By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. Innovators, developers, education experts, students and other stakeholders are meeting to try to advance solutions that will help in achieving the sustainable development goals on quality education and gender equality.
The over 100participants from various parts of Uganda are meeting at the Innovation Village in Ntinda in an event code named ‘Hack the Goals’.
Japheth Kawangunzi, the Innovation Village founder and also convener of the three days event says they have partnered with Enabel, a Belgian Development Agency that supports development projects and acts in terms of strategy and policy influence to promote sustainable development world over.
Speaking at the opening of the event on Tuesday evening, Kawangunzi said the outright objective of the meeting is to find solutions that can help create a safe learning environment for students in Uganda, as advanced by those who understand or have had an experience in issues concerning education safety.
He revealed that Enabel has identified three challenges that they want to solve under education and the overall challenge is on how to create safe spaces for students in Uganda.
“The challenges in there; we are looking at how do we remove Gender Based Violence as far as education is concerned, how do we remove gender bias, as far as vocational education is concerned and how do we reduce the bias against vocational education in the country,” Kawanguzi said.
He added, “So over the next three days we shall bring together stakeholders, development partners, youth innovators, entrepreneurs, people from technical vocational education institutions, lecturers, teachers, students and will set out to find solutions to those three challenges.”
Quality education and Gender Equality are goal number 4 and 5 respectively of the United Nations’ (UN) 17sustainable development goals that came into effect in January 2016.
However, according to Enabel, good quality education in Uganda is still hampered by Gender Based Violence which is pervasive despite the existence of policies and legal framework.
“While GBV (Gender Based Violence) rates increased by 18.4% and defilement by 25.8% (Police Report 2013), prosecution of offenders remained low. GBV has an enormous negative impact on learners in any learning environment,” Enabel points out in its concept note for the event.