories/201503100998.html (accessed 19 January 2017). 17. Nyamanhindi R (2013) Life of a rural girl in Zimbabwe. UNICEF Zimbabwe, Harare. media_13693.html (accessed 23 February 2017). 18. OECD (2012) Poverty reduction and pro-poor growth: The role of empowerment. povertyreduction/50157530.pdf (accessed 22 February 2017) 19. Poverty Reduction Forum Trust (2016) Zimbabwe’s priority 10 goals. PRFT, Harare. (accessed 23 February 2017). 20. SNV (2015) Girls in control: Combined findings from studies on menstrual hygiene management of school girls. http://bit. ly/1XDavYj (accessed 20 January 2017). 21. UN (2016) Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. UN, New York. https:// (accessed 23 February 2017). 22. UN-DESA (2016) SDG 4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (accessed 22 January 2017). 23. UNESCO (2015) Education Sector Strategic Plan 2016-2020. (accessed 22 February 2017). 24. UNICEF (2013) Zimbabwe HAC Report. UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children. (accessed 20 January 2017) 25. WVI (2015) IGATE Annual Report 2014-2015. Improving girls’ access through transforming education. World Vision Zimbabwe, Harare. (accessed 21 January 2017).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

OBSTACLES TO BIRTH REGISTRATION and access to education in Zimbabwe Audrey Chihota Audrey Chihota is a media, communications, gender and development practitioner committed to amplifying the voices of marginalised communities. She is interested in exploring the nexus between development and culture through a gender lens while promoting the gender agenda.

The fortunes of seven-year-old Rudo (not her real name) have improved with the assistance of the children’s rights organisation Justice for Children Trust (JCT) who helped her obtain a birth certificate a few months ago. Rudo lives with her grandmother in Esigodini, 60 km outside Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She is an outstanding athlete at the local school in her community. Her prowess on the track is paralleled in her academic achievement too. She is always among the top-five students. However, her future was bleak as she did not have the key document she needed to participate in sports outside the school domain, for writing public exams, and to be counted as a legal citizen of Zimbabwe. Rudo has been helped, but her situation is by no means unique in Zimbabwe. There are approximately 2.4 million children living without a proven name or nationality, and no acknowledged existence by the State, as they do not possess a birth certificate (Tshili, 2016). Rudo was sent by her mother from neighbouring South Africa (where the latter is working as an illegal immigrant), and delivered to her grandmother’s doorstep by omalayitsha (cross-border transporters often smuggling goods and people). She is one example of the many children who have no birth records and live in the care of guardians other than their biological parents. Her story is particularly common in Zimbabwe’s southern provinces, while other children in this predicament are a result of parents or guardians’ ignorance of the importance of obtaining these documents for their children. According to OHCHR (2011, p. 5) estimates, 45 percent of children below five years of age in urban areas, and approximately seven in ten children in rural areas had no birth certificate in 2009. Since then, little has been done because the recently released Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (2016-2018) still shows that 39 percent of all under-17s have no birth certificate (Tshili, 2016). More or less half of these children will be girls whose lives remain in the balance despite the years passing since this problem was identified. This is completely unacceptable as these children do not have a legal name, nationality or citizenship rights. And yet the country’s Births and Deaths Registration Act (Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ), 1986) states that children ought to be registered within 42 days of birth or, at the very latest, before one year has passed. The written authority of the Registrar-General is required after this period ends (Gwavuya, 2014). SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe (2011) reports that paternal orphanhood, religious beliefs, guardians’ education status, place or facility of birth are among some of the factors affecting the likelihood of birth registration. JCT is one organisation working closely with communities in building awareness and creating mobilisation campaigns, facilitating birth

registrations through its systems for children like Rudo in and around southern Zimbabwe. These organisations are conducting similar interventions in different parts of the country. All these organisations are helping to enhance crucial children’s rights. This most basic right to a name and identity is the means of unlocking their enjoyment of other rights. The implications of non-birth registration are worse for the orphaned girl child, who often bears the brunt of any crisis. These vulnerable girls are often victims of child abuse due to prejudiced religious beliefs, harmful cultural practices, increased levels of poverty, orphanhood and long walking distances to school, among other issues (SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe, 2011). In conducting random interviews for this article with farm workers and rural communities in Zimbabwe’s Chegutu and Kadoma areas, it emerged that most parents and guardians do not prioritise birth registration of their children simply because either they themselves (particularly those of foreign origin) do not possess formal Zimbabwean registration papers, or they have a limited understanding of how birth registrations are incumbent on other human rights. According to JCT (2007), this vicious cycle continues with new generations of unregistered individuals going on to have their own families who face the same fate. Factors which fuel this problem are the country’s economic situation (van Rensburg, 2016), which has led to a downturn over the last few years, coupled with the incessant droughts. Rainfall and agricultural produce in the country has been very low (Tsiko, 2017). Priorities have shifted because people are now economic refugees in different parts of Zimbabwe and in neighbouring countries, thus compromising children’s birth registrations (van Rensburg, 2016). Says one farm worker: “I have not had the time to travel to Kadoma to have all my four nephews and nieces registered. It is something I have always said I will do, but now one of the girls has gone off to get married at the nearby Peakstone Mine.” For this man, therefore, responsibility has shifted to the husband, who will have to see to the registration of the birth of his own children, should he have children with his new wife. It seems that people view the process as a burden and continue to avoid it. Zimbabwe’s Constitution, effective since 2013, enshrines a comprehensive Bill of Rights for children, while various legislation stipulates children’s entitlements, among them, birth registrations through the Births and Deaths Registration Act. The children’s rights movement (including organisations such as Save the Children, JCT and SOS) reports that prevailing challenges include bureaucracy at the Registrar’s offices,

