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Asante Africa Foundationís Wezesha Vijana Program Highlighted as Best Practice in UNESCO Report

Oakland, CA, April 01, 2014 --( Education can change a girl’s life and that of her family, community and society at large. When women are educated, child marriages and child mortality are drastically reduced. Even primary education alone substantially reduces maternal mortality.

To reap these benefits, girls have to stay in school long enough, at least through lower secondary. In many instances this is not happening. Girls are far less likely than boys to complete primary school, especially in low-income countries, where only 20% have achieved gender parity at the primary level and 10% at the lower secondary level.

These findings are highlighted in UNESCO’s Gender Summary Report, which analyses data from the 11th annual Education for All Global Monitoring Report. The report was released in partnership with the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI). The Gender Summary Report calls for girls’ education to be at the forefront of new global education goals after 2015.

“The gender gap in education must be addressed, not just for individuals but for the whole of society, in order for local and world economies to prosper,” said Erna Grasz, CEO of Asante Africa Foundation. “International organizations, governments, and the private sector must work together to overcome discrimination and exclusion.”

In Kenya, Asante Africa Foundation educates in- and out-of-school girls on puberty and reproductive health through the Wezesha Vijana Project. The program consists of workshops, most often held at school. Young skilled mentors teach a very comprehensive curriculum, covering the body and emotional changes that come with puberty, reproductive systems, hygiene and menstruation management, but also children's rights, relationships and the health risks of teenage pregnancy. Through this holistic approach to puberty, girls learn about peer pressure and decision-making. The goal is to make girls more aware of their environment and culture and thus better able to make healthy choices. The Project encourages girls to share their doubts and feelings with parents and friends. As a powerful outcome of the girls’ desire to continue puberty education, they proactively formed clubs meeting weekly to educate other girls who had not been Project participants. An evaluation highlighted the girls’ improved knowledge, increased self-confidence and positive attitudes toward coping with peer pressure, talking to friends and parents, and school attendance.

The Wezesha Vijana Project is featured in the UNESCO publication Puberty, Education, & Menstrual Hygiene Management.

About Asante Africa Foundation
Asante Africa Foundation believes in the power of knowledge as the catalyst that will empower the next generation of change agents. We provide African youth with access to high quality education and the tools to apply their knowledge beyond the classroom, creating opportunities to transform Africa and the world. Asante Africa Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with global headquarters in the U.S.A. (337 17th, Suite 217, Oakland, CA 94550). To learn more about Asante Africa Foundation or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit us at or email

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is an agency within the United Nations that is responsible for promoting peace, social justice, human rights and international security through international cooperation on educational, science and cultural programs. It is based in Paris, France and has over 50 field offices located around the world. UNESCO is also actively working to significantly reduce poverty in developing countries by 2015, developing a program for universal primary education in all countries by 2015, eliminating gender inequalities in primary and secondary education, promoting sustainable development and reducing the loss of environmental resources.
Contact Information
Asante Africa Foundation
Roger Phillip
Press Contact:
Erna Grasz, CEO/Founder
Asante Africa Foundation
(925) 367-5586

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