Supporting women and girls
Studies from around the world consistently show that empowering women is a major driver of development.
In the past it was unusual for girls in villages near Kinsevere to attend school. Today, girls make up almost 50% students.
Studies show that an educated woman is more likely to be employed, earns a higher wage and is better able to protect herself from HIV/AIDS. Her children also benefit, being more likely to live past five years of age, attend school and, generally, achieve better life outcomes.
Recognising this, Kinsevere began a long-term initiative in 2008 to improve the status of women in the workplace and areas around the mine. The initiative was developed, and continues to be delivered, reviewed and enhanced, in consultation with local traditional and administrative authorities, community members and civil society.
The initiative includes:
- Sessions to educate women about common health concerns and women’s rights;
- Support for campaigns by the local health centre to immunise children and pregnant women against preventable diseases;
- Community events to raise awareness of the rights of women and children;and
- Targeted support to increase the number of girls attending primary school.
Case study: Getting more girls into school
Improving access to, and the quality of, education is consistently shown to be one of the most effective drivers of socio-economic development.
Studies also consistently show that helping girls to gain an education - traditionally, girls have been far less likely to attend school than boys - has particular and broad development benefits.
For example, the children of an educated woman are less likely to die before five years of age or be malnourished and are more likely to attend school themselves.
Recognising the benefits of educating girls, Kinsevere began a long-term initiative to increase the number of girls enrolled at school in 2008.
The initiative, which was developed and delivered in partnership with local traditional and administrative authorities, community members and non-government organisations, includes:
- Investments in school facilities and training for teachers;
- Support to reduce school fees for students; and
- Community events to raise awareness of the rights of women and children.
Yet, Michel says that simply talking to parents, educators and authorities about how educating girls can improve the social and economic circumstances of a community was also key.
"Simply talking to parents and communities about the benefits that come from an education - better health and greater employment prospects and income, for example - helped changed perceptions and seen the number of girls attending school around Kinsevere more than double in six years.
"In particular, mothers tell us that they want their daughters to have the opportunities they did not.
"Now it is rare for girls from these 26 villages not to attend school."
In 2014, almost 50% of students enrolled at local schools were girls.
Last year, MMG commenced a new scholarship program to support top students to attend secondary school in Lubumbashi - the next step in advancing education outcomes.
Visit UNICEF's Investing in Girls Empowerment for MDG Acceleration report for more information about why educating girls matters.