Colm Brophy, T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora will tomorrow co-host a roundtable discussion on girls’ education with Alice Albright, CEO of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Brophy said:
“On this International Women’s Day, I want to restate Irish Aid’s commitment to ensuring all girls, no matter where they live and whatever their circumstances, can excel in education so they can reach their full potential.
“Our history is a demonstration of the importance of education for economic and social development. Educating girls transforms not just their lives but entire societies: it underpins true sustainable development, true equality.
“That is why over the past year, Ireland has put a spotlight on adolescent girls’ education, the Drive for Five – access to 12 years of free education, supportive schools and gender responsive curricula, relevant education and skills, ensuring girls are safe from violence, and keeping girls healthy and in school.
“We need to work with others if we are to achieve this goal. One of our most important allies is the Global Partnership for Education, which is dedicated to ensuring that children in the poorest countries have go to school – and be well taught. Tomorrow I will be exploring with Alice Albright, CEO of GPE, how we can deepen our partnership with GPE.
“I am excited that Gemma Hayes, together with Hermione Hennessy and other musicians have today released a song, Raise Her Up, to raise awareness of girls’ education. Gemma and Hermione, together with Bridget Akurut, a GPE Youth Leader from Uganda, will join Alice and I to discuss how we can better support the 130 million girls out of school and the many more who are in school but not learning.”
8 March 2021
- The Global Partnership for Education is the only education partnership and fund dedicated to achieving quality education in lower-income countries. It is seeking to raise USD 5 billion over the next five years to support its work in over 87 lower-income countries.
- In lower income countries, girls have poorer education outcomes compared with boys or with girls in higher income countries. Only 29% of girls complete lower secondary education, 13% upper secondary education, and only 53% of girls aged 15-24 can read a simple sentence compared with 76% of boys in the same age. In 20 countries, where data is available, not one poor rural female student has completed upper secondary education.
- In February 2020, Ireland organised a special meeting at the United Nations on how to get all adolescent girls into school and learning in supportive, safe and healthy environments and launched a global call to action – the Drive for Five. This called on all governments and stakeholders to commit to five transformative actions to get all adolescent girls into school and provide them with quality, relevant education in supportive, safe and healthy environments. This was followed by a special meeting on adolescent girls’ education during COVID and a recent series of dialogues on girls’ education and gender equality.
- Irish Aid supports countries to deliver on the Drive for Five. In Zambia, Malawi, and Uganda Ireland helps vulnerable girls to complete secondary education through financial support and mentoring. In the Karamoja province of Uganda, Ireland works with local government, schools and communities to overcome cultural barriers to girls attending school, including steps to eradicate FGM. Ireland supports the Sierra Leonean Government to roll out free secondary education with a focus on girls through its “radical inclusion” policy. Through a partnership with UNESCO, Ireland is working to reduce early and unintended pregnancies and gender based violence through integrating quality comprehensive sexuality education programmes into education curricula and safe, healthier and inclusive school environments.