Girls’ education champions working across different sectors and at national, subnational, provincial or grass roots levels are invited to add their voices to a consultation on a global network to connect and empower girls’ education leaders. Please read the introduction to this draft conceptual framework before reviewing the framework itself and answering five questions for consultation on page 6. Please fill in and send the reporting form at the end of this document (Annex II) to AAnderson@brookings.edu by November 20, 2015. Thank you very much in advance; your responses to these questions will inform the scope and design of a global network of and for girls’ education leaders.
Why do we need a network of girls’ education leaders?
Now is the time to lift up the global ambition for girls. Building on the progress to date, the global community should move its collective focus up from enrolling girls and boys in school in equal numbers to ensuring that girls complete secondary education with the skills they need for healthy and productive lives and livelihoods. This requires advancing the “second generation” girls’ education priorities, including access, making schools safe and girl-friendly, improving learning quality, supporting transitions to higher education and work, and local leadership development. A number of champions have taken up the important challenges facing girls’ education, including First Lady Michelle Obama, whose Let Girls Learn (LGL) whole of government effort aims to increase attention and efforts around adolescent girls’ secondary education. A key component of the Let Girls Learn strategy is community empowerment, which hones in on the challenge of local leadership. This girls’ education leadership network design consultation process has emerged out of these discussions and calls by girls’ education leaders to support a global network of the next generation of girls’ education leaders.
Narrowing in on the priority of supporting local leadership, it is clear that the second-generation girls’ education challenges require overcoming several barriers that are complex and intertwined. To accomplish this— and ultimately ensure that all girls have safe learning and skill-building opportunities— the international community must support, connect and empower the individual girls’ education leaders who best understand their communities and the challenges girls face, but who often lack a space to share within and across countries, learn from others working in similar contexts and apply that knowledge to innovate.
There is a window of opportunity given the confluence of evidence around the need for local leadership, high-level political support and wide public interest in the girls’ education sphere. This consultation process aims to capitalize on this momentum by supporting the design a global network of local girls’ education leaders, or leaders and emerging leaders who are working within their communities to ensure girls a safe and high-quality education. Critically, such a network has been called for by girls’ education leaders themselves, who desire a community of practice to connect and develop relationships, share ideas and best practices, solve problems, build tools and create new knowledge to advance the field. Moreover, with the adoption of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a global network can help connect local leaders within and across countries to ensure that the people working on the frontline of girls’ education strategies and policies are at the center of this movement.
Complementarity with other initiatives and networks
While there are existing organizations, networks and initiatives that support local level leaders in individual countries, there is currently not a mechanism (or organization, network, platform) that allows for individual girls’ education leaders of different levels and from different sectors to connect, share information and knowledge and collaborate within and across countries globally. These individual leaders need a network within which they can communicate and learn from others facing similar challenges to make their road less lonely, get new ideas and innovate.
This is NOT a network of organizational partners. This is a network of and for individual girls’ education leaders across sectors (civil society, education sector, health sector, government, private sector, etc). who want to connect with, share and learn from each other and potentially collaborate with each other. As such, this network will not duplicate efforts of networks of organizations, such as UNGEI, the Girls CHARGE (the Collaborative Harnessing Ambition & Resource for Girls’ Education) Initiative or the Let Girls Learn: Community Empowerment Initiative. Instead, this network seeks to complement the work of those organizational networks. It will also seek to learn from, connect with and serve as an umbrella across existing national and subregional networks of girls’ education leaders, such as CAMA, FAWE and national civil society networks that work with the Global Partnership for Education.
Draft conceptual framework for a global network to connect and empower girls’ education leaders
The following draft conceptual framework is based on recommendations that emerged out of a meeting in December 2014 with leaders in girls’ education from eleven countries and subsequent discussions with girls education leaders and partners as well as the Let Girls Learn initiative analysis and research on network design processes and lessons learned.
It is important to note that the consultation process at this time is focused on the conceptual framework of the network, not the network form in terms of governance, coordination/secretariat and hosting arrangement. Once the conceptual framework has been refined through wide consultation with girls’ education leaders around the world, the consultative process will move forward in the process to define the specific network functions and form.
The network works towards a world where girls everywhere have the skills they need for their lives and livelihoods.
The mission of the network is to connect, empower and build the capacity of girls’ education leaders to ensure all girls have safe learning and skill-building opportunities.
Support and empower girls’ education leaders by connecting them to each other and to others who can assist and advocate for them, enabling the sharing of evidence and ideas as well as collaboration that builds capacity and leads to new knowledge and innovation.
The network’s members and primary stakeholders are individual girls’ education leaders and emerging leaders from around the world (see figure, pg 4). Network membership is on an individual basis, not an organizational basis. The network defines girls’ education leaders broadly to describe a diverse array of champions, including national civil society leaders who are heading up organizations and already working on scaling; national, subnational and local leaders in positions of influence to bring about change in girls’ education (within government, education sector, private sector, media, etc); and emerging leaders at national, subnational, provincial or grass roots levels. An inclusive network with diverse points of entry (individuals within civil society, the education sector, government, the private sector, media, etc) will help to break down the silos that girls’ education leaders often confront. In addition, network members themselves will directly benefit from diversity along the leadership continuum, whereby local community leaders can be connected to and learn from national leaders and visa versa, enriching the work of all members.
The network has been envisioned with two groups of secondary stakeholders (see figure, pg 4):
Questions for consultations with girls’ education leaders
Girls’ education champions working across different sectors and at national, subnational, provincial or grass roots levels are invited to add their voices to this consultation on a global network to connect and empower girls’ education leaders. Please read the introduction to this draft conceptual framework before reviewing the framework itself and answering five questions below. Your responses to the following questions will inform the scope and design of a global network of and for girls’ education leaders.
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