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Top leaders to address virtual panel on breaking barriers to girls’ education in Africa

POSTED February 9, 2021

Top leaders to address virtual panel on breaking barriers to girls’ education in Africa

Children Believe and Graça Machel Trust will highlight the need for collective action and investment as COVID-19 erodes important gains made

By Brianne Binelli, digital content manager, Canada

Child draws on chalkboard

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to among the highest rates of out-of-school children, with millions of girls at risk of never going to school, reports UNESCO. The COVID-19 pandemic made the situation worse as schools, which provide safety and food security, closed.

Children Believe and Graça Machel Trust will highlight this issue in a special virtual panel discussion Feb. 10. The goal is to bring attention to the need for greater sector collaboration and funding to improve access to education and innovation to overcome barriers girls in sub-Saharan Africa face.

“Fighting for gender equality has been my life’s work and is at the centre of everything we do at the Graça Machel Trust,” says Graça Machel, founder of the Pan-African advocacy organization. “We are so grateful for the support of the Canadian government and from our partner, Children Believe, in recognizing the urgent need facing adolescent girls and women in Africa, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic.”

The virtual panel, which CBC’s Susan Ormiston will moderate, will feature Canadian and African perspectives from sector leaders, government officials and youth, including:

  • Fred Witteveen, Children Believe
  • Graça Machel, Graça Machel Trust
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Women
  • Antoine Chevrier, Global Affairs Canada
  • Daniella Asare, biomedical engineering student and Children Believe Youth Ambassador
  • Tanaka Chikati, Graça Machel Program and African Leadership Academy
  • Leslie MacLean, Government of Canada

Register here to join the Feb. 10 panel discussion, which will begin at 10 a.m. ET, or check out the livestream on Facebook at facebook.com/childrenbelieveCA.

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ABOUT CHILDREN BELIEVE (formerly Christian Children's Fund of Canada):

Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of 12 child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in more than 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.