published 20 November 2017 updated 27 November 2017



EI/Gender At Work/UN Girls' Education Initiative/Zambia school-related gender-based violence mission

Sponsored by the government of Canada through the UN Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI),  this mission held from 4-7 September brought together seven EI affiliates implementing policies fighting school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV): the Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT), the Basic Education Teachers’ Union of Zambia (BETUZ), the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU), the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU), the Ethiopian Teachers’ Association (ETA), and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).

Dubbed the ‘Peer 3 Workshop’, the event consolidated lessons learned by the unions’ Change Team members during the last 18-month period. Experience-sharing between unions and in-union reflection sessions helped in planning each union’s next steps. The unions will continue to receive mentorship from Gender At Work (GAW) for a period of time. Reports will also be channelled through the EI regional Africa office, with EI’s Lucy Njura Barimbui and UNGEI’s Carol Miller overseeing the process.

The event was facilitated by GAW and EI, the latter represented by Assibi Napoe, Anais Dayamba, and Lucy Njura Barimbui. madeleine kennedy-macfoy participated through skype in EI/GAW sessions. The facilitators also started to plan scaling-up the project to include West Africa, involving the Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU) and the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union (SLTU).

EI Africa Region Committee meeting in Ethiopia

The 2017 EI Africa Region Committee (EIRAC) meeting was hosted by ETA in Addis Ababa from 10-13 September. It brought together 14 EIRAC members, representing five of the six sub-regional zones, as well as EI General Secretary Fred Van Leeuwen, the EI regional office’s secretariat, and Dominique Marlet.

Participants discussed the 2016-17 activity report, the 9th Africa Regional Conference and focused on education quality as envisaged in the SDGs, challenges facing the African teacher trade unions, democracy, and human and trade union rights. The unity agenda was deemed a priority for Africa, and teacher trade unions will intensify their campaigns on democracy and the right to organise through capacity building.

Four sub-committees were set up to spearhead preparations for the EI Africa Regional Conference in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in November 2018. The conference theme will be “Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education in Africa: The place of the Unions in Achieving  the 2030 Agenda”.

Inter-agency mission in Liberia

From 25-29 September, an inter-agency mission, organised by the Africa Network Campaign on Education For All (ANCEFA) with representatives from Action Aid, Oxfam-Liberia and EI, visited Liberia. The aim was to revitalise the process of building a credible, inclusive education coalition in Liberia.

Several meetings were held seeking support for identification, mobilisation, and organisation of potential members of the coalition and subsequent training meetings. A national stakeholders’ forum, with participants from over 13 teacher organisations, highlighted challenges to the education sector from the expansion of the Partnership Schools of Liberia (PSL) initiative. A six-member Inter-Organisational Facilitation Committee to be hosted by Oxfam-Liberia was set up, and its preliminary mapping will guide the next steps to be taken.

EI’s Lucy Barimbui and Jefferson Pessi also conducted several side meetings with the National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL) and analysed activities around the GCE and the consortium.

EI/Lärarförbundet mission in Gambia

EI and Lärarförbundet conducted a mission in Gambia. This mid-term evaluation was in line with the collaborative agreement between Lärarförbundet and the GTU and it assessed GTU’s progress in implementing the strategic plan’s six objectives.

GTU’s adherence to plan – along with engagement between the secretariat, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary, staff and members saw membership recruitment target ahead of schedule. Union income has also increased.

The union is now taking the lead in setting up a Labour Centre in Gambia and acknowledged the need for capacity building for GTU and its National Executive Committee (NEC) on developing a more participatory approach to membership recruitment. Plans for the union’s next steps will be shared by Lärarförbundet. Lucy Barimbui represented EI at the event.

AWEN Training of Trainers workshop in Ghana

As part of its 2017 activity plan, the African Women in Education Network (AWEN) organised a trainers’ training workshop from 9-12 October in Accra.

The workshop was attended by 15 new trainers from the Central Africa Women in Education Network (RESAC), the Southern Africa Women in Education Network (SAWEN), the West Africa Women Educators' Network (WAWEN), and the Women Network in Eastern Africa (WNEA) sub-regional networks. The aim was to ensure that union members – and female members in particular – receive leadership training to prepare them to take on leadership positions and effectively contribute to greater democracy within their unions.

Anais Dayamba, Lucy Barimbui, and Pedi Anawi facilitated the workshop, and Peter Mabande presided over the opening and closing ceremonies for EI.

Meeting on trade union unity in Kenya

A meeting on trade union unity in Kenya took place from 11-12 October in Machakos County. It was attended by leaders from the KNUT and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET). Attendees reviewed progress since the 2015 activity review and identified policy and organisational areas for cooperation. They also adopted measures to build trust between the unions.

Cooperation has developed between the two unions, with common activities in labour matters and education policies. The unions have supported each other’s activities, including annual delegates’ conferences, and organised joint campaigns.

Union leaders agreed to hold a “Teachers’ Summit” at which delegates from both unions will address issues facing teachers and their unions and discuss meeting with national Members of Parliament. Three members of KUPPET’s National Council are MPs, while KNUT’s General Secretary is also a nominated MP for workers.

Richard Etonu represented EI at the event.

Meeting on trade union unity in Zambia

A meeting on trade union unity in Zambia took place from 16-18 October, in Vereeniging, South Africa. The meeting was attended by the presidents and general secretaries of four Zambian teacher unions, i.e. BETUZ, the Secondary School Teachers’ Union of Zambia (SESTUZ), the ZNUT, and the Professional Teachers' Union of Zambia (PROTUZ).

The leadership reviewed the process launched at the joint national councils’ meeting in February 2017 and agreed on Zambia Teachers’ Union (ZATU) as the name of the proposed new union. A consultant will now be engaged to guide the merger process.

SADTU President Magope Maphila and SADTU General Secretary and EI Vice-President Mugwena Malululeke oversaw the meeting and EI was represented by Richard Etonu.