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the rigorous processes and long distances that parents or guardians need to travel to access the services for their children (Shumba, 2015; Gwavuya, 2014; JCT, 2007). This jeopardises the children’s future, particularly girls who are often married off at a tender age to reduce the number of individuals in the family and make it easier to meet the socioeconomic needs of the rest of the family. Non-state actors in the sector, therefore, have the mammoth task of interceding for the children and ensuring that the issues of social justice remain high on the agenda. However, success is only possible when the wider society begins to recognise the existence and needs of these children. According to the OHCHR (2011), the situation is extremely serious for orphaned and vulnerable children living in institutions or, worse yet, in youth-headed households or on the streets, and difficult socio-cultural issues come to the fore when it comes to formalising these children’s existence. Unfounded cultural beliefs and decisions by relatives not to take responsibility have resulted in some children being short-changed, according to a paralegal with the JCT. The JCT official said that these children expressly indicate their own desire to have knowledge of merely their date of birth and possible lineage, notwithstanding their ability to participate in socioeconomic and political activities as deserving citizens. SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe (2011, p. 15) clearly explains the document’s importance as follows: A birth certificate is an important document that every child is entitled to. It is significant as proof of one’s nationality, as proof of parents’ responsibility before the law to provide legal protection for their children, for school registration and also for the Government to measure the growth of its people and in calculating the number of births. “We often have to undertake serious awareness campaigns among the children’s relatives – with the first challenge being to identify the relatives, and then convincing them of the importance of the registration,” says the JCT paralegal. The campaigns have resulted in a level of appreciation on the importance of this process among the communities, a marked improvement from the ignorance of the past. For the beneficiaries (the children), it is more about being able to stand up and be counted in the community, rather than their ability to participate in socioeconomic and political activities as deserving citizens when they come of age. Communities applaud the efforts by the Zimbabwean Government to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1999), as well as the review of the Zimbabwean Children’s Act (2001). However, the glaring question is whether this same government will take action and expend meaningful resources in fulfilment of its apparent commitment to the enjoyment, realisation and fulfilment of children’s rights for children living within its borders. The existence of several legislative and policy frameworks is insufficient to mitigate the plight of the Zimbabwean child. It is in the GoZ’s


interest to ensure that such bureaucratic red tape is overcome as the children’s registration will contribute significantly to measuring the growth of its people and in making requisite economic decisions. The struggle by civil society organisations in the sector continues as they lobby for the amendment of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (1986), to enable all children born and living permanently in Zimbabwe to be issued with birth certificates, regardless of their parents’ origin. Equally important at this difficult period in the nation’s history is the decentralisation of birth registrations for all districts, possibly through the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance documentation of births and record keeping.

REFERENCES 1. GoZ (2013) National Constitution of Zimbabwe. Government Printers, Harare. 2. GoZ (1986) Births and Deaths Registration Act. Government Printers, Harare. 3. Gwavuya S (2014) Birth registration in Zimbabwe, can we do more? UNICEF Zimbabwe. media_15175.htm (accessed 1 October 2016) 4. JCT (2007) Birth registration of children in Zimbabwe. Research report. JCT, Harare. jct_birth_registration_0710.pdf (accessed 2 February 2017) 5. OHCHR (2011) Universal periodic review. Zimbabwe child rights organizations’ submission. Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Documents/session12/ZW/JS1-JointSubmission1-eng.pdf (accessed 13 January 2017). 6. Shumba P (2015) Orphans birth registration hell. The Chronicle, 21 January. (accessed 24 September 2016). 7. SOS Children’s Villages Zimbabwe (2014) Assessment report of the alternative care system for children in Zimbabwe. SOS Children’s Villages International, Austria. (accessed 2 February 2017). 8. Tshili N (2016) Two million kids with no birth certificates, report reveals. The Chronicle, 2 November. http://www.chronicle. (accessed 2 February 2017). 9. Tsiko S (2017) One million receive food aid. The Chronicle, 1 February. (accessed 2 February 2017). 10. Van Rensburg D (2016) SA looks to clamp down on ‘economic migrants’. City Press, 4 July. http://city-press.news24. com/Business/sa-looks-to-clamp-down-on-economicmigrants-20160704 (accessed 18 September 2016). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE STRUGGLE OF GIRLS with disabilities to access education in rural Zimbabwe Onai Hara and Agness Chindimba Onai Hara has a BA (Hons) degree in Social Work and is passionate about promoting the participation of women with disabilities, in particular deaf women and girls. She has provided Sign Language interpretation for platforms such as the Zimbabwe Feminist Forum (ZFF), African Feminist Forum (AFF) and Black Feminisms Forum (BFF). Onai currently works with Deaf Women Included to promote the rights of deaf women in Zimbabwe. Agness Chidimba is a Mandela Washington Fellow. She is the founder and Executive Director of Deaf Women Included, a grassroots organisation that works with young women who, like Agness, live with disabilities. Agness has been deaf since the age of 14. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Education, Leadership and Development with Africa University. Agness’ interests include the rights of women and girls with disabilities and accessible education.

