Forum to focus on addressing education challenges and empowering women in Africa

Inspiring women from across Nigeria to Kenya will be participating in the fastest growing humanitarian event – the World Humanitarian Forum (WHF) – in London on April 17 and 18th.  They will address development challenges, especially in education in Africa and share their views on women empowerment

Globally there are over 67 million children out of school, 43 per cent of whom live in Africa. Largely, these children live in ‘fragile’ states or in rural areas. Every year 10 million children drop out of primary school in Sub Saharan Africa. 

“Educating every child and empowering young girls and women are necessary steps if we want to meet our SDG goals. The education challenge that Africa is facing is staggering" said the World Humanitarian Forum CEO Feraye Ozfescioglu.

“There are a multitude of reasons to explain why these children are not in schools – lack of facilities, culture, the need earn to help family and so on, but sometimes simple measures can make a huge difference. We are bringing together role models, experts in the field and people working on the coal face to interact and share ideas.”

Social entrepreneur Abisoye Ajayi–Akinfolarin, global youth advocate Vivian Onano, Noella Coursaris Musunka of Malaika Foundation are some of the speakers in addressing the issue.

Akinfolarin founded Pearls Africa Foundation which runs GirlsCoding, a free program that seeks to educate and excite girls about computer programming. Since 2012, the group has helped more than 400 disadvantaged girls gain the technical skills and confidence they need to transform their lives.

"One thing I want my girls to hold onto is, regardless of where they are coming from, they can make it" she has said. "They are coders. They are thinkers. Their future is bright."

Other influential speakers and role models from Africa addressing the Forum include Yasmine Sherif, a human rights lawyer and Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW), Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director of Women, Gender and Development Department at the African Union Commission, Aboubakri Diaw, chief of Staff, UNMAS, Bonaventure Sokpoh, Head of poliy, advocacy and learning, CHS Alliance, Deidre Woods, Trustee at Independent Food Aid Network are amongst influential African women who will be speaking on education for all and gender equality at the WHF.

The event portfolio is expected to attract more than 5,000 global public and private sector officials from over 50 countries. It will also showcase latest technologies, including drones that aid the humanitarian work and will have special focus on finance, new partnership models, food security and disaster management in Africa.

The event is timely as the world is at a critical juncture today, says Ozfescioglu “Just this month we have seen parts of southern Africa devastated by cyclones. From Yemen, to Haiti, we have seen a rise in need for humanitarian help. In the last two decades, 218 million people each year were affected by disasters, at an annual cost to the global economy that now exceeds $300 billion according to the UN. Despite these growing needs, donor financing has not kept pace. Experts say funding needs to be longer-term and to embrace the humanitarian-development continuum in order to reflect the extended nature of the crises.