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ADEA/FAWE Challenge: Advancing Girls’ Secondary Education towards SDG 4 and 5

Focusing on Access, Retention and Performance

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The Association for the Development of Education in Africa’s Working Group on Education Management and Policy Support (ADEA WGEMPS) and the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) are searching for ideas and scalable innovative programmes and projects that can successfully enhance girls’ secondary education in Africa. The challenge will run from October 25 to December 25, 2016. Participants stand a chance to win a US $1,000 cash prize.

This initiative is in line with the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 4 and 5 of the 2030 Agenda, which are respectively “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This initiative is a follow up to the ADEA/FAWE’s recently executed Most Significant Change Stories competition, in line with ADEA’s contribution to facilitating the transformation of education and training to drive Africa’s accelerated and sustainable development, and FAWE’s mission of promoting gender equity and equality in education in Africa.

Specifically, the challenge seeks to provide a platform for identifying possible successful models in the acceleration of girls’ education at secondary school level as well as programmes or projects that can be replicated or scaled up to provide girls with access to quality education across the continent. It seeks to provide a compendium of best practices on gender equity in the education and training sector.

Educating girls has enormous social and economic returns. These gains are well reflected in reduced female fertility rates; improved child mortality rates; contained early marriages; increase in future earnings (10% to 20%); increased knowledge of HIV/AIDS and safer sex; reduced vulnerability to gender-based violence and human trafficking; improved nutrition and health, as well as increased civic and political participation, among other benefits. These returns are particularly high in developing countries. Each additional year of schooling increases growth by 0.58% per year, and according to the 2011 World Bank Group Report ‘The Girl Effect Dividend’, increasing secondary education for girls by 1% results in an annual income increase of 0.3 % per capita.

Innovations at the secondary level are particularly relevant post-2015 given that the goals of Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on gender equality was missed, especially at secondary level. Clearly, increasing investment in human capital development, especially of women, through education should be a top priority for countries seeking to increase both their economic and human development indices. In many cases, the complexities of gender biases, and cultural beliefs and practices require adaptation of multiple strategies and innovations that are unique and disruptive.[1] 


The Challenge will employ not only traditional media, but also information and communication technology (ICT) as well as social media to reach a wider audience. An interactive webpage has been developed to allow people anywhere in the world to post their gender responsive technologies/initiatives/solutions online and receive constructive questions and comments on elements that make them a best practice or successful. Please visit ( to view the guidelines for submissions. The best submissions will be chosen by the open challenge community through an online voting system.[2] Once this stage has been concluded, a compendium of best practices on advancing girls’ education at secondary level will be produced, disseminated and widely publicized. 

Expected Outcome

The ultimate goal is to have a repository of knowledge on collaborative technologies/initiatives/solutions to gender inequalities in education and training. This may also provide a reference of best practices on advancing girls’ secondary education. Ideally, it will also contribute to an iterative culture in development work in Africa where potential interventions take guidance from the evidence of previous initiatives, thereby building better programmes.

Media Contacts

  • Stefano De Cupis, Senior Communication Officer, ADEA, tel. +225 20 26 42 61,
  • Makha Ndao, Coordinator, ADEA WGEMPS, tel. +263 47 76 115, m.ndao@afdb,org
  • Daphne Nawa Chimuka, Network Specialist, FAWE, tel. +260 97 84 80 255, 


For any technical assistance concerning the submission, please email us at: and

About ADEA:

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a forum for policy dialogue, composed of all the 54 Ministers of Education in Africa. Established in 1988 at the instigation of the World Bank, it has evolved into a pan-African institution based within the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). Since its inception, it has acted on processes that have had profound impact on policy-making in Africa through evidence-based policy dialogue, capacity building, advocacy and networking. ADEA’s work has expanded to focus more on the development of skills and competencies across all the education sub-sectors. It envisions a “high quality African education and training system that is geared towards the promotion of critical knowledge and skills for accelerated and sustainable development in Africa”.

About FAWE:

The Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWE) – a graduated working group of ADEA – is a pan-African Non-Governmental Organization working in 33 African countries to empower girls and women through gender-responsive education. FAWE was founded in 1992 by five African women Ministers of Education and it was created on the staunch belief that women in decision making positions have the potential to make a significant difference. FAWE works hand-in-hand with communities, schools, civil society, Non-Governmental Organizations and ministries to achieve gender equity and equality in education through targeted programmes. Through its work, it influences government policy, builds public awareness, demonstrates best educational practice through effective models, and encourages the adoption of these models by governments and institutions of education.

[1] Issa Davies, 2009, Girls Education in Sierra Leone, “I am so proud of it”, UNICEF

[2] Terms and Conditions apply

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