Pan African Girl Child Education Foundation (PAGCEF) is a non-governmental Organization, founded with the aim of supporting, sponsoring and contributing to the education of girl children across the continent of Africa.
PAGCEF officially flagged off its Pan African Girl Child Education Campaign in Nigeria, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Monday 23rd March, 2015, in the presence of various dignitaries and stakeholders, including Youth Leaders, Women Leaders, Students and Celebrities from Nigeria entertainment Industry.
In Africa, a Continent which is constantly faced with challenges of bridging the gap between the rural and urban areas in coping with a constant and endless migration of people from rural to the urban areas in search of “greener pasture” and quality education, embarking in education of women and their empowerment is of utmost important and cannot be ignored, if Africa must move forward.
It is a known fact that, in spite of the constant yearnings of quality and affordable education, the educational sector still receives less attention from Annual Budgets in African Continent such that the 26% target stipulated and recommended by UNESCO for nations are hardly reached especially in Africa.
Girls’ education has become a major issue in most developing Countries around the World, where large number of young girls still do not attend school. According to the data made available by Global Partnership for Education, that despite dramatic improvements over the last decade, progress towards achieving education for all has stagnated. In total, 121 million children and adolescents are currently out of primary and lower secondary school worldwide – a number that has remained essentially constant since 2007. 78 million of these children live in Africa and other developing countries.
A disproportionate number of out-of-school children live in countries that are characterized by instability and conflict and/or extreme poverty. Conflict-affected countries have only 20% of the world’s primary-school-age children but 50% of the world’s out-of-school children, and 55 million out-of-school children live in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the countries with the highest numbers of out-of-school children still do not receive adequate external financing to meet their needs.
As we may be aware, education is crucial for the empowerment and emancipation of girls and women and the protection of their dignity as human beings as well as their fundamental human rights. There is a maxim which says, “If you educate a girl child, you have educated the entire society.” Educating a girl has a transformational effect that changes communities and the entire society. Girl Child Education contributes directly to the growth of national income, by improving the productive capacity of the labour force of every nation.
In the last few decades, women groups have emerged across the world calling and demanding for equal rights and participation in all facets of political, economic, social, educational and cultural life of their nations and societies. One of them, Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, articulated the purposes for their agitations in her message to the International Women’s Day and I quote her here at length:
“What we want for the twenty-first century is a rekindling of hope, the capacity for women around the world to bring their dreams of equality of access, opportunity and rights, freedom from discrimination, related intolerance and peace to reality, a better world for all.”
Similarly, Myles Munroe also stated: “For thousands of years, in nearly every culture and tradition in the world, women have been devalued and therefore mistreated in some way… Only in the relatively recent past, mainly in industrial nations, have people risen up and agreed that the devaluing of women is not right.”
This has no doubt, confirmed Gabriel A. Almond and Sydney Verba’s declaration in their study of “Civic Culture” across five nations, that “if there is a political revolution going on throughout the world; it is what might be called the participation revolution.”
Hence, there is growing consensus that some intellectual traditions have contributed to the lack of attention that has been given to the girl child educational needs. There is therefore, the great need for the development of a theoretical framework that will guide policy actions in support of Girl Child Education in Africa.
Mrs. Chidinma P. Ekpenyong
Pan African Girl Child Education Foundation