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Ibrahim El-Salahi Pain Relief at The Saatchi Gallery, London

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Below, and in title photo, one of our literacy workers leading her participants in a session which took place before the start of last year’s pandemic.

International Women’s Day 2021

Education is power. Access to education is liberating. Women and girls who have access to the knowledge they want and need are a force for change in their communities.

This post is dedicated to the tireless work of Neimat and Adila and all their colleagues at Women’s Education Partnership in Khartoum.

Taking Stock and Looking Forward

Taking Stock

What will the impact of Covid-19 be on the future of these youngsters? We are taking practical measures to ensure little girls like these from Jebel Awlia return to school after lockdown.

This time last year, the world was a very different place. Progress towards global gender equality was gathering pace, literacy levels among women were rising, the number of girls attending primary and secondary school was growing and opportunities for women to compete on an equal footing with men throughout the workplace were expanding. The Covid-19 pandemic has slammed the brakes on much of this progress. As primary carers and educators during lockdown, women have borne much of the brunt of the health crisis. In Sudan, where women make up 60% of the informal economy, thousands of families have been thrown into poverty.

Over the past year our staff in Khartoum have continued to work for women’s equality, often despite personal tragedy, with quiet determination and focus. Without access to hashtags, slogans or instagram influencers, they have succeeded in furthering the cause of women against all the odds in very real, tangible ways.

Above, a sketch from our Covid outreach program last spring and summer. See a photographic record of our work in Coronavirus Our Prevention Work and On the Front Line Coronavirus Prevention

Risking their own safety, our staff in Khartoum, led by Neimat, our country director and Adila, our literacy and orphans programs coordinator, delivered Covid-19 awareness and prevention campaigns for the women and girls we serve. Throughout the pandemic, they have provided weekly and often daily support to all our women’s literacy participants, literacy workers and orphans while their classes are suspended.

When flooding severely damaged elementary schools attended by our sponsored orphans, Neimat and Adila knew we needed to embark on an urgent rebuilding program. So, they consulted with school heads, parents’ associations and community leaders. Rebuilding work is now underway. Learn more in Community Empowerment in Action. In this way, we hope little girls, who are already more vulnerable to learning poverty, will continue their primary education.

Above, one of our literacy graduates celebrating her graduation pre-Covid-19. Literate mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters break intergenerational cycles of educational disadvantage among women and girls.

See “A Woman is a School” 2 and A Woman is a School”

Looking Forward

Above, a map of community resources made by our literacy participants. Grassroots knowledge of existing facilities and awareness of what is missing and needed are key to community change that women can lead.

The pandemic has stalled or thrown into reverse so many aspects of women’s empowerment; see Coronavirus Sudan Stepping Back from the Abyss 4 The Impact on Women for more.

We believe the best way we can truly further the empowerment of women and girls over the coming year is by adopting initiatives to counteract the worst effects of Covid-19 on their lives. That means researching how we can provide income generating skills training for our literacy participants that will prove resilient post-Covid. We are surveying our beneficiaries and training experts to achieve this and our findings are being applied in this year’s literacy training. We are making sure that as far as possible all our literacy participants can and will resume their training as lockdown ends this month. We are redoubling our outreach efforts to our female beneficiaries with disabilities as this group has been the hardest hit by the Covid crisis. Our training program for 300 elementary school teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education begins this month and by improving teaching quality for teachers working in deprived communities we play a small but vital part in fighting educational inequality for women and girls.

Above, a literacy session on health, sanitation and disease prevention.

Education is power. Access to education is liberating. Women and girls who have access to the knowledge they want and need are a force for change in their communities.

Below, one of our literacy graduates proudly displays her graduation certificate. See more in Celebrating

This is a literacy and orphans post for Women’s Education Partnership.

See Latest News and At a Glance for more about our work.

Please consider donating to our vital work. We can’t continue without your help. You can give quickly and securely with our Virgin Giving link below:

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