May 2016 was an important month for Mr John Kimotho. As the Deputy Chief Executive of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, he was meeting senior officials from 13 national education ministries in his country’s capital, Nairobi. They gathered there to determine an education policy framework for the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries.
Ending child marriage
Enala Ngulu lives in Karonga, in rural Malawi. She lost both her parents when she was only 8 years old. At the age of 13 she was married to a man of 47. He had two other wives. At a time when she should have been in school, learning about the world and how to make a contribution as a young woman, she was forced to grapple with adult responsibilities such as a marriage, a household and child bearing. By 15 Enala had her first child. She subsequently had five more daughters. Then her life took a surprising turn.
member countries have piloted the Commonwealth Education Policy Framework
Advocating for women
“Be bold and hold leaders accountable,” Lakshmi Puri encouraged participants. The Deputy Executive Director of UN Women was speaking at the first Commonwealth Women’s Forum in Malta, just before the CHOGM in November 2015. In her keynote speech she stressed the importance of complete commitment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Preventing violence against women
According to United Nations (UN) figures from 2016, 24% of women in India reported experiences of physical or sexual violence, or both, by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months. In Pakistan, too, the statistics are disturbingly high. The Commonwealth Secretariat is doing whatever it can to help end this problem.
Strengthening health systems
The 2014/15 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Sierra Leone was devastating. It affected the West African country disproportionately, taking nearly 4,000 lives – more than a third of the global death toll. In the aftermath, the government took steps to be better able to deal with future outbreaks of communicable diseases.