Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

Previous laureates of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

2018 Laureates

Watch the Facebook Live with the laureates.

  • Misr El Kheir Foundation

The Foundation’s programmes support girls’ transition from primary to secondary, and the completion of a full cycle of basic education. They empower girls to acquire literacy, life and future employment skills, and support teachers to deliver gender-responsive teaching and practices and to create safe teaching and learning environments.

The awarded project, Educational Opportunities for Children in Underserved Villages through Community Schools, has helped expand girls’ access to quality education and further their career development and life options in more than 290 of the country’s poorest and most underserved communities.

Since 2010, 27,750 children (62% female) have enrolled in over 1,000 schools, and 2,000 community educators have been trained in modern teaching methods. More than 7,000 children have graduated from community schools, including 3,500 girls who completed their primary education. The gender parity ratio has improved; girls now represent 62% of the school population. Community engagement is also leading to declines in early marriage.


  • Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation

Established in 1978, the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation provides continuing education for pregnant adolescent girls and mothers who had to drop out of school. Over 47,000 girls and young women have been empowered through a second chance to complete secondary education and realize their life goals.

The awarded project, Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, supports the reintegration of adolescent girls into the formal school system after the birth of their child. Receiving the Certificate means that young women can advance to tertiary education and find meaningful careers. The project offers an academic curriculum in core subject areas, as well as courses that provide young women with income-generating skills, both face-to-face and in virtual settings.

Young mothers attending the Foundation have been more likely to complete their education, establish a career path and find better paying jobs than young women who have not participated in the course. The Foundation’s project has become a powerful model and is replicated in countries including Grenada, Guyana, and South Africa.


2017 Laureates

  • 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 aiming 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. 200 girls from diverse social and economic sectors of Lima, Huancayo and Huaraz have benefitted from MacTec's training and 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.


2016 Laureates

  • Female Students Network Trust, Zimbabwe

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

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.