The ‘Education Plus’ Initiative (2021-2025) – Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Sub-Saharan Africa

The ‘Education Plus initiative’ is a prominent politically backed drive to speed up actions and investments to forestall HIV. It is fixated on strengthening adolescent girls and young women and the accomplishment of gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa with secondary education as the tactical access point. The initiative is led by five United Nations women pioneers and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS.

‘Education Plus Initiative’ was previously introduced by the UNAIDS Executive Director at the Nairobi Summit in November 2019 as her signatory initiative after taking office; the Education Plus’ Initiative is embraced and co-droved by the heads of UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and UN Women.

It utilizes the exclusive relative advantages and capabilities of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, an association of 11 joint forces of UN co-supports and the UNAIDS Secretariat, to welcome on “board governments, leading funding mechanisms, women’s, youth and varied civil society networks and communities” around this common objective.
The initiative is intended toward venturing up investments in comprehensive, multi-sectoral approaches around these focal components of female empowerment and gender equality. It centers on crucial “social enablers” through a two-dimensional approach. The initiative will further approach governments to focus on public financing to ensure that all girls and boys can appreciate secondary training. It will pay attention to the definite reasons why adolescent girls drop out or are not in school.

It further advances strategy and legislative resolution to eliminate the essential gender-related issues (‘structural drivers’) and eradicate gender biases and typecasts from school curricula and teaching practices. Utilizing educational frameworks as calculated passage points for propelling gender equality and strengthening all adolescent girls and young ladies in the area by 2025, the initiative is centered on conveying the other ‘plus’ mechanism through schools, services in their locality, and fortified cross-sectoral linkages.

The rights-based education plus strategy advance an array of measures, for example: to end “stigmatization against girls in education and health services (e.g., in light of HIV or pregnancy status, or being a savagery survivor); deal with taboos about “sexuality; change parental consent laws so teenagers can get to HIV prevention, treatment and care services, and other sexual and reproductive health services;” forbid the exclusion of pregnant girls from schools; utilization of sports and different settings for community awareness on gender and the significance of girls’ schooling; endow with safe spaces for girls, facilitate admittance “vocational skills training and support for entrepreneurship;” extend digital expertise for rural girls, and guarantee protection against sex-based viciousness and sexual harassment in and around schools and the wider community, and end exemption for culprits.

Fundamental requirements and viable measures such as food security, nourishment, water and sanitization, mental wellbeing, and hygiene management (i.e., the expulsion of duties on sanitary items) will be undertaken. Advancement of social protection measures, for example, cash transfer and others that deal with poverty and gender-related elements that keep girls out of school or endanger their prosperity and security.
It counters to the exigency of adequately direct towards the disturbing numbers of adolescent girls and young women getting HIV and dying from AIDS, among various dangers to their endurance, prosperity, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.

It challenges government authorities at the top levels to mould leadership and executes their fundamental obligations to comprehend each girl’s rights to health and education. It carries added pressure to induce governments to expand “universal secondary education, free for girls and boys.” Consummation of secondary education, a vital matter in the COVID-19 circumstances, likewise protects against HIV with lesser new HIV cases among adolescent girls and young women by as much as 33% to one-half in several nations.

Thus, ‘Education plus Initiative’ is a “rights-based, gender-responsive action agenda” to guarantee adolescents girls and young women have equivalent freedoms to gain quality secondary education, wellbeing services, and support for their financial independence and empowerment. It will encourage a permissive atmosphere for adolescent girls and women to relish protected and productive learning encounters and flourish while achieving their dynamic prospects. The prizes will likewise venture far into the more extended term, with inter-generational impacts: “Empowered girls are the empowered women of the future.”

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor

Photo Credit : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UNAIDS.svg