Realising the adverse effects the Covid 19 pandemic had on the education of the girl child, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP)Bureau has thrown its weight behind the African Union International Center for Girls and Women's Education in Africa (CIEFFA) #AfricaEducatesHer initiative.
The AfricaEducatesHer campaign is a response to the Covid-19 related educational crisis launched in 2020 to mobilize and urge stakeholders to take action that protects girls' and young women's right to education and ensures that all girls continue learning and return to school.
President of the PAP, H.E Chief Fortune Charumbira, speaking at a workshop jointly hosted by the PAP and CIEFFA said the workshop is timely ans will add momentum to issues surrounding education of women and girls. "On behalf of the PAP, we are really grateful to the AU CIEFFA and our Committee on Education for this workshop. This is to discuss and put a renewed impetus on the issues around the education of women and girls," said HE Chief Charumbira.
The workshop is taking place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP Second Ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. H.E Chief Charumbira said the Covid-19 pandemic wiped off gains that had been made towards education of women and girls and urged National Parliaments to pass budgets that are sensitive to women and girls education.
"When Covid-19 struck, it disrupted and undermined some of the advancements that had been made in the education of women and girls. Even the capacity of parents to fund the education became limited. So it is imperative that after Covid we gather in the manner we have to reflect on the funding of education for the girl child. As legislators, it is our duty to oversight, let us oversight on what our Member States have done and when we pass national budgets let us pass national budgets that promote the #AfricaEducateHer campaign," added H.E Chief Charumbira.
H.E Chief Charumbira continued: "As PAP we are part of this campaign in full. We are happy and proud as PAP that we are currently developing a Model Law on Gender Equality and this will support the #AfricaEducatesHer campaign. I reaffirm the commintment of the PAP to empowering women."
Speaking at the same workshop, Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Education, Hon Amina Abdou Souna, said that all girls had a right to accessing education. "Education is a basic human right that none should be denied and all girls should have access to education without any hindrances. This meeting is meant to find lasting solutions to issues affecting young girls and since the pandemic girls have been immensely affected. Statistics show that 11 million girls are unable to go to school as a result of this pandemic," said Hon Amina Abdou Souna.
She added that this platform will provide the PAP the opportunity to share innovative policy and legislative reforms adopted at national levels to address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the education systems in general and on girls and women specifically.
The AU CIEFFA Acting Coordinator, Mrs Simone Yankey-Ouattara, hailed partnership currently existing with the PAP. "CIEFFA has been colloborating with the PAP and together we have conducted advocacy for out of school girls and for their reintegration into the education system. We have also been supporting AU Member States to adopt affirmative action for girls to return to school," said Mrs Simone Yankey-Ouattara. She added that there is an urgency and necessity in investing in girls’ education as there are 32,6 million out of school girls both in primary and secondary school and of this figure 9,3 million were likely never to set foot in school again.