Friday, March 27, 2009

Women and education

In poor countries girls often miss out on the education received by their brothers. When setting up education programmes we make sure that women as well as men are consulted.
As a result, education for girls and women has become a priority. Literate women have greater access to information about healthcare, and are better able to assert their families' interests.
Both ActionAid's Reflect adult learning programme and Access project - which makes a basic education available to poor children - include a specific focus on helping girls and women.
Reflect literacy circles help women to learn to read and write and discuss village concerns by using their own local maps and diagrams.
The circles have become a means for women to address practices that place them in positions of powerlessness and even physical danger.
"I am Nafisa, I am 45 years old, and have always wanted to read and write. Before joining the Reflect circle my life was a routine of looking after the household without knowing what is going on outside that domain.
"I wanted to read newspapers like my daughter and son, and I wanted to organise the household budget in my own way.
"Sometimes I would pay the wrong amounts to the shopkeeper and this made me feel embarrassed when he returned the money back to me. I wanted a change in my thinking.
"I am now mobilising resources from the neighbourhood to make a sandouq (revolving fund) for the production of food that will be sold for the benefit of the women in the quarter. The facilitators are good for socialisation of the community and can guide us well.
"I now feel that I am ready to play a larger role in leading the community.
Nafisa is a member of a Reflect circle in Sudan.

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