Basic education and gender equality

Partnerships for girls' education

© UNICEF/ HQ01-0253/ Leighton
Two children slap hands in a 'high-five' in support of 'Say Yes for Children', London, United Kingdom.

Partnerships have been a defining feature of UNICEF’s work for children since its inception. In education, UNICEF traditionally has been a partner to governments and in particular Ministries of Education. Since the 1990 Education for All Conference in Jomtien, partnerships have multiplied and diversified at community, sub-national, national, regional and international levels. UNICEF now partners with governments, funding agencies, foundations, private sector organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), children’s organizations, communities, schools and ultimately children and families themselves.

Partnerships are essential for understanding and overcoming the barriers to girls’ learning at every level – household and community, school, and policy and systems. Different constituencies from all sectors are needed to identify effective, sustainable strategies.

Since the Education for All conference a wealth of experience has been gained, documented and shared in girls’ education. One example of the power of partnerships is how community involvement has helped to include hard-to-reach-children, especially girls, in school.

Developing, sustaining and participating in partnerships are required for effective advocacy, co-ordination and action for girls’ education. UNICEF will continue to utilize dynamic partnerships until all girls take their rightful place in the classroom.    

Jump starting progress

Partnerships are crucial for UNICEF to accelerate progress in girls’ education. Building, sustaining and participating in partnerships has long been a key educational strategy. Now UNICEF is strengthening these alliances for gender parity in education – with new urgency, at the country level.

All partners are involved in the process – from government to communities, from NGOs to multi-laterals and bi-laterals, from parents to children. UNICEF continues to form new partnerships so gender issues in education are embraced at every level – from the micro to the macro. Some key partnerships include:

  • The Education for All process is an important avenue for strengthening partnerships around girls’ education at the country level.
  • The UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) keeps gender parity on the international radar screen. UNICEF actively uses the UNGEI initiative to galvanize partners and to ensure that another generation of girls will not be lost to illiteracy.
  • The Fast-Track Initiative (FTI), led by the World Bank, is another partnership striving for universal primary education by 2015. Several of the countries involved in UNICEF’s acceleration initiatives are included in FTI. UNICEF works with its country and international partners to ensure that girls are part of the FTI equation and that gender is an integral part of country programmes.



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