The laureates of the second edition of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO in September 2017 on the basis of the recommendations made by the International Jury of the Prize.
The two laureates are The Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Center in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (DEPDC/GMS) in Thailand and The Mini Academy of Science and Technology (MaCTec) in Peru.
The Prize was awarded at an official award ceremony, which took place in Xiamen, China on 5 September 2017 on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. Professor Pen Liyuan, the First Lady of China, and Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General provided each of the two laureates a diploma honoring their outstanding contribution in the field of girls’ and women’s education and an award of USD 50,000 to support their work.
The two organizations were selected from nearly over 50 nominations made by Members States and non-governmental organizations in official relations with UNESCO. WomEng from South Africa also received a special mention by UNESCO and the National Commission of the People’s Repulic of China for UNESCO for its outstanding contributions to girls’ and women’s education during the award ceremony.
The Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Center in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (DEPDC/GMS)
The Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Center in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (DEPDC/GMS) is a community-based non-governmental organization (NGO) in Northern Thailand committed to preventing child trafficking and exploitation through protection, education and life-skills training. Founded by Mr. Sompop Jantraka in 1989, DEPDC/GMS is helping children to understand their rights and build sense of self-worth, and also works on family and community development to create environments in which child exploitation does not occur. DEPDC/GMS was formally recognized by the Thai government in 1995, and has been working for over 20 years to protect child rights and empower girls.
DEPDC/GMS was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education for its “Education and Life Skills Training Programme to Help Stateless Children and Women Migrating from Shan State to Thailand”. The innovative programme uses education and life skills training to protect migrant girls and women from the risks of human trafficking and sexual or labour exploitation. It also works on the rehabilitation of girls and women who have fallen prey to these abuses. It is recognized as a model that can be replicated in the country and elsewhere in the world.
The Mini Academy of Science and Technology (MaCTec)
The Mini Academy of Science and Technology (MaCTec) is a non-profit in Peru which aims to create the first generation of Peruvian women scientists that can change the world and close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The MaCTec model enables girls to attend workshop with established scientists where they can wonder, create, and experiment and then return home to their peers and community to share their experience, and apply their learning.
MaCTec Peru was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education for its “Mobile MaCTec Bus Labs/Mini Academy of Science and Technology” project. In its 5 years of operations, MaCTec has trained 200 girls from diverse social and economic sectors of Lima, Huancayo and Huaraz who have gone on to hold workshops in schools and reach out to their peers. MaCTec estimates that at least 20,000 children have been reached in 5 years, without counting the impact of MaCTec girls in their family and community at large. MacTec has been developed in partnership with state authorities, private donors and the academic community. It is scalable and can be replicated in other countries.
WomEng is a multi-award winning social enterprise working since 2006 to develop girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and women engineering leaders. The organization achieves its mandate by creating awareness of STEM careers for girls; providing women and girls with knowledge and skills to access and thrive in engineering including leadership, entrepreneurship and cognitive skills; trained mentors and innovative problem solving skills.
GirlEng Programme is innovative as it uses a holistic approach to girl’s education both in STEM skills, cognitive and behavioral skills. Its unique pedagogy of learning through play, through storytelling and through teaching helps students grasp concepts better. The GirlEng programme does not only help girls gain knowledge, but also help them with access to scholarship opportunities, mentors and jobs. It has been tested in South Africa and Kenya, and will soon reach out to 10 countries.