Since March 2022, 29 Professional Fellows from 11 Commonwealth countries have been taking part in a programme of professional development in the UK focused on Girls’ Education.

The Fellows were selected from a range of professional backgrounds, roles, and fields. What unifies them is a passion for empowering girls and women in their home countries. This theme for the Fellowship was selected in line with the CSC’s Time Limited Programme for 2021-2022, which was chosen in support of the UK government’s ambitious initiatives to get 40 million more girls from low- and middle-income countries into primary and secondary school by 2026.

The five host organisations that welcomed this year’s cohort of Professional Fellows were also selected for their work in Girls’ Education and women empowerment. They each offer the Fellows an opportunity to step away from their day-to-day work and to focus on enhancing their professional knowledge, skills and network in their given sector. The following host organisations were chosen across England and Wales: Cardiff University’s Phoenix Projectthe Commonwealth Telecommunications OrganisationKnowledge for ChangeLifegate Outreach Centre and Windle Trust International.

We are delighted to introduce you to the motivations driving forward 5 of this year’s Professional Fellows from 5 of this year’s host organisations below:

Duncan Mutisya Kamau
Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant at Windle International Kenya
Professional Fellow at Windle Trust International

Headshot of Duncan‘I would like to explore how Windle International Kenya’s Girls’ Education strategies and frameworks can be strengthened. I see it as an opportunity to observe how real-world problems that are slowing down access to education for girls in East Africa are being resolved by other Program Managers at the Windle International Trust and international development levels.

Among the strategies I would like to develop over the course of the Fellowship are media and communication practices, safety toolkits, and special needs awareness and empowerment campaigns. I also look forward to developing discussion agendas that will help me to advocate for the full integration of girls’ secondary refugee education into the country’s national system.’

Dr Rosa Marina Persendt
Lecturer at the University of Namibia
Professional Fellow at Cardiff University Phoenix Project

‘With the information and connections I will gather over the course of this Fellowship, I hope to contribute towards improving public school education amongstHeadshot of Rosa girls in rural areas in Namibia. Implementing a safe space for girls to study and work, improving access to information regarding women and girls’ health, creating an ecosystem of peer-to-peer training where girls (and eventually boys) can advocate for each other and learn about issues such as gender-based violence and the importance of education: these are some of the schemes and ideas I look forward to exploring over the course of this Fellowship. Ultimately, I hope they will result in a decrease in gender-based violence and educational inequality in Namibia.’

Mary Kobugabe
Community Development Officer, West Division Fort Portal City
Professional Fellow at Knowledge for Change

‘The Fellowship will help me to acquire skills in leadership, mentorship and training, alongside helping me to build up my knowledge base in Girls’ Education,
Headshot of Mary sex education, sexuality and gender. Upon returning to Fort Portal, I will then be in a better position to engage with all educational stakeholders in my community to identify the challenges faced by girls in school and devise solutions to these issues. I am particularly interested in sharing the knowledge and expertise I will build up through the Fellowship through music, dance, and drama at schools and to establish a local radio talk programme with the help of educational partners, where community sensitisation on Girls’ Education will be carried out through radio talk shows, skits, songs, and plays.’

Patience Ikpeh
Head of Programs at the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Nigeria
Professional Fellow at Lifegate Outreach Centre

‘I aim to conduct research into the barriers hindering girls from accessing and completing their education in Northern Nigeria and to come up with practical solutions to this problem. This will involve advocacy work to engage state and non-state actors on the path to enforcing

Headshot of PatienceGirls’ Education as well as using social media as a platform to mobilise the passing of the Child Rights Act in Gombe State to promote the rights of children, especially girls, in the state. I believe this Fellowship will provide me with new skills and enhance my knowledge on this subject so I can successfully engage multiple stakeholders to work together towards actualising the potential of girls and empowering them to take their place in society.’

Mr Gohar Zaman
Deputy Commissioner at the Capital Development Authority
Professional Fellow at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation

‘I strongly believe that ICT can play an important role in empowering women through education and skills development. But I also know that this requires new

Headshot of Gohar public policy initiatives. I will soon be posted to the education department of my province, where I will be directly involved in public policy design and implementation – and will therefore have the potential to greatly enhance girls’ access to quality education through ICT. To make the most of this opportunity, I am embarking on this Fellowship to gain the skills and knowledge that will help achieve my objectives to enable girls in the remote and tribal areas of Pakistan to access quality education and thus contribute to the overall target of getting 40 million more girls in schools by 2026.’