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Women, Science and Technology
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) 25-28 January 1999

African Forum

Regional Action Plan

Scientific education
Research and technology
Vocational training

OBJECTIVES    Back to top

The present African Forum underlined the fact that the accelerated development of the continent presupposes a vast collective effort, the utilization and mobilization of all human aptitudes in all societies, and the participation of the entire population. African leaders seem to be aware of this need and the promotion of women is becoming a reality in most African countries, where a new attitude toward women is blossoming.

It is in this perspective that the Forum of Ouagadougou proposed a Regional Action Plan aimed to:

  • encourage the implementation of national policies designed to facilitate the access of girls and women to education, training and professional activity in the field of science and technology;
  • promote the pooling of resources and the creation of synergy on the regional and interregional levels;
  • encourage the participation of women in science and technology centers and poles.


The Forum made recommendations in three fields considered to be of priority:

  • scientific education
  • research and technology
  • vocational training.

Scientific education    Back to top

  • Encourage girls to take an interest in science and technology as of primary school;
  • When drawing up Scientific and Technological Programmes and schoolbooks, take into consideration anything that could motivate girls, integrating the traditional knowledge of women and the concerns of girls;
  • Reinforce sex education programmes and promote a policy of support to young women who find themselves in difficult circumstances;
  • Encourage young women to choose a career as teachers, and more specifically science and technology teachers;
  • Multiply the means of support and encouragement for girls choosing scientific and technological studies (scholarships, grants, etc.);
  • Promote a training for trainers programme that would make them aware of the gender issue, i.e. social equality between the sexes;
  • Support positive actions carried out to promote the scientific and technological education of girls, in order to have such actions shared (FEMSA (Female Education in Mathematics and Science in Africa), FAWE (Forum of African Women Educationalists), GASAT, TWOWS (Third World Organization of Women in Science).

Research and technology    Back to top

  • Promote and financially back associations of women scientists and engineers, and assist them in networking;
  • Create special regional funds for women scientists and engineers;
  • Promote women scientists and engineers in decision-making spheres;
  • Place recent technology at the disposal of women: research scientists and teachers;
  • Expand the continuing education of female research scientists and teachers;
  • Encourage women research scientists to provide information on new discoveries to women in urban and rural areas;
  • Draw up regional science and technology awareness campaigns aimed at girls, parents, guidance counselors and teachers;
  • Promote studies and research on any factors blocking women’s access to scientific and technological education and culture and target institutions capable of implementing the necessary changes;
  • Create one or more UNESCO "Women, Science and Technology" Chairs in each of the linguistic zones of Africa;
  • Promote the creation of a network between the various UNESCO Chairs in Africa;
  • Spotlight women scientists and engineers and their works by bestowing awards and featuring them on radio and television and in newspaper articles, etc. so that they act as models for girls, thereby nurturing scientific vocations.

Vocational training    Back to top

  • Create formal and informal education programmes that include science and technology on an elementary level, but one vital to improving living conditions, and provide the resulting training for trainers;
  • Train the guidance counselors responsible for giving young people information on promising trades that girls can choose (textile industry, solar energy, new information and communications technologies, etc.);
  • Ask associations of women scientists and engineers to make an inventory of the technologies women use in their crafts and draw up a transfer of technology programme
  • Train women, especially in rural areas, to use and keep up with new technologies such as solar energy and biotechnology;
  • Create a region, national or international Women, Science and Technology Day.


Adopted in Ouagadougou, January 28, 1999


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