AWEN Leadership Reviews Progress towards Gender Equality

The African Women in Education Network (AWEN) workshop, held under the theme, ‘’Education unions united for gender equality’’, took place from 11th to 14th December 2023, at the Mensvic Grand Hotel, Accra-Ghana. Organised by Education International Africa (EIA), the 4-day workshop aimed to assess the activities implemented by the regional network and the four (4) sub-regional networks. The workshop was attended by 15 participants, including members of the AWEN Advisory Committee, EIA Secretariat Staff members, as well as representatives of the partner organisations: the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE), SverigesLärare/ the Swedish Teachers Union (STU), and  Union of Education Norway (UEN). 
The workshop reviewed the outcomes of AWEN regional, sub-regional, and national activities implemented in 2023 and reflected on the future actions of the Network. Participants also shared experiences on the work done by the trade unions in relation to gender equality, as well as on the campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
In his opening remarks, Dennis Sinyolo, the EIA Regional Director, highlighted that participants need to redouble, re-treble and even re-quadruple efforts to make education unions and systems truly democratic and inclusive.
“As we review the progress made so far, let us use these opportunities to intensify our push for quality public education for every boy and girl, woman, and man. There is no quality education without equity, equality, and inclusion”, he added. 
He encouraged participants to continue to advocate for the adoption and implementation of ILO Convention 190. “Our schools, colleges and universities and unions need to be completely free from sexual violence and all forms of harassment”. He cited that only 9 African countries have ratified this important instrument. These are: Central African Republic, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, and Uganda. 
The Regional Network (AWEN) and those of the four sub-regional networks: West Africa Women in Education Network (WAWEN), Central Africa Women in Education Network (RESAC), Southern Africa Women in Education Network (SAWEN), and Women’s Network in East Africa (WNEA), and came up with detailed work plans to improve their activities in 2024. This included the need to have more training on mentoring, and advocacy.
The meeting elected a new leadership of the advisory committee.  Agnes Bikoko was elected new President; Joan Aja, Vice-President; Aissata Bakayoko, General Secretary; Herminia do Nascimento, Deputy Secretary General,; Alice Chemili, Resource Mobilizer, and other members will be subregional coordinators.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Dennis Sinyolo, said Education International Africa will continue to intensify efforts to achieve gender equality through AWEN and across all our programmes, projects, and activities. He added that our education systems should be truly inclusive, ensuring equal opportunities for girls and boys, women, and men. “We need more women leaders in our schools, colleges, and universities”, he emphasised. He later encouraged participants to ensure that the plans that they have developed this week are fully implemented and they report timeously and share the stories of success with the EI Africa Regional office. 
Sinyolo concluded by stressing the need for participants to foster peer learning, deepen collaboration and enhance solidarity. He stated that by joining hands with sister unions and like-minded civil society and other organisations, they can achieve greater things together. They can rally together to push for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 and for the achievement of gender equality in our lifetime. “Yes, it’s hard but possible. As Nelson Mandela said, it may seem impossible until it’s done”, he urged the participants.

[Sun, 17 Dec 2023 09:57:00 +0100] | DIGG THIS

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