From Nov 18-22, 2013, more than 70 participants met in Dakar, Senegal, from 3 African regions, covering 19 countries, as well as representatives from 9 members and SCI. Desmond Birmingham, Director of the Education Global Initiative, emphasized the importance of the meeting, to come together to strengthen the network of education professionals across the region by learning and sharing, and to deepen understanding of the Education Breakthrough and how to contribute to it. Topics on the agenda were the Quality Learning Environment Monitoring Framework, Education for Youth Empowerment and cross-cutting topics like monitoring and evaluation systems, Communities of Practice, advocacy and funding.
The regional perspective of the meeting honed in on African contexts. Globally, the number of out-of-school children has declined, however, this has stalled in Africa, with worry that it might lose momentum, especially in West and Central Africa. In Liberia only 3.9% of girls enter school at age 6. Another challenge is quality education and governance issues, with many schools having “ghost teachers”, textbooks sold on markets, and children are not allowed to go to school because they need to work.
Another key area identified as a result of the meeting was increasing humanitarian aid, where possible, working with donors to double the share of education in humanitarian aid. Children and families in emergency contexts want medicine, food and shelter – but also to get back to school.
Literacy was also identified as a critical area where Save the Children believes change is needed in policy and practice. The Literacy Community of Practise on OneNet is a platform for practitioners to gather evidence and best practices to support improved literacy and learning outcomes. Read the full communique and link to OneNet here: Communique Africa Regional Meeting.