To reap these benefits, girls have to stay in school long enough, at least through lower secondary. In many instances this is not happening. Girls are far less likely than boys to complete primary school, especially in low-income countries, where only 20 per cent have achieved gender parity at the primary level and 10 per cent at the lower secondary level.
These findings are highlighted in UNESCO’s Gender Summary Report, which analyses data from the 11th annual Education for All Global Monitoring Report. The report was released in partnership with the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI). The Gender Summary Report calls for girls’ education to be at the forefront of new global education goals after 2015.
“The gender gap in education must be addressed, not just for individuals but for the whole of society, in order for local and world economies to prosper,” said Erna Grasz, CEO of Asante Africa Foundation. “International organizations, governments, and the private sector must work together to overcome discrimination and exclusion.”
In Kenya, Asante Africa Foundation educates in- and out-of-school girls on puberty and reproductive health through the Wezesha Vijana Project. The program consists of workshops, most often held at school. Young skilled mentors teach a very comprehensive curriculum, covering the body and emotional changes that come with puberty, reproductive systems, hygiene and menstruation management, but also children's rights, relationships and the health risks of teenage pregnancy.
Through this holistic approach to puberty, girls learn about peer pressure and decision-making. The goal is to make girls more aware of their environment and culture and thus better able to make healthy choices. The Project encourages girls to share their doubts and feelings with parents and friends.
The Wezesha Vijana Project is featured in the UNESCO publication Puberty, Education, & Menstrual Hygiene Management.
Asante Africa Foundation believes in the power of knowledge as the catalyst that will empower the next generation of change agents. We provide African youth with access to high quality education and the tools to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom, creating opportunities to transform Africa and the world.