08.02.2017 - GENDER

Opening ceremony for the second TeachHer training in San José

The enthusiasm was palpable in the room during the opening ceremony held on occasion of the second TeachHer training programme on 14 November at the University of Peace in San José, Costa Rica.

The TeachHer initiative is based on the concept that teachers are key drivers to empowering girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, arts and design and mathematics (STEAM). The programme targets educators in middle-schools where the dropout rates for girls are the highest and a time where girls are at the cusp of their transition to adulthood, when their future decisions can be impacted. It also supports countries in implementing STEAM programmes both in their formal curricula, as well as in after-school activities in order to inspire, equip, and sustain girls' interests in STEAM careers.

Speakers to the opening ceremony included Director of the Division for Gender Equality of UNESCO, Ms. Saniye Gülser Corat - First Lady of Costa Rica, Ms Mercedes Peñas Domingo - First Lady of Honduras, Ms Ana Rosalinda García de Hernández - Second Lady of the United States, Dr Jill Biden (by way of video message) - United States Ambassador to Costa Rica, Mr Fitzgerald Haney and University of Peace Rector, Dr Francisco Rojas Aravena. 

All speakers lauded the programme and its value for women and girls. Ms Corat stressed that “empowering and equipping girls and women with the drive and the means to achieve their dreams is our responsibility,” and for this “we must consider the powerful role of teachers” – a central value of the training programme.

Watch the video of the opening ceremony

The week-long training gathered STEAM teachers from 8 countries in the Central America region (Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panamá), school administrators, government representatives and other stakeholders to enhance and nurture the participation of women and girls in STEAM careers.

The training was composed of formal sessions, presentations and group work, coordinated by Dr Gloria Bonder, UNESCO Regional Chair for Women, Science and Technology in Latin America. The trainers – including representatives of Microsoft, VentureLab and CEO of the Los Angeles Film School –  provided participants with sessions related to ICTs and computer science, arts and design in the film industry and entrepreneurship, respectively and among others.

Drawing on the April 2016 decision of the Executive Board, the TeachHer partnership builds on UNESCO’s work in promoting science education and rewarding women scientists through the L’Oréal Foundation. It was launched at UNESCO Headquarters in June 2016 together with Second Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, and the First lady of Costa Rica, Mercedes Peñas Domingo.

The first phase of the training programme was piloted in Africa in August 2016 and reached 58 teachers and educators from 6 different African countries.

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