UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education
Previous laureates of the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education
Shilpa Sayura Foundation, Sri Lanka
The Shilpa Sayura Foundation was established in 2005 with a primary goal to develop and provide an e-learning system with digital content for learning national curriculum at rural Telecentres in Sri Lanka to help youth and children.
The awarded project, NextGen Girls in Technology, helps increase girls’ and women’s participation in the emerging technology sector in Sri Lanka by training thousands of girls and teachers on in-demand industry skills.
In the past two years, NextGen has reached all corners of Sri Lanka, online and offline, training over 1,050 young women and more than 500 teachers on in-demand technology sector skills such as machine learning, cybersecurity and design, and increasing internship and employment opportunities.
Girl Child Network, Kenya
The Girl Child Network was established in 1995, with its initial objective to facilitate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in Kenya. It now delivers complex multi-sectorial programmes in education, health and nutrition, human rights and legislation, gender and governance, disaster risk reduction, research and documentation and institutional strengthening.
The awarded project, Our Right to Learn – Reaching the Unreached, increases access to quality primary school education for vulnerable children, including girls, in Kenya’s hardest-to-reach areas while empowering them to raise their voices in and out of school.
Since 2012, the project has reached over 51,900 children in 240 primary schools, including more than 25,900 vulnerable and marginalized out of school girls, and over 740 female teachers. Through education programmes, gender- and disability-friendly school facilities and community-based social mobilization, the project aims to transform negative attitudes standing in the way of girls’ education.
Sulá Batsú, Costa Rica
Founded in 2005, Sulá Batsu is a Costa Rican cooperative using digital technologies, art and culture to tell the stories of girls and young women and foster social transformation in local communities.
The awarded project, Voices of Central American Girls empowers adolescent girls through digital skills to raise their own voices and create solutions for themselves and their communities. Implemented in schools, the project provides girls from vulnerable backgrounds with extracurricular training combining digital literacy, coaching, mutual learning and prototyping innovative digital solutions.
Since 2016, over 4,000 girls have enrolled in the trainings, a network of more than 600 girls has been established and 300 technological prototypes have been developed. The project was originally developed in Costa Rica and has since been extended through much of the Central America region.
Department of Education, Government of Navarre, Spain
The Department of Education of the Government of Navarre in Spain is recognized for its project, SKOLAE: Growing in equality which addresses gender stereotypes in education and beyond. This holistic school programme empowers learners to choose their course in life in conditions of equality, working on the principle that meaningful change begins in the classroom.
The project’s training programme enables learners to identify inequalities, fight them and exercise their individual right to equality regardless of culture, religion, sexual orientation or identity. It aims to prevent all forms of violence against girls and women, bring forward women and their contributions and value egalitarian masculinities and empowered femininities.
Since 2017, the project has been implemented in 116 schools (30% of the region’s schools) and has had an impact on 8,705 girls and 8,902 boys aged 3 to 18. Some 1,808 female and 495 male teachers have taken part in the project’s teacher training programme.
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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.