Girls Education Advocacy in the Region (GEAR)
The Girls Education Advocacy in the Region (GEAR) alliance is a consortium of four organisations from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe assembled to implement the GEAR project between November 2021 and June 2024.
The project addresses the challenge of limited access to primary and secondary education for girls and young women in rural and farming communities of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In these three countries there are glaring inadequacies around domestic funding of education systems, curriculum and infrastructural facilities for education in rural and farming communities.
This is despite the fact that the 3 countries are signatories to progressive education frameworks at Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC), African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) levels.
There are also significant accountability deficits and political will challenges in the three states around ensuring relevant education reforms that domesticate and operationalize the frameworks signed onto at regional and international levels. Moreso, civic society organizations have not been coordinated to align their education advocacy to optimise on the government commitments to binding transnational education frameworks such as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the SADC protocol on education and training.
To address the above challenges the GEAR alliance aims to;
- Strengthen the capacities of CSOs from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to utilise and review processes on binding transnational frameworks on the right to education
- Support in-country collaborations by CSOs to demand government accountability on the right to education using their commitment to progressive education frameworks
- Support participation by CSOs in the review cycles of progressive educational frameworks
- Support CSOs linking and learning on transnational education advocacy
The broad approach is for GEAR alliance to strengthen regional advocacy on the right to education by CSOs that directly work with adolescent girls and young women in rural and farming communities of the 3 countries. The main result of the GEAR Alliance project is an inclusive and equitable education system for girls and young women in rural and farming communities of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This result is premised, in part, on the need to ensure inclusivity and equity in the education system through governments delivering education as a human right using available frameworks such as SDG 4. To this end, collaborative advocacy by CSOs to ensure the 3 governments are accountable to the progressive education frameworks is an important step towards solving the problem being faced by girls and young women in the rural and farming communities of the 3 countries.
The GEAR projects is designed to contribute to the operating component 3 of the Global Partnership for Education that seeks to create a stronger global and transnational enabling environment for national civil society advocacy and transparency efforts. By design the GEAR project has a significant representation of indigenous young people of Sothern Africa in the core members of the GEAR alliance and this represents a unique opportunity to amplify youth voices in transnational education advocacy by SADC CSOs.