What We Do


FAWENA believes it is important to demonstrate, through practical interventions, what works in enhancing girls' education in Namibia. We have developed gender-responsive interventions that aim to provide greater educational opportunities for girls and to transform the environment in which learning takes place. We also aim to mainstream the best practices which emerge from these interventions into national education systems and practices.

Cheshire Homes Beneficiaries

Cheshire Homes' Beneficiaries

Enabling bright students from underprivileged backgrounds to enroll in school, stay on to complete the school cycle at all levels and perform well in national examinations.

Poverty is a major cause of poor access to education, retention and completion for girls in Namibia. When families cannot afford to educate all their children and must make a choice, preference often goes to boys. To address the limited access to quality basic education experienced by children living in rural or remote communities or in socially marginalized areas, FAWENA identifies and supports severely disadvantaged girls from such areas through a bursary programme.

FAWENA's bursaries enable bright girls from poor backgrounds to enroll in school, stay on to complete the school cycle at primary or secondary level, and perform well in national examinations. This financial support covers the costs of school fees, school uniforms, textbooks, stationery and personal hygiene products.

FAWENA's bursary programme was initiated in 2004.

FAWENA also extends financial support to boys from underprivileged backgrounds.


Girls' access to school as well as their retention, completion and performance are determined by existing national policies. Yet studies have shown that education policies in many countries do not take into account the unique conditions that prevent girls from accessing and completing basic education.

As a result, although there has been commendable improvement in addressing girls' education, national education policies are still not comprehensively gender-responsive.

At FAWENA, we work to influence governments and other partners to review existing educational policies and adopt strategies to achieve greater and better participation of girls in education.

FAWENA recognizes that without appropriate education policies in place, there can be no effective gender transformation in education systems. FAWE therefore works closely with ministries of education and education policymakers at all levels to influence education policy in favor of increasing access, improving retention and enhancing performance of girls in school.

We have influenced the institutionalization of several policy measures specific to the promotion of girls' education. These include re-entry to school for adolescent mothers.

Specifically, FAWENA seeks to influence the review of national education policies and plans for greater gender-responsiveness in the following ways:

  • Engaging in policy dialogue, ministerial consultations and involvement in policy formulation and review processes;
  • Monitoring progress of Education for All (EFA) through membership forums;
  • Commissioning research on the status of girls' education in Namibia to guide advocacy and interventions;
  • Documenting and disseminating demonstrated best practices in girls' education; and,
  • Developing strategic partnerships with government, civil society organizations, networks and education coalitions to reinforce the girls' education campaign.

Through these actions, FAWENA gets to become an active member of education task forces and policy review committees in the country. FAWENA not only maintains focus on gender and education in various forums but maintains the position of gender issues on the campaign agenda of Education for All.


GRP workshop

Equipping teachers with knowledge, skills and attitudes to empower them to respond adequately to the learning needs of girls and boys through using gender-aware classroom processes and practices.

Teaching quality has a significant impact on academic access, retention and performance. Yet many teachers, conditioned by male-dominated values in their communities, employ teaching methods that do not provide equal opportunity to participation for girls and boys. Neither do these methods take into account the individual needs of learners, especially girls.

FAWE developed the Gender-Responsive Pedagogy (GRP) model to address the quality of teaching in schools.

The model trains teachers to be more gender aware and equips them with the skills to understand and address the specific learning needs of both sexes. It develops teaching practices that engender equal treatment and participation of girls and boys in the classroom and in the wider school community.

Gender-Responsive Pedagogy was initiated in 2005.

Features of FAWE's GRP model

The GRP model trains teachers in the design and use of gender-responsive:

  • Teaching and learning materials.
  • Lesson plans.
  • Language in the classroom.
  • Classroom interaction.
  • Classroom set-up.
  • Strategies to eliminate sexual harassment.
  • Management of sexual maturation.
  • School management systems.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

Impact of FAWE's GRP model

The GRP model trains teachers in the design and use of gender-responsive:

  • Improvement in girls' retention and performance.
  • Greater participation of girls' in the classroom.
  • Improved gender relations within schools.
Community Sensitisation

Community Sensitisation

Culture-bound constraints to girls' education still abound especially among rural and poor populations. These include early marriage, sexual harassment, excessive domestic chores and the low value placed on educating girls.

It is for that reason that our community advocacy work targets communities where these attitudes and practices are the strongest.

We work towards building public awareness on the social and economic value of girls' education so that citizens themselves take responsibility for the task and collectively work to support the agenda.

We employ a number of advocacy strategies to enhance community participation in the provision of girls' education.

These include:

  • Mobilizing communities to actively support girls' education: Communities pass by-laws to protect girls from early marriage; participate more in school management; provide materials for construction of gender-responsive school facilities; support school feeding programmes; and, counsel girls on sexual maturation.
  • Provide awareness on the Sector Policy on Prevention and Management of learner pregnancy through community and parent meetings.
San Learners

San Learners

FAWENA's educational support which focuses on San boys and girls, attempts to address the unique challenges they face in education with regard to access, retention and performance. FAWENA also aims to compliment government's efforts to bring San people on par with the rest of Namibians.


Re-entry program for adolescent mothers

Teenage pregnancy is a major cause of girls dropping out of school. FAWENA's advocacy has resulted in the adoption of a re-entry policy to enable schoolgirls who become pregnant to resume their studies after giving birth, overcome the challenges associated with teenage pregnancy and improve their life chances through effective education.

