What are UNICEF strategies for addressing girls' education?

© UNICEF/ HQ99-0495/ Horner
A group participate in a UNICEF-sponsored landmine awareness class. TFYR Macedonia

The rights-based approach. Premised on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, this approach focuses on the 125 million children, 66 million of them girls, who are denied their right to basic quality education.

The multi-sectoral approach. Honed over decades of work, this approach recognizes that integrated actions in related fields yield the greatest results for children’s education. For example, interventions in health and nutrition improve a child’s chances for survival and sound development. They contribute to better performance in school. Likewise, providing school meals improves nutrition. It provides an incentive to enrol and keep a child in school. And ensuring safe water and adequate sanitation ensures that girl as well as boys will enrol and stay in school.

“Accompanying” countries. This strategy is based on the idea that countries often need help beyond the provision of funds. Having been invited by government, UNICEF becomes involved in day-to-day decision-making to ensure education for every child, while respecting the vision that a country has set out for its own development. UNICEF is uniquely positioned for this role because of its track record, its decentralized structure and its experience in more than 150 countries.

Acceleration. UNICEF, in collaboration with dozens of partners, has committed itself to doing everything possible to maximize the enrolment of girls in 25 countries where the situation is most critical, by the year 2005. 

In these countries, UNICEF is concentrating resources, intensifying interventions and working closely with national governments and a wide range of partners to reach out-of-school girls.

At the same time, we are undertaking global and country-level advocacy and communications campaigns to raise public expectation, mobilize political action and encourage financial support.

The lessons learned over the next three years will be applied to accelerating girls’ education in other countries, until all the world’s children, girls as well as boys, can exercise their right to a quality education.

Through the private sector, UNICEF is giving an added push to girls’ enrolment. In the long run, such efforts are expected to yield positive gains towards women empowerment, poverty alleviation and balanced economic growth.

Existing programmes, including those carried out with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank, will be complemented and strengthened. So too, will existing partnerships, in the interest of speeding up progress for girls



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