Girls with disabilities in rural Zimbabwe face many challenges in accessing education, and there are a number of reasons for this. Society continues to regard girls with disabilities as being of little or no value. The cost of educating a girl with a disability is perceived to outweigh the benefits and, hence, the disabled girl child does not go to school. Society also places more value on boys with disabilities than girls with disabilities. Where the disabled girl child is taken to school in the rural areas, it is often the case that the schools are not able to teach children with disabilities. As a result, girls with disabilities have little access to education and limited prospects for bettering their lives. A solution to this problem is the comprehensive implementation of the inclusive education model while educating communities about the value of girls with disabilities.

Introduction The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education (UNESCO, 1994, p. 11) notes that inclusion and participation are integral components of upholding human dignity and exercising human rights. Chataika (2013) estimates that approximately one billion (15 percent) of the world population constitutes people with disabilities, with the majority of this population being women. Furthermore, 65 to 70 percent of these women live in rural areas in low- to medium-income countries (ibid). This implies that efforts to address the needs of girls with disabilities have to focus on rural areas where the majority of these individuals reside. In Zimbabwe, girls with disabilities in rural areas remain one of the most marginalised groups due to the interplay of physical, attitudinal and socio-cultural barriers. These barriers manifest in the family environment, at cultural events, during community interactions, and still exist in the education system. According to Miles (2000),

inclusive education is a model for educating children with disabilities which recognises the diverse needs of these children and the need to reform educational systems to address their needs. Given the above, this paper looks at the educational challenges of girls with disabilities in rural Zimbabwe and explores strategies for improving the education outcomes of rural girls with disabilities.

Inclusive education According to the UNESCO (2009) Policy Guidelines on Inclusive Education, the term “inclusion” in this context refers to a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all children, youths and adults by increasing participation in learning, culture and the community. It also entails reducing and eliminating exclusion within and from the education system, responds to children with varied disabilities, and focuses on the particular needs of an individual (ibid). Miles (2000) argues that inclusive education is based on the social model of disability and that the problem lies with the education system which fails to respond to the diverse needs of children. Inclusive education, therefore, regards all disabilities as heterogeneous in that individuals are diverse and each one has their own specific needs. Peters, Johnstone and Ferguson (2005) describe inclusive education as comprising schools, teachers and the education system at large which develop the knowledge, skills, support and pedagogy to accommodate the learning and life needs of children and students with a range of specific hurdles to overcome. UNICEF (2012) further notes that the critical elements of inclusive education are the modification and transformation of approaches, content, structures and strategies with a common vision to cover the needs of all children. In an inclusive education environment, all children are supported to participate with their peers on an equal basis, which is integral for education to be meaningful in their lives.

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According to UNICEF (2012), inclusive education facilitates the accessibility of quality education for children with special needs. Chandran and Yogi (2003) state that quality education enhances the capacity to process information through the facilitation of problem-solving and critical thinking skills, that it imparts knowledge on life values, and creates an appropriate learning environment. Quality education is also one of the Education For All (EFA) goals agreed to by 164 governments at the 2000 World Education Forum in Senegal (UNESCO, 2000). UNESCO (2015) indicates that EFA represents an international commitment to ensure that every child and adult receives quality basic education grounded in the human rights perspective and the general belief that education is central to individual well-being and national development. The UN (2016) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 focuses on quality education as integral in facilitating development. UNICEF (2012, p. 8) acknowledges that inclusive education is “central to the achievement of high-quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies.” With these global, continental, regional and national commitments in place, one would expect children with disabilities, especially girls, to be accepted and included in schools and other learning institutions on the continent in the same way as their peers. However, this is hardly the case, and the reasons for this will be discussed in the following section.


Challenges for rural girls with disabilities One of the reasons why girls with disabilities are not accepted in schools is that discourses on gender equality and disability rights have remained parallel and are not interwoven. According to Chataika (2013), gender and disability have been addressed separately when implementing equality policies. As a result, the needs of girls with disabilities have usually not been addressed in gender equality policy frameworks. Programmes that have focused on the empowerment of girls have generally failed to consider the special needs of girls with disabilities. For example, the need for appropriate formats in educating girls on such topics as menstruation and general sexuality have not been offered in Sign Language, thus excluding those with hearing impairments. There is generally a lack of information in Braille and Sign Language, which means that girls with visual impairments and deaf girls miss out on important lessons about their sexuality and other topics that are necessary for them to make informed decisions about their lives. During interactions we had with deaf girls in schools, it was shocking to learn that some of them believed menstruation was a sign of cancer, and others thought period pain was because their ovaries were “complaining” and thereby indicating that their bodies now want to produce babies. This lack of knowledge is a clear indication of the failure of educational programmes to reach girls with disabilities, particularly in a country with a number of sexual and reproductive health education programmes targeting young women and girls. In as much as individuals in the disability movement are united for one cause (to fight discrimination and marginalisation), the movement is not divorced from the patriarchal systems that characterise mainstream society. Disabled feminists themselves argue that the needs of women with disabilities have also not been addressed by the disability movement as, in most cases, men dominate these spheres (Price, 2011). The concerns of girls with disabilities, therefore, have not been fully considered in such spaces and have remained less prioritised. Neglecting the needs of women and girls with disabilities in the women’s movement and in the disability movements implies that girls with disabilities remain without a voice and, in turn, without important services. Girls with disabilities also face multiple challenges as a result of their being children requiring special attention and protection. As girls, they grapple with patriarchal socio-cultural beliefs that undermine the value of girls. As children with disabilities, they are often excluded from mainstream society. Furthermore, girls with disabilities are regarded as devaluing the family status. This interplay of age, gender and disability has an impact on the level of participation of girls with disabilities and their level of school completion. It is not surprising that, as Meekosha (2004) notes, girls with disabilities are considered more costly to educate. Gains from schooling a girl with a disability are not seen as justifying the cost (ibid). As such, girls with disabilities have fewer options to move forward in life. Morris (1998) notes that, in many cultures, the prospect of a TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030


