Gender at the Centre Initiative


Launched on 5 July 2019 during the G7 Education-Development Ministerial Meeting, the Gender at the Centre initiative offers support to developing countries that want it to bolster gender equality in their education systems. Eight pilot countries have been identified: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (G5 Sahel countries), Mozambique, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

The long-term objective is to improve girls’ enrolment and retention at school and, in doing so, drive a virtuous circle for development (higher living and health standards for families, improved economic growth, increasing marriage and pregnancy age, fertility management).

  • Supporting or boosting mobilization for gender equality in and through education in developing countries. The aim is to reform school curricula to remove gender stereotypes, recruit more female teachers, include the issue of equality in training modules for teachers, improve school facilities especially female toilets, allocate grants, provide free cantines to facilitate girls’ access to school.
  • Encouraging coordination between competent international organizations that are present on the ground (Global Partnership for Education, UNESCO, IIPE-UNESCO, UNICEF), as well as civil society organizations, through innovative coordination backed by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI).
  • Enhancing UNESCO’s role on issues linking gender and education. A team of experts dedicated to the initiative will be put together in Dakar, in the offices of the International Institute for Educational Planning, a specialized UNESCO agency.

Development of support and expected outcomes (as of 20 September 2019)

The goal of proposing this initiative, endorsed by the G7 and all UN Member States, is to attract new donors and/or international organization and to achieve greater impact in the beneficiary countries. In the medium term, the aim could be to double the number of beneficiary countries (from 8 to 16) by doubling the financing provided for the initiative (which currently stands at $7 million). The current donors are France (€2.5 million), the European Commission (€1 million), Germany (€1.3 million) and the United Kingdom (€1.6 million).

Next steps

November 2019: meeting between all stakeholders in the Gender at the Centre initiative (including the beneficiary countries) on the sidelines of the UNESCO General Conference in order to finalize the initiative.
Early 2020 : start of concrete implementation of the initiative.

List of participating countries (as of 20 September 2019)

Organzations : United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (coordinator), UNESCO, International Institute for Educational Planning (IIPE-UNESCO), UNICEF, Global Partnership for Education, African Union, Plan International, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE)
Donors : France, Germany, European Commission, United Kingdom
Beneficiary countries : Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Mozambique.