Women and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Power, Opportunities, and Constraints

By Josephine A. Beoku-Betts; B. Robert Tabachnick et al. | Go to book overview

5
Women and Nonformal Education
in West Africa:
Policy and Practice

Polly Diven

Private, nonprofit development agencies have been instrumental supporters of nonformal education projects for women in Africa.Several aid agencies operating in Africa provide funding and technical assistance to facilitate community organization and skills training. Before the term "nonformal" became popular in academic and development circles, some nongovernmental aid organizations had recognized the value of including training and community development components in the projects they chose to fund.

Oxfam America is one of these nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with experience developing policy and implementing projects that involve nonformal education. It is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization that funds self-help development projects and disaster relief in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 1 Foreign assistance in the OXFAM model is to be judged by its long-term contribution to economic and social development. In OXFAM's view, genuine development enables people to meet their essential needs; extends beyond food aid and emergency relief; reverses the process of impoverishment; enhances democracy; makes possible a balance between populations and resources; improves the well-being and status of women; respects local cultures; sustains the natural environment; measures progress in human, not just monetary terms; involves change, not just charity; requires the empowerment of the poor; and promotes the interests of the majority of people worldwide, in the global North as well as the South ( Oxfam America News, 1994- 1995). As a rule, the agency is not involved in the day-to-day implementation of projects. Typically there are only one or two Oxfam America staff members living in each region. These field staff fill administrative functions, provide some technical assistance, and regularly monitor project activities.

Oxfam America is one of very few U.S. nonprofit agencies that neither seeks nor accepts U.S. government funds. In fiscal year 1993, 80 percent

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