The business community and private foundations have unique strategic capabilities that can help more girls get a quality education and a chance at a better life. Breaking down barriers to girls’ education unleashes a powerful force -the impacts range from economic growth to the development of a new generation of leaders. As education opens up new possibilities for their lives, it also reduces child marriage and improves health for both today’s girls and the next generation.
Through the Girls' Education Awareness Program, a group of regional and global private sector partners are contributing their networks, outreach and communication assets to advocate for girls' education in 3 countries - Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana.
In Kenya, private sector partners like Ecobank, Avanti Communications and Rotary in Kenya are collaborating with the Ministry of Education, civil society and youth leaders. Together they are mobilizing their social media assets and community outreach capabilities to amplify positive messaging on girls' education and support this innovative program that will help to bring about change in the norms and behaviors that keep girls from school.
For International Girls in ICT Day 2022, Ecobank organized an event in their Nairobi office advocating for girls to be inspired and supported in studying STEM and embracing technical and scientific careers, in support of one of the Ministry of Education’s stated priorities for girls’ education. The inspiring event featured youth leaders from across the continent along with senior leaders from Ecobank and the Forum for African Women Educationalists who shared their journey and experiences in pursuing STEM fields. In addition to 100+ live participants on Zoom, a group of young female leaders and members of the community viewed the livestream from Ecobank offices in Kenya.
Avanti Communications kicked off the Girls’ Education Awareness Program) campaign in Kenya earlier this year with a video series featuring local staff and GPE youth leaders sharing how education helped transform their lives. The video was promoted via social media and company handles and was disseminated to Avanti-supported schools via tablets and WhatsApp groups, reaching over 125,000 users across multiple platforms. Kenya’s superstar rugby player and Avanti sports champion Collins Injera visited a school outside of Nairobi, interacting with young boys and girls and sharing his own experience to encourage young children and communities to follow their dreams and aspirations and continue their education.
Through their expansive network of volunteers, Rotary members in Kenya carried out outreach campaigns, speaking to children and their parents about the value of education in their lives, sensitizing young girls and boys, and their communities on menstrual hygiene and sanitation to ensure their safe and healthy participation in schools. Community action is critical to creating any concrete movement on harmful social and cultural norms. And members of Rotary in Kenya are using their voice to create community awareness around key issues preventing girls from attending school.
00:00:03 – INTV Sharon Wawira – 22-year-old graduate student
00:00:45 – INTV Cheikh Travaly – Ecobank Executive
00:01:59 – B-roll – Ecobank Webinar session
00:02:19 – B-roll/INTV – Marble Quarry Primary School / Sportsman Collins Injera visits
00:03:42 – B-roll/INTV – Lessons at Marble Quarry PS / Student Sereti Matipei
00:05:04 – INTV – Harbey Haramu, Advocate, High Court, Volunteer at Rotary in Kenya
00:05:55 – INTV – Martha Ekirapa, Deputy Director of Education, Kenyan Ministry of Education
Sharon Warwira - Graduate
Well, I think most girls are discouraged by it, especially something like engineering, it can be termed as quote unquote hard, it can be a hard course, and they're discouraged from doing hard courses, and there's a stereotype that girls are mostly meant for the easy courses like languages and humanities, but there's a future in technology and I believe that girls are part of it.
I can be an agent of change, I can be able to encourage other girls to take up such courses, to take up spaces in tech. Without necessarily feeling discouraged but knowing that they're capable and more than able to do it.
Cheikh Travaly - Ecobank Executive
Through this campaign we're looking at achieving mainly two broad objectives. The first one is removing barriers for girls to access education, we see about 52 million girls out there specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, they don't have access to education. So, with our partners we want to contribute to the lifting of these barriers.
The second broad objective we're trying to achieve by putting our experts and then these young women in contact with our wider network of customers and clients is: we want to raise awareness in the society at large and then the second thing, we want to increase the number of advocates to this vital cause of girl’s education.
Collins Injera - Sportsman
I think definitely educating the girl child is important in the society because educating a girl brings up a woman who is educated, which in turn brings up a healthy society, a healthy homestead.
And also to help in terms of reducing harmful cultural practices and eradicating them, for example FGM. And also I think when you educate a girl it levels the playing field and I think also helps girls be able to make wiser choices in terms of career paths.
And also I think it has another side which also helps improve the boy child, because the boy child will definitely have to step up, and also I think reduce early child marriages in some societies so I definitely think it's important to educate the girl child.
Sereti Matipei - Student
It is important for a girl to get an education because some people create a limit for girls, they say there's no need for girls to go to school or to learn because they will just be married and go away.
So, the boys are the only ones who are very valuable because they go to school, finish their studies. Because some parents believe that the boys are the ones that will help them and they forget that the girls are still there and they can be educated, they can become important people ins society and can even come to change their lives more than they think the boys might do.
Harbey Haramu – Advocate, High Court, and Volunteer at Rotary of Kenya
My life would have been very different if I had not been educated today, I'm in charge of my life and I'm able to make decisions for myself and by extension I'm able to inspire other young girls to see the product of education, that they should trust in the process, that this is the product of it.
So, to any young girl out there who is thinking of giving up, who is doubting the fruits of her efforts in education. I'd like to tell you that the future is bright with education
Martha Ekirapa - Deputy Director of Education, Kenyan Ministry of Education
The Global Partnership for Education was able to bring the partners and the government of Kenya together, where the government was able to highlight some of the challenges that are affecting girls to access education.
The Private Sectors were also able to give the government an opportunity to hear what they can be able to provide as far as providing interventions that will enhance girls education in this particular country, and that was the time we started engaging with the private sector, and since then we have seen a lot of fruits bring born from that particular engagement and we have seen quite a number of private sector partners coming in to help government efforts in enhancing girls education.