Girls in focus at international education forum

thumbnailIn London last Thursday (7 July), Viva staff were present at the Girls’ Education Forum to hear the UK government’s pledge to provide an extra £100 million to give the world’s poorest, most marginalised girls a quality education.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced the commitment by the Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) to help 175,000 girls who have dropped out or never attended school due to family crises, poverty, child marriage or early pregnancy.

The funding will also continue to support the GEC programme to help one million disadvantaged girls across the developing world.

Justine GreeningJustine said, “Education doesn’t just shape individuals, it shapes countries – but right now too many young girls are deprived of an education simply because of their gender. Today’s event is about putting a spotlight on that, and focusing on what education can do to unlock prospects for girls around the world.”

Viva and CRANE, its partner network in Uganda, are three years into a four-year GEC programme in Kampala, helping 4,000 marginalised girls receive six months’ catch-up education and step back into mainstream school, whilst also mentoring their families and training teachers about creative learning.

More than 2,500 girls have already been through the creative learning centres with nearly 1,500 girls graduating to another form of learning.

We were at the Forum, alongside other charities, to showcase this work through an eye-catching, interactive stand where we displayed a girls’ journey on the programme through a Lego model of Kampala. There was a live video link to our classrooms in Uganda, showing lessons taking place, and girls using a new IT bus, which only arrived that day.




Mim Friday (far left in photo above), Viva’s Network Consultant for Africa, participated in a workshop hosted by Baroness Verma entitled ‘reaching disabled girls’.

The Forum, hosted by the Department for International Development (DFID), Global Citizen + CHIME FOR CHANGE at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster, London, brought together governments, businesses and aid agencies to drive the implementation of Global Goal 4 to achieve universal, quality education.

Attendees also included over 150 young volunteers who have taken part in DFID’s International Citizen Service programme, which is managed by Voluntary Services Overseas.

20160707_161507There was a truly international flavour with speakers from countries including South Sudan, India, Afghanistan, Norway, the United States and Australia, whose former Prime Minister Julia Gillard – now Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education – said: “Investing in girls and women isn’t just morally right: it is essential for the development of families, communities and countries. When we educate girls, we see reduced child deaths, healthier children and mothers, fewer child marriages and faster economic growth”.

Reflecting on the day, Mim says, “It was great to see the innovative ideas of others from around the world and feed them into our thinking about keeping children safe and giving them a quality education.”