Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

JOHANNESBURG - African women are due to tell the World Humanitarian Forum in London later this month about development challenges particularly in education on the continent and share their views on female empowerment.

The April 17-18 forum will be held against the background of over 67 million children being out of school globally, 43 percent of them in Africa. Research shows that 10 million children drop out of primary school in sub Saharan Africa every year.

“Educating every child and empowering young girls and women are necessary steps if we want to meet our SDG goals," World Humanitarian Forum CEO Feraye Ozfescioglu said in a statement, referring to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030.

"The education challenge that Africa is facing is staggering. There are a multitude of reasons to explain why these children are not in schools – lack of facilities, culture, the need earn to help family and so on, but sometimes simple measures can make a huge difference."

"We are bringing together role models, experts in the field and people working on the coal face to interact and share ideas," Ozfescioglu added.

Social entrepreneur Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, global youth advocate Vivian Onano and Noella Coursaris Musunka of Malaika Foundation are some of the slated speakers at the forum.

Akinfolarin founded the Pearls Africa Foundation which runs GirlsCoding, a free programme that seeks to educate and excite girls about computer programming. Since 2012, the group has helped more than 400 disadvantaged girls gain technical skills to transform their lives.

The forum is expected to attract more than 5,000 global public and private sector officials from over 50 countries. It will also showcase the latest technologies, including drones that aid humanitarian work and will focus on finance, new partnership models, food security and disaster management in Africa.
 
"Just this month we have seen parts of southern Africa devastated by cyclones," Ozfescioglu said, referring to Cyclone Idai which ravaged Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

She said in the last two decades, 218 million people each year were affected by disasters, at an annual cost to the global economy now exceeding $300 billion according to the UN.

"Despite these growing needs, donor financing has not kept pace," Ozfescioglu said. "Experts say funding needs to be longer-term and to embrace the humanitarian-development continuum in order to reflect the extended nature of the crises."

- African News Agency (ANA)