osisa | open society initiative for southern africa

good marriage is the primary value of single girls and it is often assumed that a girl with a disability will not marry. This will lead to her being devalued. As a result, girls with disabilities are usually not sent to school, they are hidden from the public, and not offered much support in their education. Women who give birth to children with disabilities – especially when they are girls – are stigmatised, considered evil or cursed, and, at times, even divorced (Choruma, 2006). The lack of social support system for girls with disabilities also limits their prospects of attaining quality education (ibid). The story of Vimbai from Zimbabwe is illustrative of this situation and is discussed below. Vimbai is an eight-year-old girl who became disabled when she was only nine months old. Upon seeing that Vimbai was disabled, her father separated from her mother, arguing that there was no one with a disability in his family and it was, therefore, her mother’s fault. According to Vimbai’s mother, the doctors could not ascertain the cause of Vimbai’s impairment. Members of the community believed that it was a result of evil deeds of the mother and a sign of punishment. Vimbai is unlikely to attend school as her family (and her social support system) has been disrupted. Her mother was forced to return to her parents’ compound in Chiundura and is she currently unemployed. The father offers no support as he does not consider Vimbai his child. In sharp contrast, Rousso (2003) argues that boys with disabilities are considered as important in the family and still viewed as likely breadwinners in future. Based on research in 51 countries, UNICEF (2013) reported the rate of primary school completion for boys with disabilities as 51 percent and for girls with disabilities it is 42 percent. This is evidence of the greater value placed on the education of boys compared to girls with disabilities. Boys with disabilities are viewed as

possessing the inherent potential to look after a family and, generally, they would thus be afforded a quality education. This is not the same lens through which girls with disabilities are viewed. Clearly, such attitudes will need to change to ensure girls and women with disabilities can use their agency towards achieving the SDGs. Apart from societal attitudes, the education system has also failed to improve education outcomes for girls with disabilities in rural areas. The experiences of Gertrude Shumba are telling. Gertrude is a deaf girl in Grade Six and living in rural Zvishavane, Zimbabwe. She attends school with other children, however, from her written work, it can be seen that she only copies what the teacher writes on the board and has not yet learnt the concept of answering a question. As a deaf girl in the rural areas, she has not had the opportunity to learn a language (i.e. Sign Language). There are no special needs teachers trained to work with deaf children in her school. There is thus a communication breakdown between teacher and student. Gertrude is the only deaf girl in class; she has no peers to learn from, and she fails dismally in her studies. Without a language as the communication channel between the teacher and student, it is difficult to facilitate the learning process. Gertrude, therefore, has not had the opportunity to gain from the education system meaningfully. Vimbai’s mother also laments the lack of teachers trained in special needs education in her rural home of Chiundura. She says that Vimbai needs special attention as she is not able to communicate, even when she wants to go to the toilet. Vimbai has had no one to teach her the basics of life and, at eight years old, she still has no means of communication. Her mother feels that sending her to school will be a burden on the teachers and she regards it as more prudent to stay at

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home with her daughter. This is despite her desire to see Vimbai as a successful woman in later life. Many disabled children in Zimbabwe are in the same situation as Gertrude and Vimbai, and certainly in other African countries.

The way forward It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. In the same way, it takes the whole village to raise and educate the girl child with a disability. It is important, therefore, to involve the whole community, especially in building awareness about disabilities and the perceived value of girls with disabilities. There is a need to strengthen social support systems, especially at the family unit level. Women who bear girls with disabilities are often left on their own to fend for the disabled child and for themselves, to care for the child’s special needs, and, in many cases, they are unable to send the girl child to school. It is important for families to understand the importance of supporting the disabled girl child through school, and not to keep the child hidden at home without access to education. Inclusive education has been promoted as the solution to the education of children with disabilities. However, the situation on the ground has exposed the system’s inadequacy and the failure to implement it fully. It is important to ensure that inclusive education systems are implemented comprehensively and adequately resourced. Schools in rural areas are not able to respond to the needs of girls with disabilities, even though statistics show that the majority of girls with disabilities reside in rural areas (Chataika, 2013). With the right approach to inclusive education, girls with disabilities in rural areas should be able to access education.

REFERENCES 1. Chandran S & Yogi LA (2003) Important components of education: Creation of a learning environment that imparts quality education and cultivates precious values. Paper written for the ASHA Conference, Bangalore, January. ashanet-projects-new-documents-596-ashabglr03 (accessed 19 January 2017). 2. Chataika T (2013) Gender and Disability Mainstreaming Training Manual. Disabled Women in Africa. http://www.academia. edu/4342306/Gender_and_ Disability_Mainstreaming_Training_ Manual (accessed 20 April 2016). 3. Choruma T (2006) The forgotten tribe: People with disabilities in Zimbabwe. Progressio Report. sites/default/files/Forgotten-tribe.pdf (accessed 19 January 2017). 4. Meekosha H (2004) Gender and disability (entry for the Sage Encyclopaedia of Disability). University of New South Wales Publications: Sydney. HRBodies/CRPD/GC/WWDAAr (accessed 20 April 2016).


