Empowering adolescent girls and young women through education

Under the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education “Better Life, Better Future”, the Joint Programme on Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education is a partnership between UNESCO, UN Women and UNFPA. It applies a holistic, multi-sectoral approach to empower girls and young women through a quality education. Over an initial period of five years (2016-2021), the goal is to reach adolescent girls (10-19 years) and young women (20-24 years) in countries where challenges to their education remain significant.

With the support of 15 million USD from the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the Joint Programme plans to reach some 558,000 direct beneficiaries and 918,000 indirect beneficiaries including in and out of school girls and young women, boys and young men, teachers, policymakers and community members in Mali, Nepal and Tanzania. The Joint Programme seeks to reach additional countries, drawing on the experience, tools and lessons learned from these countries.


The Joint Programme aspires to break the cycle of exclusion and vulnerability and takes a life-cycle perspective to do so. It works across relevant sectors including education, health, youth, skills development, technology and women’s economic empowerment. Specifically, it aims to:

  • Ensure that girls and young women benefit from a full cycle of quality education
  • Empower girls and young women with relevant knowledge and skills
  • Support girls and young women in their transitions into adulthood and the labour market, and to fully participate in society

In parallel, ministries, civil society, teachers and health service providers are involved to strengthen social and governance structures impacting girls’ lives, the capacity of national and subnational authorities to promote the growth of gender-transformative educational opportunities, and to ensure country ownership and accountability.

The objectives of the Joint Programme directly contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and support the implementation of national development plans and strategies.

Areas of focus

Drawing on the expertise and experience of partner UN agencies, the Joint Programme supports investments through the education sector and strengthens linkages between education, health, labour, social affairs and other relevant sectors, through four complementary components:

  • Component 1: Improving the quality and relevance of education for adolescent girls and young women
  • Component 2: Strengthening linkages between the health and education sectors to respond to the needs of adolescent girls at risk of adolescent pregnancy and school dropout
  • Component 3: Fostering enabling environments and strengthening inter-sectoral coordination and governance
  • Component 4: Building the data and evidence-base needed for gender-responsive education policies and actions

Get involved

Grounded in the collective commitment of three UN agencies, UNESCO, UN Women, UNFPA, the Joint Programme provides a solid platform for Member States, donors, foundations, the private sector and other stakeholders interested and committed to the promotion of gender equality and girls’ and women’s empowerment through educational opportunities to join the Joint Programme as partners.

To become a partner of the Joint Programme and contribute to UNESCO’s efforts to empower girls and young women through education, please contact us at gender.ed@unesco.org.

More information