CATHOLICS PETITION AFRICAN NATIONS TO SUPPORT “THE 21ST CENTURY AFRICAN GIRL”

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CATHOLICS PETITION AFRICAN NATIONS TO SUPPORT “THE 21ST CENTURY AFRICAN GIRL”

The Bakhita Partnership for Education has unveiled a new initiative, aiming to engage African nations in a concerted effort to boost their investment

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The Bakhita Partnership for Education has unveiled a new initiative, aiming to engage African nations in a concerted effort to boost their investment in education.

This groundbreaking campaign, which was announced during a press conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi’s Arboretum, emphasises the need to adapt educational systems to be more gender-responsive, transformative and forward-looking, ensuring they are aptly suited for the demands of the 21st century.

The campaign dubbed ‘the 21st Century African Girl” is calling on Governments and stakeholders in Education from all over Africa to prioritize the empowerment of Africa’s youth population with skills relevant and sufficient to thrive in this 21st Century in a manner that guarantees gender equity.

Speaking at the event, renowned professor of economics and advisor to the UN Secretary General on sustainable development goals (SDGs) observed that “New data reveals global workforce will increasingly be African. Employers in both the formal and informal sectors increasingly demand workers with digital literacy and 21st-century skills. Yet, the reality is that most of Africa’s youth lack those skills and where they do, the girl child is disproportionately left behind. This is a global social justice issue we are battling. We need to ensure we have both education access for all and equal employment opportunity access for all.”

The educational campaign launched by Education Secretary Ezekiel Machogu is designed for high impact through three dynamic approaches: firstly, the “21st Century African Girl” initiative raises awareness about the situation girl education in Africa; secondly, a robust petition addresses Africa’s Presidents directly, demanding a dedicated 20% of annual national budgets for the education sector, tax-exempt status for sanitary towels to improve girls’ access to school, and a transformative gender-responsive and resilient educational system.

The third strand is a strategic crowdfunding initiative, specifically channeling resources into the Bakhita Partnership Foundation, to bolster support for marginalized children and to advance educational infrastructure, with a particular focus on developing Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools.

The launch comes in the wake of the groundbreaking decision by the African Union to adopt education as the AU Theme of the Year 2024 with the rallying theme being “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa”.

“The future is female, so we need to unlock the continent’s potential by placing 21st Century Gender Transformative education the at the heart of economic development by ensuring that every African learner is equipped for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century”, said Mme Simone Yankey-Ouattara, African Union Centre for Girls and Women Education (AU CIEFFA).

In his welcome remarks, the Director for the Jesuits Justice and Ecology Network Africa and the Board Chairperson of the Bakhita Partnership for Education, Fr. Charles Chilufya, S.J, said “This initiative underscores a commitment to leveraging this pivotal year to advance education equity and empower girls and women across the continent. It is a testament to our dedication to ensuring that every girl receives quality education, prioritizing the most vulnerable and marginalized. We chose to unveil it today as we celebrate the World Social Justice Day. We urge all stakeholders to support this campaign by signing the petition on the  Bakhita website (https://bakhitaafrica.org/)”.

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