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This year’s European Development Days (5 and 6 June, Brussels) zoom in on a theme close to our hearts: empowering and engaging women and girls in global sustainable development. Drawing on experiences from projects worldwide, VVOB – education for development will hold a large debate at the forum with high-level speakers from UNGEI, Education International, FAWE and Plan International on ‘Eliminating Gender-Based Violence in and around Schools and other Educational Settings’.

VVOB’s commitment to girls and women is a firm one. Our core business is improving the quality of education worldwide so all learners have equal opportunities in life. As General Director Sven Rooms highlighted on International Women’s Day, gender is an important priority issue in that aspect:


“Over 131 million girls still don’t have access to education. And those who do go to school, are too often confronted with what we call ‘gender-based violence’, violence that primarily affects women and feeds off the power imbalance between the sexes. Girls and young women who are brimming with talent don’t get the same opportunities as boys to develop to their full potential. This stunts the future of our societies and unjustly sweeps so many individual dreams and rights under the rug.”


The statement that the future of our world depends on the girls’ and women’s empowerment is the heart of this year’s EDD’s #SheisWe campaign.

Partners against gender-based violence

The EU is an important partner in VVOB’s efforts to advance quality education for girls. We’re lucky to be able to count on EU co-funding for projects in four countries. Three of these projects focus on gender:

  • iGROW in Suriname tackles gender-based violence and promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights in secondary vocational schools.
  • TIGER in Cambodia transforms a teacher education college and 40 primary schools into centres of excellence for gender-responsiveness.
  • GENTLE in Vietnam supports 15 preschools to become model schools for gender-responsive play-based learning.

Next to these EU-co-funded projects, we’re also actively working on gender-responsive education in Ecuador and in our African partner countries Zambia, South Africa, DR Congo and Rwanda together with our valued partner the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE).

The high-level panellists represent organisations that are partners in key programmes around the world on eliminating school-related gender-based violence:

Over 246 million children

These panellists will share experiences on how to support teachers, school leaders, students and communities to take action against school-related gender-based violence. Violence in and around schools and other educational settings is one of the most significant barriers to achieving gender equality in and through education, and seriously undermines efforts to achieve SDG 4 and SDG 5 of Agenda 2030. More than 246 million children experience gender-based violence in or around schools annually. This is a violation of their human rights, and a form of gender-discrimination that has far-reaching physical, psychological and educational consequences.


Register here for the EDD.


Find out more about our large debate here.