FAWE was founded in 1992 by five African women ministers of education — the late Hon. Vida Yeboa of Ghana, Hon. Simone de Comarmond of Seychelles, Hon. Paulette Missambo of Gabon, Hon. Dr Fay Chung of Zimbabwe, and Hon. Alice Tiendrebéogo of Burkina Faso. FAWE was born out of discussions between African ministers and donor agency representatives of the Donors to African Education (DAE).
It was created on the staunch belief that women in decision-making positions have the potential to make a significant difference. The creation of FAWE was formalized by a meeting held in September 1992 at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre in Italy.
In her opening remarks, Hon. Dr Chung said, “We are here to search for practical, manageable interventions that will realistically help to ameliorate the present situation. We are not helpless as a group. We need to have a vision of where we want to go, realizing that each day, there is something positive we can do”.
The Bellagio meeting brought together nineteen senior African women policy-makers in education drawn together by a common concern — the poor status of female education in Africa.
In order for these ministers, vice-chancellors and prominent educationalists to make the difference they desired to make, a mechanism had to be put into place that would enable them to share views, exchange experiences, explore alternatives and pool their intellectual resources constantly. The formation of a network that would support members and their institutions, strengthening their capacity for influencing policy-making and policy-shaping, was clearly a priority. It’s from these that FAWE Kenya was launched in 1996 as one of the FAWE Chapters in Africa.
Organization and Focus
FAWE Kenya works at policy, institutional and community levels. We work with and through the Ministries of education at all levels in the country to ensure ownership and sustainability of the FAWEK programmes. FAWEK also has a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministries of Education. The MOUs defines the partnership and outlines the role and responsibilities of the ministries of education and FAWE Kenya. FAWE Kenya uses existing institutions and structures both at Ministerial and community levels as a way of promoting ownership whilst recognizing the local capacities and capabilities.
Over the years, FAWE Kenya has built awareness and consensus on the social and economic advantages of girls’ education through its advocacy work. As a result, Kenya government has adopted and continues to adopt gender-positive policies and interventions such as free primary education, re-entry policies for adolescent mothers, scholarships for disadvantaged girls, FAWE’s COE model, Tuseme, gender-responsive pedagogy and others. This has led to increased rates of girls’ enrolment; retention and completion of school in country of Kenya.
FAWE Kenya believes that education is a human right and that all citizens, including women and girls, must enjoy that right. Education has direct benefits for girls and women who attend school and leads to extensive benefits for society at large. Educating girls and women reduces fertility rates, reduces child and infant mortality rates, improves nutrition and health, protects girls and women from abuse, exploitation and HIV/AIDS, increases economic productivity and growth, and improves governance and democratic processes.