Canada and The Gambia team up to connect women teachers
Ottawa – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) and the Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU) are looking to mobile phones and mentors to reduce feelings of isolation, both personally and professionally, among Gambian women teachers working in remote areas of the West African Country.
Funded by Global Affairs Canada through the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation as part of the Fund for Innovation and Transformation’s third intake, the project is one of 13 led by small- and medium-sized Canadian organizations focused on advancing gender equality in developing countries.
Running from June 1, 2021, to August 21, 2022, the CTF/FCE and the GTU joint project looks to empower young women assigned to teach in remote, rural communities.
Forty-eight teachers and 12 mentors have been selected to take part in the women-to-women initiative that is aimed at building confidence and providing connection that is too often absent in isolated villages far from home where the women are left alone to navigate cultural and religious differences.
To address the immense challenges that come with teaching and living in remote areas, where transportation and access to landlines are limited, each teacher is provided with something throughout the 15-month project that many in Canada may take for granted: a fully paid mobile phone.
The CTF/FCE and the GTU hope that the women teachers, with the phones in-hand, can connect to a mentor to discuss the daily life of being a teacher, take part in various professional development opportunities, or simply have an experienced colleague ready to listen, which may lead to more women remaining in the teaching profession.
Home to a population of just over two million, of which more than half live below the poverty line, The Gambia relies heavily on the agriculture sector for employment. Low literacy rates among women and high birth rates reflect an underfunded education system that ranks 155 in the world for government support.
Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE)