Anne Cotton, a pioneer in women’s education in Africa has won this year’s WISE Prize.
The British educator set up the Campaign for Female Education, or Camfed in 1993 since when some three million African children have benefitted from its programmes. Cotton received the prize, worth 400,000 euros, at 6th World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha.
“I feel absolutely thrilled. I’m overwhelmed in fact, Cotton told Euronews after receiving her prize. “It’s a huge honour and in fact it gives me an incredible platform to speak about the issue that I have made my life’s work: girls education in Africa. The Money will be committed to a million girls that we intend to support into secondary education in Africa over the next five years.”
Cotton’ s education model focuses on impoverished rural communities in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Malawi. It builds a supportive environment around girls in primary and secondary school through to adulthood.
She says its success lies in understanding the particular needs of each local community:
“We recognize that the people experiencing the problem really understand it the best. We really need to learn from those communities that are really challenged, we need to be good listeners. We need to listen not only to what they say but to the things they don’t say.We need to be intelligent listeners.”