UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

2016 Laureates of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

The laureates of the 2016 UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO in May 2016 on the basis of the recommendations made by the International Jury of the Prize.

The two laureates are the Female Students Network Trust from Zimbabwe and the Directorate of Early Childhood Education Development from Indonesia.

The Prize was awarded at an official ceremony, which took place in Beijing, P.R. China in June 2016 where the laureates received 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.

Female Students Network Trust, Zimbabwe

© Female Students Network Trust

The Female Students Network Trust (FSN, Zimbabwe) is a non-profit, membership-based organization that works with young women enrolled in tertiary education in Zimbabwe. Founded in 2005 by a network of students at the University of Zimbabwe, FSN became a non-profit organization in 2010. The organization empowers female students to take up leadership roles, and supports policy and media advocacy on issues affecting female students. FSN works with 36 institutions across 10 Provinces of Zimbabwe.

FSN was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education for its programme Empowerment of tertiary education female students through leadership development and mentorship programmes in Zimbabwe.

The programme stems from a survey on sexual harassment in learning environments, particularly in tertiary education, which found 98 per cent of students were affected and the perpetrators were often lecturers. FSN launched a campaign to establish sexual harassment policies and to improve accountability of tertiary education institutions in creating safe learning environments. The programme supports the development of institutional policies against sexual harassment, and is expanding access to counselling and legal recourse among women in 36 tertiary institutions across Zimbabwe.

Directorate of Early Childhood Education Development, Indonesia

© Directorate of Early Childhood Education Development

The Directorate of Early Childhood Education Development of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Indonesia, supports the delivery of early education services to children aged four to six in centers across the country.  

The Directorate was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education for its project Improving Access and Quality of Girls' Education through Community-Based Early Childhood Education and Early-Year Gender Mainstreaming.

The project is based on the belief that in order to improve girls’ access to and quality of education in the long-term, gender mainstreaming is needed in early education to address potential gender bias, discrimination and harmful stereotypes. The Directorate targets girls and boys from birth to eight years, teachers, mothers and education administrators in five provinces of the country through early socialization, training, workshops and multi-media campaigns.