5. Miles S (2000) Enabling inclusive education: Challenges and dilemmas. Paper presented at the Development Policy symposium “Children with disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child”. Gustav Stresemann Institute, Bonn, 27-29 October. (accessed 15 April 2016). 6. Morris J (1998) Feminism, gender and disability. Paper presented at a seminar in Sydney, Australia, February. (accessed 20 April 2016). 7. Peters S, Johnstone C & Ferguson P (2005) A disability rights model for evaluating inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 9(2): 139-160. 8. Price J (2011) The seeds of a movement – Disabled women and their struggle to organize. AWID, Toronto. https://www.awid. org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/changing_their_world_2_-_ disabled_women_and_their_struggle_to_organize.pdf (accessed 13 January 17). 9. Rousso H (2003) Education For All: A gender and disability perspective. Background paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2003/4: The Leap to Equality. http://unesdoc. (accessed 22 April 2017). 10. UN (2016) SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. sustainabledevelopment/education/ (accessed 6 January 2017). 11. UNESCO (2015) Gender and EFA 2000-2015: Achievements and challenges. EFA Global Monitoring Report. http://unesdoc.unesco. org/images/0023/002348/234809E.pdf (accessed: 10 April 2016). 12. UNESCO (2009) Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education. UNESCO: Paris. images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf (accessed 15 April 2016). 13. UNESCO (2000) World Education Forum. Final report. Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April. images/0012/001211/121117e.pdf (accessed 6 January 2017). 14. UNESCO (1994) The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education. Adopted by the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality. Salamanca, Spain. images/0009/000984/098427eo.pdf (accessed 18 April 2016). 15. UNICEF (2013) The state of the world’s children: Children with disabilities. ENG_Lo_res_24_Apr_2013.pdf (accessed 21 April 2016). 16. UNICEF (2012) The right of children with disabilities to education: A rights-based approach to inclusive education. A position paper. CECIS Regional Office, Geneva. UNICEF_Right_Children_Disabilities_En_Web.pdf (accessed 22 April 2016). TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

A STRATEGY TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS which exclude children with disabilities from education in Southern Africa Kudakwashe Dube Kudakwashe Dube has advanced business and programming skills developed over a period of more than 27 years and in over 25 African countries. He has provided technical expertise to political structures such as the AU, government departments, provincial administrations, and the disability and development sector. Kudakwashe has an MBA from the Business School Netherlands, and Diplomas in Business Management, Project Management and Marketing Management. He also has a Certificate in Development Studies from Birmingham University, UK, and in Entrepreneurial Studies from Empretec. His experience and expertise are in conducting primary and secondary research; providing a service mix that includes participatory planning, resource management, and mobilisation for disability and development programmes and for businesses; and attending to the full spectrum of the project life cycle. Kudakwashe has worked on projects in diverse geographical environments in South Africa and numerous other countries. He has produced or co-authored a number of publications. Email:

“Education today; there is no tomorrow!” The Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD, 2012, p. 5) states: Children with disabilities in Southern Africa live with the effects of disability and struggle with a myriad of challenges that can be attributed to the absence of an enabling environment. They are often deprived of resources and services that would enable them to access education which will contribute to their fullest development. A range of factors result in the exclusion of learners with disabilities. There is little accurate statistical information that provides insights into how many children with disabilities are gaining access to education, where these children are, and how many remain excluded. A study on access to education for children with disabilities in five countries in Southern Africa (Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) was carried out in 2010 by the Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) (SADPD, 2012), with support from the OSISA. It shows the difficulties that children with disabilities face across the education system. Special schools are located in these countries, and data on children with disabilities in these schools is available. However, researchers have to rely too heavily on the number of children attending special schools and have insufficient information on enrolments of children with disabilities in mainstream schools (SADPD, 2012, p. 58). The lack of accurate and comparable research data to support the planning of appropriate services for quality and inclusive education in the SADC region constitutes a significant barrier to the inclusion of learners with disabilities, regardless of their gender, physical, intellectual, social, emotional, language, cultural, religious or any other characteristics. Cooperation between different actors is important if the objectives of quality inclusive education are to be achieved. OSISA funding has enabled the ADA to cooperate with the SADC on addressing the problem

of exclusion of learners with disabilities. The Ministries of Education in the SADC region offered technical and other forms of support. The Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences (SAALED), Media in Education Trust (MiET) Africa, Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) and other stakeholders also assisted the ADA. A Call to Action Statement was developed as an outcome of a consultative conference held in Swaziland in 2012. The Call to Action noted that inclusive education for children and young people with disabilities is “a process of removing barriers of organisation, environment, attitude, teaching and learning in mainstream schools and colleges so that they can achieve their academic and social potential” (OSISA, 2012, pp 1-2). For inclusive education to be fully implemented for all children and people with disabilities, it requires the full participation of all stakeholders, namely, teachers, parents, disabled people’s organisations, children and students with disabilities and those without, NGOs, government (task teams at school, district, country and regional level) and other stakeholders (OSISA, 2012). The Call to Action further explains that “The curriculum and assessment needs to be flexible, child-centred and differentiated and all teachers need training in this and education to prepare them for implementing inclusive education with competence in Braille, Sign Language and alternative and augmented communication” (OSISA, 2012, p. 2). The call was made for the development of a regional strategy for implementing inclusive education for children with disabilities. Subsequent consultative processes led to the development of the Southern Africa Inclusive Education Strategy for Learners with Disabilities (SAIES) and a related Manual on Rights-based Education (SAFOD, 2016). The SAIES seeks to enhance access to education within an inclusive education system for learners with and without disabilities. While its focus is access to education for learners with disabilities, this focus is conceptualised within an inclusive education system. The strategy aims to

