Prime Minister Boris Johnson is launching a new £20m (about N10.88 billion) business partnership as the UK continues to lead global efforts to improve girls’ access to education in developing countries.
Even before the Covid pandemic, millions of children did not have any access to school – and girls from disadvantaged families are particularly vulnerable to missing out on education, whether through poverty or prejudice.
The pandemic has created even more barriers to education, with a peak of 1.6 billion children around the world having faced school closures.
In the UK’s first education partnership of its kind, the UK Government is joining forces with the private sector to boost girls’ access to education in developing countries.
Partners include Accenture, BP, Cognizant, Coursera, Microsoft, Pearson, PwC, Standard Chartered, Unilever, United Bank for Africa and Vodafone.
The UK Government will be working in partnership with UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited (GenU) to help deliver the programme, with key partners funding GenU being Accenture, Microsoft, Standard Chartered, Unilever, and United Bank of Africa.
On 7 March, a reception was held at No10 Downing Street to mark the announcement ahead of the 8 March 2022 International Women’s Day.
UK Govt in New N10.88b Global Partnership to Educate Girls around the World
The event was attended by partners including: Jill Huntley, Global Managing Director, Corporate Citizenship at Accenture; Dr Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer at Coursera and Marissa Thomas, Chief Operating Officer at PwC.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The United Kingdom has long been a proud and mighty champion of this fundamental cause and today we take one leap further through our first Global Partnership of its kind – opening the opportunity for one million girls across the developing world to have access to high quality skills training.
“Ensuring every girl and young woman across the globe receives 12 years of quality education is the greatest tool in our armoury to end the world’s great injustices.
“Delivering on this mission will be one of the best defences against ignorance, ensure the greatest protection from prejudice and put a rocket booster behind our hopes and dreams for global development in the years to come.”
Businesses, charities, schools and colleges will shortly be able to bid for funds from the programme. The partnership wants to support projects that will improve access to education for girls, with a focus on providing the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills needed to find work in key sectors such as technology and manufacturing. This could include funding new skills training programmes, improving teaching or redesigning training to make it more relevant to business needs.
Initially bids will be encouraged for projects in Nigeria and Bangladesh, two countries where significant barriers to girls’ education remain.
Funding from the programme will also help expand GenU’s `Passport to Earning’ (P2E) platform. This digital skills platform will provide girls with free, certified education and skills training which they can then use to support future employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
UNICEF’s precursor to P2E was listed among Time Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions of 2021.
Some of the businesses involved will be contributing a range of resources including books, computers and other technology, mentors, advice and access to their networks, skills and training programmes.
The private sector involvement will help ensure that education and learning opportunities provide girls with the skills for the future that employers need.
The UK is playing a leading global role to improve girls’ education in developing countries. During the UK’s G7 Presidency last year it secured agreement to help get an additional 40 million girls into school by 2026; and secondly to help 20 million girls to learn to read by the age of 10 by 2026.
In 2021, the UK hosted a successful Global Education Summit, which raised $4 billion in pledges from world leaders to support schools through the Global Partnership for Education. Between 2015 and 2020, the UK supported at least 15.6 million children in developing countries to gain a decent education, including 8.1 million girls.
he said they have already seen considerable success with similar skills programmes such as the Alternative Learning Program (ALP) in Bangladesh.
This involved training up marginalised young girls with the skills they needed to be able to secure jobs within demand sectors, which gave these young girls more economic, social and personal freedom. As a result, the programme saw a 62% reduction in child marriage among the girls and families involved.
Similarly, the ‘Educate!’ programme across Uganda and Rwanda has provided industry-specific (agriculture and tourism) sessions for girls, as well as sessions to boost their literacy skills. This programme saw a 120% increase in income among the female participants.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “Supporting women and girls is at the heart of UK foreign policy. We want women to have agency over their own lives and to be free to succeed.
“Investing in girls’ education is vital for a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future. That’s why we are partnering with the private sector to help girls in developing countries access education and job opportunities.”
Helen Grant, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls’ Education said: “Every girl everywhere deserves to have an education.
“From school right the way through to the workplace, our partnership will help give women and girls the skills they need to reach their full potential.”
Kevin Frey, Chief Executive Officer of Generation Unlimited said: “The Girls’ Education Skills Partnership exemplifies the commitment of the UK government and the private sector in addressing the critical gap in skilling girls for 21st Century opportunities.
“P2E is an innovative skills platform designed with partners to reach the girls everywhere, every time, preparing them with in-demand market relevant skills.”
Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG
Charles Ebuebu, new director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has promised to follow due process in the regulation of broadcast stations in the country.
The new NBC boss made this known in an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Monday after a meeting with Dr John Momoh, chairman, Channels Media Group.
Ebuebu, who replaced Balarabe Illelah as director-general of NBC last October following his appointment by President Bola Tinubu, promised to end any arbitrary sanction on media stations in the country while not sparing consistent wrongs by defaulters.
He said the NBC Code will be reviewed to facilitate an enabling industry that allows operators thrive.
Ebuebu said, “There are two sides to a coin: one one hand, there is a perception that the NBC has been overreaching in the applications of sanctions. It’s been said that we did not follow due process and all of that.
