|© UNICEF/HQ03-0369/Ami Vitale|
|Girls and young women share a laugh during a skit in the Women's Education Centre in Gaya District, Bihar, India.|
It is our commitment that no girl will be left behind as her country attempts to move forward, and that every girl will be educated to assume her rightful place as an agent in her country’s development.
—Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director
With girls’ education as one of its priorities, UNICEF is working with governments and a range of partners to achieve robust and sustainable gains in gender parity in primary and secondary education.
To this end we have launched a major new initiative to intensify efforts in 25 countries to maximize the number of girls in school by 2005. The lessons learned during this period will be applied to accelerating girls’ education in other countries until all the world’s children enjoy their right to a quality education.
In identifying the 25, UNICEF looked for one or more of the following: low enrolment rates for girls (less than 70%); gender gaps of more than 10% in primary education; countries with more than 1 million girls out of school; countries included on the World Bank’s Education For All Fast Track Initiative; and countries hard hit by a range of crises that affect school opportunities for girls, such as HIV/AIDS and conflict.
The 25 countries currently participating in the acceleration strategy are:
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, India, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, Yemen and Zambia.