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Experiences working with government to promote gender and girls’ education in U.S. foreign policy

Tue, April 16, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Bay (Level 1), Bayview B

Proposal

As a coalition of 25 U.S.-based organizations and universities, the Basic Education Coalition (BEC) seeks to apply the best of U.S. knowledge and expertise in support of the education development goals of the United States Government. We are dedicated partners of USAID with deep technical expertise in virtually every country in the developing world. We know that countries will not achieve, let alone sustain, social progress and economic growth without basic literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills learned in pre-primary, primary, and secondary school. Furthermore, we recognize that quality gender and girls’ education programming is critical for creating and sustaining positive social change. In this session, we will present BEC’s gender and girls’ education advocacy strategies, activities, achievements and challenges during 2018.

Central to BEC’s advocacy agenda, we believe that girls’ education should be prioritized in USAID’s Education Policy and should be resourced at a level that will lead to significant improvements in girls’ lives and socio-economic prospects. To maximize impact of U.S. international initiatives, and boldly lead in the gender and girls’ education space, BEC advocates for USAID’s programs to embrace innovative approaches to create positive learning climates for all children. Specifically, we advocate for programming under USAID’s Education Policy to support social norm transformation, equity, and leadership opportunities for girls.

To advance our goals and promote girls’ education, broadly, BEC hosts a gender and girls’ education working group of technical experts from a diverse range of organizations. Together, they share evidence and facilitate dialogue between practitioners and policy-makers to generate awareness and support for responsive and sustainable best-practices. The group began 2018 by reflecting on gender and girls’ education progress under the 2011-2018 USAID Education Strategy, and submitted collaboratively-written recommendations for the 2018 USG Education Strategy and 2018 USAID Education Policy.

By leveraging collective technical expertise and combining advocacy efforts, BEC’s Gender and Girls’ Education working group raised a unified voice to encourage U.S. policy makers to support and strengthen gender and girls’ education for the developing world. These concerted efforts contributed to the introduction of new legislation, The Keeping Girls in School Act (2018), which aims to help adolescent girls remain and succeed in secondary school. If passed, international education programs authorized under this Act will prioritize delivery of tangible results and improvements in the lives of adolescent girls by addressing the specific barriers that adolescent girls face in continuing their education. The Keeping Girls in School Act also codifies the United States Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls into law and requires the strategy to be updated every five years. The Basic Education Coalition looks forward to working with Congress and the more than 50 supporting nongovernmental organizations to ensure that this important piece of legislation becomes law.

We look forward to learning from and collaborating with gender and girls’ education advocates leveraging evidence and political will to sustain progress, and identifying opportunities for mutual support in this global movement.

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