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


A STRATEGY TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS which exclude children with disabilities from education in Southern Africa

disabilities (rights holders) within an inclusive education environment that delivers quality education. 2. Cooperation between and among civil society organisations, governments and the SADC Secretariat was crucial to compiling the SAIES which will be implemented to address the learning needs of millions of learners in the SADC region. 3. The partnership with OSISA was essential in unlocking value for learners and in the development of the SAIES. Such partnerships will be useful when implementing the strategy over the next five years. For learners with or without a disability, the slogan is “education today; there is no tomorrow!” thus emphasising the need to prioritise education within national development plans, education and training strategies, and budgets.


facilitate access and quality education to all children with disabilities in the SADC region. The SAIES also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 4 on ensuring “inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” (UN Division for Sustainable Development (DESA), 2016). For the SAIES to be meaningful and sustainable, SADC Member States have to create a supportive policy environment which will provide appropriate and accessible education facilities, adequate resources, trained teachers and curricula. The SAIES was accepted by officials from the Ministries of Education and Training from the SADC States, and later officially adopted by the SADC Ministers of Education, thus facilitating its implementation by SADC governments and other stakeholders (UNESCO, 2016). Key learning points in the development of the new regional strategy are: 1. The need to ensure that governments (as duty bearers) are aware of and act on the needs of all children, particularly learners with


1. ADA (2011) Report on the research of children with special educational needs in Southern Africa (unpublished). 2. OSISA (2012) The Ezulwini Swaziland Call to Action Statement. The rights of children with disabilities: The duty to protect, respect, promote and fulfil education. 14 June. http://bit. ly/2m3m6k1 (accessed 9 March 2017). 3. SADPD (2012) Study on education for children with disabilities in Southern Africa. SADPD, Pretoria. (accessed 9 March 2017). 4. SAFOD (2016) SADC Ministers meeting endorse Inclusive Education Strategy. SAFOD Blog, 2 July. (accessed 9 March 2017). 5. UNESCO (2016) Meeting of SADC Ministers responsible for education and training and science, technology and innovation. Decision SADC/ET-STI/1/2016/1C. Gaborone, Botswana, 30 June. (accessed 9 March 2017). 6. UN-DESA (2016) Sustainable Development Goal 4. https:// (accessed 7 January 2017).

TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

THE ROLE OF SAIES: the Southern Africa Inclusive Education Strategy Bronwyn King Bronwyn King is the copy editor for BUWA! She runs a small business in Cape Town offering language editing and rapporteur and transcription services. Her major focus is academic editing and particularly on assisting African scholars to produce quality research papers for publication with the aim of promoting African scholarship globally. Bronwyn seeks to enhance academic performance, promotes high ethical standards in academia, and offers focused support for knowledge production and research publication. Bronwyn is proudly South African, loves Africa deeply and dislikes being away from the continent. She believes feminism has a major role to play in Africa due to the low status of most African women and girls and the desperate need for their emancipation by means of economic inclusion and at the most personal levels of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and status in the home. Bronwyn has completed projects for the National Research Foundation of South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Anglo American, the South African Human Rights Commission, and the Technology Innovation Agency, among many others. Bronwyn is a UNISA BA (Languages and Literature) graduate and an amateur singer. Email:

SAIES (2017-2021) aims to enhance inclusive education access for children with disabilities (CWDs). The strategy goal is building an educated, skilled, healthy and productive citizenry to enhance equitable economic growth, integration and competitiveness. The SADC vision is for no one to be left behind in socioeconomic development, in line with Agenda 2030 (UN, 2016). SAIES prioritises inclusive quality education and was developed as a result of delegates’ concerns raised at the 2012 Swaziland Ezulwini Conference over research findings showing that a failure to invest in educating persons with disabilities (PWDs) is costly and irrational in economic terms (UNESCO, 2009a). There are many social and human rights justifications in addition to this and, as CWDs comprise one-third of all out-of-school children (UNESCO, 2009b), they face exclusion from the education system which is unacceptable and must be rectified. In Africa, PWDs are especially vulnerable, poorly educated, marginalised and living in poverty (UNESCO, 2009a; UNICEF, 2013). Girls and women are the majority of this group and are the worst affected PWDs (Chataika, 2013). It is also unacceptable that girls with disabilities often have their rights violated through serious abuse and neglect (UNICEF, 2013). Most SADC member states have adopted good policies, such as the Continental Plan of Action for Persons with Disabilities (AU, 2010). However, efforts tend to be indiscriminate and do not target girls with disabilities specifically as the most disadvantaged group. Major challenges to assisting these girls are the lack of gender mainstreaming and awareness; negative and patriarchal attitudes; rigid curricular; and scarcity of resources, relevant data and human capacity. SAIES is the first direct attempt to develop and implement a focused regional response to address these problems for learners with disabilities. Education For All (UNESCO, 2016) and SDG 4 (UN-DESA, 2016), among other sources, provide the following guiding principles central to SAIES’ implementation: human rights, social justice, accessibility, disability mainstreaming, gender sensitivity, a culture of inclusion, and sustainability. If these principles are adhered to in implementing SAIES, the

region is set to significantly improve the lives of girls and women with disabilities and ensure their agency counts in realising Agenda 2030.

