This year’s UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education will be awarded to two laureates making a difference for girls’ education through projects that help increase young women’s participation in the emerging technology sector in Sri Lanka, and advancing access to quality primary school education for vulnerable children, including girls, in Kenya’s hardest-to-reach areas. The attribution of the Prize coincides with the International Day of the Girl Child on 11 October
Shilpa Sayura Foundation of Sri Lanka, is rewarded for its project, NextGen Girls in Technology, an extracurricular programme helping young women in high school and university to improve their analytical, logical and creative thinking through technology. In the past two years, NextGen project reached all parts of Sri Lanka, in situ and online, training 1,051 young women and 506 school teachers with sought after technological skills such as machine learning, cybersecurity and design giving many of these girls their first technology experience and advancing their career development.
Girl Child Network of Kenya, is recognized for its project, Our Right to Learn – Reaching the Unreached, which provides access to quality primary school education for vulnerable children, including girls prevented from accessing or completing primary education. Since 2012, the project reached 51,936 children in 240 primary schools, including 25,937 girls, through education programmes, gender and disability-friendly school facilities and community-based social mobilization, transforming negative attitudes standing in the way of girls’ education.
An international jury selected the laureates from nominations submitted by UNESCO Member States and partner nongovernmental organizations.
Each of the laureates will be awarded US$50,000 to help further their work in advancing girls’ and women’s education.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO will celebrate the 2020 laureates through an online campaign linked to the International Day of the Girl Child. The celebration will feature video messages from UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and Professor Peng Liyuan, First Lady of the People’s Republic of China and UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education.
Established in 2015 by the Executive Board of UNESCO and funded by the Government of People’s Republic of China, the UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education has so far been awarded to ten laureates from all the world’s regions, raising awareness of good practices in girls’ and women’s education and strengthening commitments at the global level. The prize contributes directly to the achievement of universal quality education, part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.