Toyin Chukwudozie and Chika Mercedes Ibeh in Marrakech

From April 16 – 18, Education as a Vaccine (EVA) participated in the 5th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development convened in Marrakech, Morocco. Under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.

Focused on interlinkages among the following SDGs

The forum was held to advance the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Africa’s Agenda 2063.

  • SDG4 (quality education)
  • SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth)
  • SDG 10 (reduced inequalities)
  • SDG 13 (climate action)
  • SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions)
  • SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals)

Access and quality of education

In Africa, severe disparities exist in girls’ access to education. In particular, there is a lack of access to education for girls in protracted humanitarian conflict areas. For instance, 60% of the children that are out of school in Nigeria are girls. In fact, many girls and women feel uncomfortable at schools and workplaces, this is exacerbated by school and universities gender-based violence and lack of access to adequate sanitation service.

Additionally, limited access to quality sexual and reproductive health information and services continues to create vulnerability among young people, in particular, adolescent girls and young women in Africa.

Inequality in economic growth

Inequality is a global challenge. It limits the opportunities for social groups to participate in and make significant contributions to social, cultural, political and economic life. Mostly women and children are denied their rights and access to social services such as quality health care, food, water and sanitation, infrastructure among others.

Chika Mercedes Ibeh, Volunteer of EVA and Member of the African Young Women affirmed the Forum was important because it moves Africa to discuss issues of mutual interest, in particular, making sure there is inclusive growth on the continent.

Our inputs to the forum

This Forum was important for EVA to mainly demonstrate our work around goals 4 and 10. We also took the opportunity to address some of the identified loopholes in the implementation of the SDGs, as well as ensuring the rights of all women and girls including those who are marginalized and criminalized for equitable and inclusive societies.

Through multilateral stakeholder meetings, we discussed key priorities that would lead to policy effectiveness at both national and regional levels and ensure that aspects of those goals are taken into account at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) for Sustainable Development in July 2019.

Expected results

We called on governments and policy-makers for the inclusion of age-appropriate, gender-sensitive, sexual and reproductive health education that empowers adolescents and young people, especially adolescent girls and young women to make better decisions that reduce risk and enhance completion and transition within the education system.

Cross Section of Participants at the 5th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Marrakech

EVA Executive director, Olabukunola Williams encouraged the assembly to seek for home-grown approaches that will set a tone for the 2019 High-Level Political Forum. The resulting key messages will be tabled at the upcoming sessions of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York later this year, to serve as a mechanism for follow-up and review of the SDGs.