“Basically, the takeaway for me is that, it has been an arbitrary process. Now, part of my training as a lawyer is the fact that we will definietly put together a transparent process. I don’t want to particular details. It’s still in process but I can assure you (that) there is going to be a change in that perception, it’s going to be transparent so much so people will be allowed to speak, they will be allowed to defend themselves.
“The issues will be analysed based on the code. We are going to have a code review where all inputs will be taken in and that will address that perception.
“Now, on the other side of it, it’s sort of strange to have a policeman who cannot issue a fine. of course, the case is in court and I can talk about its legality or otherwise.”
How New UK Funding for Tech Entrepreneurs will Boost Livelihoods in Developing Countries
Andrew Mitchell, UK’s Development Minister has announced new UK funding for innovative mobile phone technology will help change lives in developing countries around the world.
He noted that harnessing AI technology to provide real-time agricultural advice to farmers in Nigeria and pay-as-you-go solar powered fridges are just some of the ways UK-funded mobile technology is improving livelihoods globally.
At a speech at Mobile World Congress last week, Minister Mitchell announced the UK is providing £37.3 million of new support for the Mobile for Development Programme, to help more people access mobile and digital technologies to find new opportunities and boost their livelihoods.
The programme, which the UK funds in partnership with UK-based mobile industry association GSMA and the private sector, has already benefitted more than 94 million people and focuses on women and girls, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience and scaling up innovative solutions.
Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell said: “Mobile technology has the potential to revolutionise the lives of the poor by helping tackle the effects of climate change, creating jobs and boosting opportunities for women.
“The Mobile for Development programme has already benefitted more than 100 million people, and the UK’s new announcement aims to up the ambition, reaching 110 million additional people, including 60 million women.
“Together the worlds of development and mobile tech giants can be a powerful force to unlock opportunities and prosperity and meet the UN Global Goals.”
UK funding has previously helped scale up a digital hub in Pakistan, BaKhabar Kissan (BKK), which provides accurate weather forecasting data to farmers to help them make critical farming decisions such as the timing of seed sowing, irrigation, and fertilisation. With the help of this programme, BKK has almost doubled users from 6.6 million to 12.4 million.
Another innovative business, Ensibuuko, is providing digital skills training to help community saving groups in rural Uganda keep up with the latest digital products and services where previously they relied on paper record-keeping. Since gaining funding, Ensibuuko has benefited over 236,000 members of rural savings groups, 60% of whom are women, providing them with digital skills training.
John Giusti, President of the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, said:”For more than a decade, the FCDO and the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation have worked closely in partnership to drive socio-economic and climate impact for the most underserved populations through digital innovation, and to date our partnership has improved the lives of more than 127 million people.
“Today’s renewal of our partnership will further amplify our joint impact by leveraging the power of digital and emerging technologies to support innovation, improve access to opportunities for women, and tackle the effects of climate change for the most vulnerable.”
With the increase in climate crises around the world, the need for new solutions to help vulnerable countries adapt is growing and mobile technology can make a big difference to people’s lives.
At Mobile World Congress, GSMA also announced the grantees for its Climate Resilience and Adaptation Fund which is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This fund is designed to test and scale up new technology to combat the effects of climate change in countries throughout Africa and Asia.
Some of the projects being funded include one using AI-powered satellite imagery to help smallholder farmers increase their yields and another to reduce food waste via an online grocery platform.
Omniverse Summit 2024: Climate Action Africa Reiterates Commitment to Climate Innovation Agenda
Climate Action Africa (CAA), a leading social enterprise focused on environmental sustainability, reaffirmed its commitment to fostering an inclusive climate action ecosystem at the ongoing Omniverse Summit 2024.
Co-founded by Innovation Support Network (ISN Hubs) with support from GIZ/Digital Transformation Center Nigeria (GIZ/DTC Nigeria), the Omniverse serves as a meeting point for diverse stakeholders across sectors, including development partners, public entities, regulatory agencies, academia, startups, finance professionals, media, and the creative industries.
As a key participant at the four-day event, Climate Action Africa has reaffirmed its commitment to being at the forefront of driving climate innovation for a sustainable future. The organization emphasized the need to integrate environmental sustainability models, technology, and community-driven innovation to address climate change challenges.
Emphasizing the pivotal role of innovation in identifying and scaling solutions to address the imminent climate crisis in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa, said: “Our participation at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects our conviction that fostering innovation is crucial in discovering and amplifying solutions to address the imminent climate crisis, not only in Africa but also globally.”
Climate Action Africa’s participation includes thought-provoking discussions on offering climate-resilient solutions, engaging exhibitions, active involvement in deal room discussions, and cultivating strategic partnerships towards the upcoming Climate Action Africa Forum 2024, among others.
Climate Action Africa remains dedicated to engaging with critical stakeholders and advocating for a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing climate change challenges. The organization’s presence at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects its commitment to this collaborative approach, which is essential for knowledge exchange and shared solutions to navigate the complex climate challenges facing the African continent and its communities.
L-R: Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that was held in Lagos, Nigeria.
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