The ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr. Frannie Léautier was the Guest of Honor at the launch of the 2012 -2015 Strategic Plan for the Women’s University in Africa (WUA). Speaking at the occasion, she highlighted ACBF’s investment to universities and institutions of higher learning exceed USD 120 million since 1992.
The partnership between WUA and ACBF dates back to 2006. In recognizing the vital role that tertiary education plays in development; and the need to promote women’s education, ACBF in 2006, awarded WUA a USD 2,5 million grant over four years to support its capacity building activities. The Grant significantly enhanced the performance of WUA, resulting in WUA’s growth and visibility. Some specific achievements include the following:
Increase in enrollment and graduation. Enrollment figures have increased from 145 (124 females; 21 males) in 2007 to 1829 (1366 females; 463 males) in 2011 representing a spectacular increase of more than 10 times women enrollment. Similarly graduation figures have increased more than three times from 132 (90 females; 42 males) in 2007 to 474 (333 females; 141 males) in 2011.
ACBF’s technical assistance played a catalytic role leading to WUA attracting other donors to contribute to funding both institutional capacity and scholarships.
There has been improvement in the teaching and learning environment, allowing classes to be held without interruption, improved transportation for field trips especially for agriculture students and enhanced WUA’s interaction with other universities, something which was not possible before the ACBF support;
WUA has been the first institution in Zimbabwe to install E-granary electronic library;
It is in recognition of the vital role that tertiary education plays in development; and the need to further promote women’s education that ACBF approved a second phase financing to WUA. On 6 June 2012, a second Grant of US$3 million was signed in Harare, Zimbabwe. It will enable WUA to continue strengthening its human and institutional capacity to effectively delivery on its mandate. This Grant will contribute to addressing gender disparities in higher education in Africa; promote research with emphasis on agriculture, information technology, science, management and leadership; and subsequently increase women’s involvement in decision making. A key objective of the grant is to enhance active participation of African women in development processes. It is expected that the project will contribute to improved teaching and learning environment; enhanced knowledge, skills and competencies for WUA graduates as well as institutionalized framework for sharing research results and best practices. The objectives of the second phase clearly align with WUA’s Strategic Plan.
The Plan indicates the broader goals and expected results for the period 2012 – 2015. The detail and process of the strategic development is a clear indication of WUA’s institutional growth. Dr. Léautier stressed that ACBF is pleased to be associated with WUA’s growth and hoped that as the Foundation continues to walk with WUA, other donors will come on board to support in any way they can, to ensure that WUA is able to effectively contribute to increasing the number of women attaining tertiary education in Africa thereby contributing to the development of the continent.
In concluding, Dr. Léautier pledged further support of ACBF, not only financially, but also in the thinking and strategizing that WUA is embarking on.
She stated, “It is generally recognized today that the education of girls and women is one of the wisest and most profitable investments in social and economic terms. The benefits are numerous at individual, family and the country levels. This is largely because an educated woman is better equipped to increase family income; Education heightens women’s awareness of the important role they can play in the community to find solutions to problems that impede development; With increased awareness, an educated woman can play a more dynamic role in addressing the economic challenges faced by her country, such as in the areas of agricultural production, food self-sufficiency, the fight against environmental degradation, the use and conservation of water and energy.”
Click to view the GRANT SIGNING SUMMARY TABLE