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Uganda’s Martha Muhwezi named Top 10 finalist for Africa Education Medal 2023

Founded by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Microsoft, the Africa Education Medal is Africa’s most prestigious education accolade.
Uganda’s Martha Muhwezi, Executive Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE Africa), has been named as a Top 10 finalist for the Africa Education Medal 2023. Founded last year by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Microsoft, the Africa Education Medal is Africa’s most prestigious education accolade.
Dr. Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation, congratulated Martha Muhwezi:

“Congratulations, Martha, on this nomination as a finalist for the Africa Education Medal 2023. This is such a well-deserved nomination. We have worked together for 10 years. The Mastercard Foundation and FAWE have been strategic partners. I’ve seen your leadership in action. And I’ve seen the impact of our work in Uganda. And I know that this recognition will confer even greater influence, and will benefit even more lives of young people as we move forward.”

The Africa Education Medal was established to recognise the tireless work of those who are transforming education across the continent – to celebrate the stories of those who have lit the spark of change so others will be inspired to take up the torch. It is given to an outstanding individual who has demonstrated impact, leadership, and advocacy in the field of education.

Martha Muhwezi from Uganda is Executive Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), a pan-African NGO working in 33 countries to empower girls and women through gender-responsive education.

Her passion for education began 18 years ago, in a remote village in the eastern part of Uganda where many girls were not able to attend school and others dropped out due to early marriage and pregnancy. She joined FAWE in 2005 as a Technical Advisor, before becoming Executive Director of FAWE Uganda and then going on to head up the organisation across the whole continent.

Under Muhwezi’s leadership, FAWE designed the Higher Education Access Programme (HEAP), a bridging course that has provided young women as well as men an additional pathway into higher education in Uganda. Since its launch, enrolment in higher education in Uganda increased from 250,000 in 2019 to 270,000 students in 2022. The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in Uganda has recognised HEAP as a Fourth Pathway to university in Uganda.

In Uganda, she also spearheaded a range of initiatives including Mother Tongue Resource Books, Gender Responsive Pedagogy manuals and the Competence Profile for primary school teachers. FAWE Uganda has influenced the formulation of a gender in education policy in the country.

FAWE runs a range of initiatives including a comprehensive scholarship programme that helps prepare young women to transition to university or the world of work and a number of its alumni have gone on to prominent positions in governments across Africa. Over 6,500 girls and boys have benefited from FAWE’s Centres of Excellence, which were established in 1999 and have led to increased enrolment, performance, retention and completion rates, particularly for girls. A further 80,000 children have further benefited from FAWE’s Tuseme model since 1996, which has led to an improvement in girls’ self-esteem and in their leadership, social and life skills, teachers’ positive attitudinal change towards girls and a significant reduction in sexual harassment. Meanwhile, over 6,600 teachers have benefited from FAWE’s training model, while 15,000 students have benefited from FAWE’s STEM programme which has boosted girls’ participation in STEM subjects.

As FAWE Africa Executive Director, Muhwezi led the organisation to develop the Gender Equality Strategy for the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (GES4CESA), which calls for investment in equal education in Africa. She also gained FAWE the $1 million 2017 Al-Sumait Prize in the field of Education.

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