REFERENCES 1. AU (2010) Continental Plan of Action on the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010-2019). African Union, Addis Ababa. 2. Chataika T (2013) Gender and Disability Mainstreaming Training Manual. Disabled Women in Africa. (accessed 17 February 2017). 3. LASPNET (2015) Access to justice for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable people of Uganda. Research report. LASPNET, Kampala. (accessed 17 February 2017). 4. UN (2016) Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. UN, New York. https:// (accessed 31 January 2017). 5. UN-DESA (2016) Sustainable Development Goal 4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York. https:// (accessed 31 January 2017). 6. UNESCO (2016) Education For All Movement. UNESCO, Paris. (accessed 17 February 2017). 7. UNESCO (2009a) Policy guidelines on inclusion in education. UNESCO, Paris. images/0017/001778/177849e.pdf (accessed 17 February 2017). 8. UNESCO (2009b) EFA Global Monitoring Report 2009. Overcoming inequality: Why governance matters. UNESCO, Paris. (accessed 17 February 2017). 9. UNICEF (2013) The state of the world’s children: Children with disabilities. UNICEF, New York. (accessed 17 February 2017).

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


REVEALING THE POWER of inclusive education Spiwe Chakawa

Spiwe Chakawa is a development practitioner and her main goal is to see positive change happening in people’s lives, especially children and the youth. She has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and an MA in Development Studies. She has contributed to numerous national programmes on child rights such as the National Action Plan for Children and the National Steering Committee for Children on the Move in Zimbabwe. Spiwe currently sits on the Private Voluntary Organisation Board in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare which is responsible for registration and regulation of NGOs in Zimbabwe.

In this story from an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre for orphans and other vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, teachers who use the inclusive education model share experiences which demonstrate the success of this form of education. Shingirai Munyaka1 is woken up daily by the cries and echoes of crows which have come to characterise the medium-density housing of the Waterfalls suburb in Harare, Zimbabwe. Coming from Shingirai’s poverty-stricken family is her daughter, six-year-old Tariro, who is ever smiling, innocent and peaceful. Born to a struggling family, Tariro’s parents can only afford to rent a single room in Waterfalls. Tariro failed to reach the developmental potential generally expected of a one-year-old child, which includes certain levels of physical, cognitive, language and social-emotional development. Tariro started to learn to walk later than expected, at the age of four. This was dis-

Chiedza Child Care Centre has given Tariro a chance to interact with her classmates in play and class activities. Inclusive education has allowed her to fulfil her natural desire to be active and to participate with other children. Tariro’s ECD teachers have attended to her with love and patience, and this has given her parents hope. tressing for her, especially as her younger sibling was already running around and more developmentally advanced than her. All she could do was watch and wish to be part of the activities he was doing. Shingirai sobbed as she narrated her family’s story. As a result of the difficulties Tariro has with mobility, some children started to ignore and discriminate against her. Tariro has been very lonely and is painfully aware of her differences from other children. She has co-ordination challenges which make it difficult for her to respond as quickly as others do. Walking even a single step can take her up to three minutes as she has to do everything in a sitting position.


Chiedza Child Care Centre caters for children such as Tariro. They currently have 11 students, including Tariro, for whom they provide inclusive education. Chiedza Child Care Centre has given Tariro a chance to interact with her classmates in play and class activities. Inclusive education has allowed her to fulfil her natural desire to be active and to participate with other children. Tariro’s ECD teachers have attended to her with love and patience, and this has given her parents hope. The family has realised that it is never too late for her to catch up and reach her potential. The ECD teachers have taught Tariro how to be an active observer by putting what she observes of her peers into practice. This has significantly improved her motor skills. Though progress has been gradual, Tariro has gained in independence and, for example, she is now able to go to the bathroom on her own which she could not do before. Due to fear and a lack of confidence, Tariro still does not want to be left on her own, and her ECD teachers are striving to build her courage in this regard. Tariro had difficulties in raising her hands, especially during Physical Education (PE) sessions, but now she can do this, and she is able to play with toys. Inclusive education has helped her overcome several challenges to her mobility. She is now able to feed and dress herself. Inclusive education has also helped her peers love her unconditionally. The children have developed a bond and a sense of understanding, despite their differences and varied ages. Tariro’s classmates offer to assist her, and the teachers now stand aside and watch them interact with her in a productive, supportive manner. This is called “embracing”, and her peers do this well without adult interference. Tariro’s parents are excited for their daughter’s future. They regularly show their profound gratitude towards Tariro’s teachers and Chiedza Child Care Centre. They have seen the valuable role of the inclusive education model and can testify as to how it has transformed Tariro’s life. Tariro, who used to be a spectator, now plays with her brother, interacts well with her peers and, because of the type of PE offered at the Centre, she has developed her coordination skills. Chiedza Child Care Centre greatly appreciates the power of inclusive learning.

NOTE 1. Pseudonyms have been used in this article. TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

NAMIBIA: Girl calls for education for all Taati Niilenge

A San girl surprised many people at Walvis Bay when she was promoted to a higher grade within only four months of starting her school career. Eleven-year-old Vjouje Kandorozu’s dream of going to school became a reality in March this year when she started learning at the !Nara Primary School at Walvis Bay. She recalls that she was very excited when her guardian took her to this coastal town with the promise that she would go to school. However, her dream took another turn as she had to spend a year at home because there was no space at the school, and she had to watch helplessly as other children went to school. “I made many friends when I came to Walvis Bay last year, but I could only play with them in the afternoons as they had to go to school in the morning. I really wanted to read and write like them, but there was no space for me,” she said. This year in March, her guardians were finally contacted to take her to school, where she was accommodated in the Grade 1 class. Three months later, Kandorozu produced exceptional results, which prompted the principal to promote her to the next grade, where she is also doing well. Her Grade 2 teacher Rosana Mukumbi describes Kandorozu as a quiet and disciplined child, who concentrates well on every task. Mukumbi notes that the pupil is even performing well in the second grade. Her peers are already in Grades 4 and 5, but she is adamant that she will not focus on her age, but rather on completing Grade 12 with good marks. The pupil, who was previously living with her mother and siblings at a farm in the Omaheke region, says her wish is to see more San children in school as many are just sitting at home or working on farms. She felt sad, though, when she had to leave her teenage sisters at the farm with her mother. “They are just there doing small jobs like taking care of other people’s cattle, babysitting and cleaning houses. At least I have got the chance to go to school while I am still young,” she enthused. She is very grateful to her guardians who brought her to the coastal town, promising her mother that she will attend a good school. She,


