A networking event was organised by the British High Commission on Monday (October 7, 2019) to bring together development partners, education experts and stakeholders to engage in a discourse on holistic and inter-sectoral approaches to address challenges of out of school girls across Pakistan. The event titled “Partnerships for Scaling-Up: What works for Girls’ Education” was hosted by UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Special Envoy for Gender Equality Joanna Roper and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in partnership with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA). Speaking at the event, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Special Envoy for Gender Equality Joanna Roper said, “In current circumstances where quality education is a challenge with low literacy rate for girls, low learning levels and basic schooling, and tighter budgets, governments are facing immense pressure to deliver education in a more equitable and efficient manner.” As a result, governments around the globe are engaging with non-state actors to work in the education sector, she added. Roper said that there is a dire need to address the issues of gender inequality, girls’ education, gender-based violence through public-private partnership which can not only increase access to girls’ education but can also provide education in a cost effective manner. ITA CEO Baela Raza Jamil while addressing the networking event said partnership and linkages are very important to meet the SDGS especially SDG4. She pointed out that at least 10.5 million children aged 5-16 are out of school in Punjab of whom 50% are girls, and added with lesser opportunities, the challenge can only be addressed through strong liaising and partnership. A couple of videos by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy films on various gender issues were also screened at the event. Speaking at the event, Chinoy said that films and education go hand in hand to bring about social change, adding that her mobile cinema has visited over 200 sites where marginalized girls are engaged into various activities to show the girls their real potential. Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Maleeka Bokhari, SDGs Committee on Child Rights Chairperson Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights member Shunila Ruth also attended the event and pledged their commitment to improve the situation for girls. Among other participants were senior representatives from UNICEF, Population Council, Canadian High Commission, ISAPs and IASC. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew also graced the occasion and hosted a tea for the attendees at his residence.
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