22.05.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Michelle Bachelet and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands to attend anniversary of UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s education

©UN Photo/Mark Garten - Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women

The Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, a UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, will join UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on Friday 25 May to review the achievements of UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education during its first year.

The event, which will be held as a panel discussion, will also be attended by the Minister for Primary and Civic education in Chad, Faïchou Etienne, and representatives of several other members of the Partnership, including Bunker Roy from the Barefoot College, an Indian Non-Governmental Organization; Vikas Pota, Chief Executive of the Varkey Gems Foundation; Sirma Umur, Proctor and Gamble’s Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa; Laura Ipsen, Vice President, Public Sector, for Microsoft and Sahlu Haile, Regional Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa, Packard Foundation .

The Global Partnership was launched in 2011, armed with the conviction that education for girls’ and women has the power to break cycles of poverty and achieve greater social justice. The challenge is daunting: 508 million of the 792 million illiterate adults worldwide  are women. Furthermore, although the total number of illiterate adults is decreasing worldwide, the proportion of women remains constant at around 64%.

Over the past 12 months, the Partnership’s main focus has been on Africa, where a number of projects have been launched. In Senegal, for example, a program funded by Procter and Gamble has opened 160 class rooms in seven regions and trained 100 literacy trainers who are teaching 3,000 women.

Another project funded by the Packard Foundation is working with 13 schools in Ethiopia and 15 in Tanzania on activities aimed at preventing girls from dropping out of school.

In Kenya and Lesotho, the Varkey GEMS Foundation is working  with UNESCO on gender-sensiotive teacher training with the aim of encouraging more girls to attend school, and increase their participation in mathematics, science and technology education.

Participants attending the Global Partnership’s first anniversary will review these and other activities underway, and look at ways to scale up their action and further strengthen the Partnership and keep the momentum initiated by its launch 12 months ago.


The first anniversary event for the Global partnership for Girl’s and Women’s Education will be held in Room IV, from 4.30pm to 6.30 pm on Friday, 25 May. Journalists wishing to cover the event require accreditation.                                     

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