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PRESS RELEASE December 11, 2020

World Bank Injects $15 million to Improve Girls Education in Sao Tome and Principe

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2020 – The World Bank approved today the $15 million Girls Empowerment and Quality Education for All Project, boosting efforts to empower girls with life skills and tackle learning poverty in STP, especially among the most vulnerable.

Girls in STP face several challenges in completing their education, including adolescent pregnancy, which is regarded as the key reason for their decision to drop out of school. The project will support efforts to provide safe learning spaces, including implementing plans to combat school-related gender-based violence and infrastructure for water and sanitation, and will work with families and communities to empower girls in the context of traditional gender and social norms. In addition, learning poverty for both boys and girls will be addressed through increasing school readiness, promoting effective teaching of literacy and numeracy, and improving the teacher management system.

“Empowering girls is critical for a country to develop and will have long term benefits for the country and its population. Investing in people may not produce immediate results, but it is the most important investment a country can make, since it is people who promote development”. - Said Jean-Christophe Carret - World Bank Director for STP.

Boosting shared prosperity in STP requires increased human capital, currently constrained by low levels of learning and poor labor market outcomes for women. In 2017, women were three times more likely to be unemployed than men, reflecting a gender gap that starts in adolescence. While the overall fertility rate has declined in recent years, it remains high among adolescent girls (96 births per 1,000 women ages 15–19 years), driving a cascade of  negative effects of on their own wellbeing as well as the physical, social, and emotional health of their children.

The project has four main components: (i) Empowering Girls through the Acquisition of Life Skills and the Promotion of a Safe School Environment, (ii) Tackling Learning Poverty; (iii) Reaching the Most Vulnerable and (iv) Project Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Capacity Building. The project total cost will be $17.2 million of which $15 million is a World Bank financing from the International Development Association (IDA) and $2.2 million from Education for All - Fast Track Initiative. 



Wilson P. M. Piassa
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