|Youth delegates who participated in a roundtable discussion for the new girls' education strategy UK DFID launch.|
The UK pledge of £1.4 billion comes as UNICEF intensifies its campaign to meet the Millennium Development Goal of gender parity in education by 2005.
The strategy was announced by Chancellor Gordon Brown at a roundtable discussion on girls’ education, attended by UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy and Hilary Benn, international Development Secretary. UNICEF applauded the UK’s initiative.
“Educating girls is one of the most important investments that any country can make in its own future. UNICEF welcomes the UK £1.4 billion pledge and strategy to help governments make the education of girls and ultimately all children a top priority in schools,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy.
Five young women ages 12 to 28 from Africa attended the roundtable and talked about how education has changed their lives.
|UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy at the UK DFID's new girls' education strategy launch.|
“The best way to empower girls in school is first of all making sure they get into school and being sensitive to their needs. Their parents need to know the importance of schools and the girls need good facilities once they join school. Health facilities are particularly important,” said participant Carolin, 18, from Uganda.
The UK’s initiative and funds will support governments to remove school fees; to provide better facilities at schools for girls such as separate toilets and free meals and to employ more female teachers and to encourage international and community leaders to ensure that girls have the same educational opportunities as boys.
The majority of the 115 million children that are currently denied an education are girls.
The UK government is a partner of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), a worldwide partnership and movement that works to narrow the gender gap in primary and secondary education by 2005 and to ensure that by 2015, all children complete primary schooling.
UNICEF is the lead agency and Secretariat for UNGEI. A Global Advisory Committee is composed of key partners who share in the planning, decision-making, guidance and accountability of UNGEI whose focal points around the world will facilitate the coordination of girls’ education strategies and interventions at the country level.
The Chancellor’s announcement coincides with the launch of a new website dedicated to UNGEI (http://www.ungei.org/).