Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education: The UNESCO Office in Bamako Receives the KOICA delegation

Bamako, 21 March– In hopes of increasing access to relevant and quality education for adolescent girls and young women in Mali, the UNESCO office in Bamako received a delegation from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) from 17-23 March.

The objective of the visit is to evaluate the feasibility of implementing  a Joint UNESCO-UNFPA-UNWOMEN project aimed at empowering adolescent girls and young women through education in Mali (2016-2020). This project is to be implemented with four ministries, namely: The Ministry of National Education, the Ministry for the Promotion of Women, Children and Family, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Employment Vocational Training, Youth and Civic Education, as well as with civil society in Mali.

The delegation is composed of five members lead by Mr. Ki Jung SONG (Resident Representative of KOICA for West Africa), Ms. Sun Kyung PARK (Assistant Manager, Education and Health team KOICA HQ), Ms. Soon Young CHOI (Director, Health Specialist, World Vision Korea HQ), Ms. Jin Joo CHUNG (Director, Gender Specialist, Institute for Society and Health HQ) and Mr. Fode DOUMBIA (Staff, Project Manager, KOICA Senegal).

The delegation met with the Minister of National Education, the Minister of Health, the Minister for Promotion of Women, Children and Family, the Minister of Employment, Vocational Training, Youth and Civic Education. The delegation also had an opportunity to meet with representatives of UNFPA, UN Women, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in MINUSMA and UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP. Thanks to the field visit to some pertinent sites, including centers for the empowerment of young women and adolescent girls, the KOICA delegates had a chance to experience the complexity of everyday life and gain better understanding of specific Malian context.

The KOICA project will be implemented in different regions across Mali and district of Bamako. The expected results are: increased access to quality education for adolescent girls and young women; provision of protective and gender-sensitive learning environments adapted to their daily context and tailored to improve gender relations; strengthened links between education and health and social services for adolescent girls and young women; access to clean water; availability of quality and relevant data on gender-sensitive education, amongst others. The joint program UNSECO-UNFPA-UN Women was launched in March 2015 and brings together respective strengths of three UN agencies to break the cycle of exclusion and vulnerability, to ensure that girls benefit from a full cycle of quality education. The aim of the joint program is to impact as many adolescents and young women between the ages of (10-19) and (20-24), in a country were challenges facing girls and young women’s education are still vast and persistent.  

The Korea International Cooperation Agency, founded in 1991, is responsible for aid programs geared towards the reduction of poverty as well as socio-economic development in developing countries, not only through the strengthening international development cooperation but also in forging partnerships with developing countries.