Intra-Africa Academic Mobility SchemeAcademic Mobility for African Sustainable Development/AMAS
Education is the key solution to ensuring women’ access to political and socio-economic empowerment. The empowerment of women in academia cannot only help to develop the individual but will contribute to build stronger economies for the households and the whole society. The present project has been designed in the light of a gender balance vision, as all the partner universities are involved in and inspired by the project known as “Vision for Goals 2030”, promoting gender balance within the network, developed during the BIGSAS conference on “Gender Matters” held at Bayreuth University in November 2015.
Academic mobility has for long been reserved for males, especially in the African countries for cultural, religious, social and political reasons. The partner universities have designed the project in the light of the agreed-upon strategies for the gender balance. Among the measures set to encourage and promote females’ participation is the involvement of two female scholars as members of the Steering Committee among a group of five African universities. One is the main coordinator of the project in the leading university (Moi University) and the other is the coordinator of a partner university (Université Mohammed V de Rabat). The presence of two females among a group of five members is a proof for gender balance. Their presence in the Steering Committee will surely promote the gender as important issue of academic mobility. Furthermore, four out of the five partner universities each has a pair of female and male representing their respective universities on the project.
Indeed, all involved partners have been very sensitive to the gender balance, as they have defined an equal number for females and males participants in all the programmes (see Annex 2). The partner universities have also agreed to implement the “Vision for Goals 2030” and have established strategies for the implementation of the gender balance. Among these, we mention:
– Awareness campaigns: given the existence of “The Gender Focus Focal Point” in most partner universities (i.e. AAU, UEM, MU, UAC) and the Commission of Parity and Equity (UM5R), these bodies will have to play a key role in making female students aware of the programs and encourage and motivate them to apply for the project.
– Lack of constraint on age limit: the fact of not setting any age limit for application is a very positive and motivating factor that can attract female students who in instances quit academics at some point for family or other personal reasons. However, the main criterion used in the selection is merit.
– Marriage and family responsibilities (i.e. pregnancy and rearing children): Family responsibilities are among the obstacles and main challenges for females’ academic and professional development. The fact of providing support for family members (i.e. husband and children) will surely motivate females to apply and convince males to support their partners’ applications.
– Financial factors: Females are more likely to quit school for financial reasons. Most African families give priority to the education of males over that of females. Indeed, parents give better opportunities for males than females to learn foreign languages, a key factor in educational and professional success and an important instrument in internalisation and involvement in the mobility programs. The financial support the project is providing will give a chance to females to continue their education without having to worry about who will provide for the family.
– Long absence from home: Since the project is providing financial support and making arrangements for the family members, females will not have to worry about the length of the period of absence, nor will the male partners.
Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme
Academic Mobility for African Sustainable Development/AMAS
The overall objective of the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility programme is to promote sustainable development and ultimately contribute to poverty reduction by increasing the availability of trained and qualified high-level professional manpower in Africa.