Taati Niilenge is a freelance journalist, photographer, and runs the Faith Education Center in Walvis Bay which rescues street children. She graduated from the University of Namibia with a BA in Media Studies and was among the first group of journalists at the University’s UNAM Radio Station. Thereafter, she worked in newspaper journalism at the Namib Times in Walvis Bay, in broadcasting for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation and as a personal assistant to Samuel Nuuyoma, Governor of the Erongo Region in Namibia. Taati is involved in story writing with the Women’s Leadership Centre in Windhoek, with the focus on women’s challenges. She is a recipient of the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship as well as the Fellowship Program’s Public Service Award. Taati spent a year at the Arizona State University, where she studied journalism and leadership. She also served as a volunteer English teacher for West African refugee women in Glendale, Arizona.

therefore, appeals to Namibians to make it their duty to rescue children from farms and disadvantaged communities, and to place them in schools. Kandorozu dreams of becoming a teacher, and to teach other children from rural areas. This article was first published in The Namibian on 13 October 2016, and is reproduced here with permission from The Namibian © 2016.

BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences


BUWA! ISSUE 7 | DECEMBER 2016 : A Journal on African Women’s Experiences EDITOR Alice D Kanengoni EDITORIAL TEAM Tsitsi Fungurani, Dorothy Brislin, Dr Hleziphi N Nyanungo PRODUCTION SUPPORT Bukeka Mkhosi BUWA! is published by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) © Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) 2016 Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) President Place 1 Hood Avenue / 148 Jan Smuts Avenue (corner of Bolton) ROSEBANK 2196 Johannesburg PO Box 678 WITS 2050 Johannesburg Tel: +27 (0) 11 587 5000 Fax: +27 (0) 11 587 5099 Language & Copy Editing: Gazelle Editing & Transcription Image Sourcing & Curation: Thursday’s Cat Media Design & Layout: [•]squareDot Media Printing: LawPrint (printed on FSC certified paper) TITLE CONCEPT: Buwa! is an adaption of the Suthu ‘bua’ meaning ‘speak’. COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Ju/’hoan girl at the Let’s Pull Together Preschool facility at Skoonheid Resettlement Farm, Omaheke Region, Namibia. Date 21.05.2013. Photo by Velina Ninkova. The views and opinions expressed in this journal are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, OSISA or its board. We appreciate feedback on this publication. Write to the Editor at or comment on our various online platforms. SPECIAL NOTE: Photography plays an important role in how women are represented in publications. We encourage authors to approach organisations, institutions and photographers to supply content-appropriate photographic material when submitting articles.


TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION: the Africa we need by 2030

ABOUT BUWA! Guided by the feminist principle that ‘the personal is political’, BUWA! is a journal published by the OSISA Women’s Rights Programme annually. BUWA! services as a tool and platform to explore a variety of themes and topics that are pertinent to African women today. The journal receives both commissioned and unsolicited articles primarily from women on the African continent. An editorial team decides on the themes and topics, and participates in the editorial process. The publication seeks to promote open society ideals through providing a platform for women’s voices, amplifying these across the continent and beyond. BUWA! also explores African women’s experiences through a policy lens, to shed light on international, regional, national, and local debates and policies that shape women’s choices and lived experiences. BUWA! ONLINE BUWA! is published by the Women’s Rights programme of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). The title BUWA! is an adaptation of the SeSotho word ‘bua’ meaning ‘speak’. We would appreciate feedback on this publication using the #Buwa7 tag on any of the following platforms: Email the Editor at Comment on the BUWA! feature on the OSISA website at Comment on the OSISA facebook page at OpenSocietyInitiative.SouthernAfrica Join the conversation on Twitter @osisa

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. OSISA’s vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life. In pursuance of this vision, OSISA’s mission is to initiate and support programmes working towards open society ideals, and to advocate for these ideals in southern Africa. This approach involves looking beyond immediate symptoms, in order to address the deeper problems - focusing on changing underlying policy, legislation and practice, rather than on short-term welfarist interventions. Given the enormity of the needs and challenges in the region it operates in - and acknowledging that it cannot possibly meet all of these needs - OSISA, where appropriate, supports advocacy work by its partners in the respective countries, or joins partners in advocacy on shared objectives and goals. In other situations, OSISA directly initiates and leads in advocacy interventions, along the key thematic programmes that guide its work. OSISA also intervenes through the facilitation of new and innovative initiatives and partnerships, through capacity-building initiatives as well as through grant making. Established in 1997, OSISA works in 10 southern Africa countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. OSISA works differently in each of these 10 countries, according to local conditions. OSISA is part of a network of autonomous Open Society Foundations, established by George Soros, located in Eastern and Central Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the US.