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UNESCO promoting gender equality, education among ethnic communities

Released at: 16:21, 25/04/2019

UNESCO promoting gender equality, education among ethnic communities

Photo: Le Diem

UNESCO cooperating with local authorities and South Korea's CJ Group to bring more opportunities in education and work to women and girls in remote areas.

by Le Diem

Together with its strategic partners - the Ministry of Education and Training and the CJ Group from South Korea - UNESCO has announced the inception of “We Are Able”, a new three-year project funded by the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education, with financial support from the CJ Group. The project aims to improve access and retention of ethnic minority children, especially girls in lower secondary school, and to improve employment opportunities for ethnic minority girls and women.

Mr. Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator, highlighted the issue of limited access to education among ethnic minority children, especially girls, as around 10 per cent and 25 per cent of ethnic minority children leave school at the primary and lower secondary level, respectively. Girls in some ethnic minority groups are also less likely to go to primary and lower secondary school than boys.

Following the successful completion of the “Gender Equality and Girls’ Education Initiative in Vietnam” project, working closely with national and local authorities, UNESCO will focus its new efforts on ethnic minority women and girls, helping them ensure equal access to quality education and employment opportunities within a safe and friendly environment, free from violence and abuse.

Designed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Training and the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, the project will support the implementation of the Education Development Strategic Plan 2011-2020, the Action Plan for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, and the National Strategy concerning Ethnic Minority Affairs until 2020.

Under the motto “Achieving Better Living and Education”, the project will engage with 16,000 people, including ethnic minority school students, teachers, principals, education officials, parents, and community members in the three provinces of Ha Giang, Ninh Thuan, and Soc Trang.

The project also reflects the continued commitment of the CJ Group, with whom UNESCO collaborates globally in support of girls’ education, as well as the personal engagement of Executive Vice President of Global CSV, Ms. Heekyung Jo Min, who traveled to Ha Giang province in March to better understand the challenges faced by local populations. The partnership between the CJ Group and UNESCO is based on a shared understanding that development solutions must take a multidimensional approach to address challenges effectively and sustainably.

“Through this project, we hope ethnic minority girls can grow up to be respectable members of Vietnamese society with competence, skills, and self-esteem,” said Ms. Heekyung Jo Min. “For this, in addition to giving financial support, we plan to actively hold campaigns that promote the importance of girls’ education by utilizing the cultural platform of the CJ Group.”

UNESCO is committed to respecting the traditional cultures of ethnic minority groups, working together with them and local and national authorities to support ethnic minority youth, especially women and girls, to give voice to their dreams, aspirations, and hopes for the future, according to Mr. Michael Croft, UNESCO Representative to Vietnam. “The ‘We Are Able’ slogan says it all; ethnic minorities in Vietnam are indeed able to contribute to the amazing transformation taking place in this country and we look forward to hearing what they have to say,” he said.

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