FAWE also supports teenage mothers in Malawi and Namibia through sensitization and training in life skills, experiential learning, HIV/AIDS, gender-based violence and reproductive health. Such training has motivated teenage mothers to continue with their education despite having children.

Disability Program

Disability Program

The aim of the program is to improve access to school, improve retention and enhance the quality of education for children with disabilities at all levels. It also helps to build the capacity of organizations that work with people living with disabilities by strengthening their advocacy skills in order to increase the inclusion of children with disabilities in Education. Furthermore, the program supports these organizations in the design and management of their own projects of people living with disabilities.


Lack of access to sanitary pads can be a significant barrier to girls attending school regularly. When girls have the necessary menstrual hygiene products, they are more likely to attend classes consistently, reducing absenteeism. Lack of access to menstrual hygiene products can contribute to educational inequality. By addressing this need, such programs contribute to creating a more equitable educational environment.

Access to sanitary pads empowers girls by allowing them to participate fully in educational and social activities. It sends a message that their basic needs are recognized and supported.

Girls who stay in school and receive education are more likely to break the cycle of poverty, contribute to their communities, and lead healthier lives. Ensuring they have access to sanitary pads is a step toward achieving these long-term goals.


This is a programme where boys and girls work together as partners to organise and participate in activities, learn about and facilitate the spread of knowledge concerning HIV/AIDS awareness, abstinence and safe sex practices, peer pressure, counseling, role modeling, community service, income generating activities, tertiary institutions and career opportunities.


FAWENA's prevention and support campaign focuses on implementing and strengthening the Ministry of Education's HAMU (HIV & AIDS Management Unit) program in schools. It also incorporates HIV/AIDS aspects in all its activities. FAWENA also conducts annual Adolescence Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS workshops.

Kavango Girl Club workshop

Kavango Girl Club workshop

FAWENA supports mentoring and counselling for girls through Girls’ Clubs. These school-based clubs provide an interactive forum for girls to build their confidence, share information on subjects such as HIV/AIDS, and receive academic support.

Activities in these clubs include development of life skills, sessions on adolescent reproductive health, empowerment activities, guidance and counselling, and theatre.

STEM classes

STEM school holiday classes

Increasing and sustaining access, interest, participation and performance of girls in STEM subjects at all levels.

Many girls do not participate significantly or perform well in Mathematics, Science and Technology subjects. This situation becomes more pronounced as the level of education increases and a combination of factors perpetuate the imbalance. These factors include cultural practices and attitudes and biased teaching and learning materials.

FAWE developed its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) model to increase and sustain access, interest, participation and performance of girls in STEM subjects at all levels.

The model trains teachers to adopt and use STEM curricula, teaching and learning materials and classroom practices that are gender-responsive. It involves not only teachers but education planners, curriculum developers, publishers and women leaders, and sensitizes parents and stakeholders on the importance of girls' participation in STEM.

Features of FAWE's STEM model

The STEM model features extensive use of activities and resources including:

  • Science camps and clubs.
  • Study tours.
  • Profiles on women achievers in science-based fields.
  • Exposure to role models.
  • Awards to female achievers in STEM subjects.

Impact of FAWE's STEM model

  • Higher rates of girls' participation in SMT subjects.
  • Improved test scores for girls.
  • Improved teachers' attitudes towards girls' abilities and participation in SMT.
  • Improved instructional materials for SMT subjects.
  • Girls' positive attitudinal change to SMT.
  • Greater confidence for girls in tackling academic challenges.
  • Enhancement of girls' chances for career progression.
Tuseme workshop

Tuseme workshop

Tuseme (‘Let Us Speak Out’ in Kiswahili) enables female youth empowerment and gender awareness by enhancing girls' self-esteem, leadership, social and life skills, and promotes a positive attitude amongst boys towards girls' education.

In many communities, girls are socialized to be submissive and unquestioning. This undermines their participation in the classroom and ultimately affects their performance in national examinations. However, when girls are empowered to speak up for themselves, they can overcome gender-based constraints, especially those imposed by cultural tradition.

FAWENA believes that for meaningful transformation of gender relations, girls must participate in efforts to eliminate the discrimination and inequalities they face within their schools and communities. One of our flagship models is the innovative Tuseme [Let Us Speak Out] empowerment programme which uses theatre-for-development techniques to address concerns that hinder the social and academic development of girls. Tuseme trains girls to identify and understand the problems that affect them, articulate these problems and take action to solve them. Through drama, song and creative arts, girls learn negotiation skills, how to speak out, self-confidence, decision-making and leadership skills.

Tuseme was initiated at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1996 and enhanced by FAWE with gender-in-education and life skills components.

Impact of FAWE's Tuseme model

  • Improvement in girls' self-esteem and in their leadership, social and life skills
  • Teachers' positive attitudinal change towards girls
  • Significant reduction in sexual harassment
Income Generation, Kavango

Income Generation, Kavango

To sustain FAWENA programs/activities, FAWENA started an income generating program at school and community level.

ECD training, Tsumis, Hardap Region

ECD training, Tsumis, Hardap Region

FAWENA supports the important role that ECD plays in building a strong foundation for education for girls and boys.


FAWENA conducts seminars for teachers and the public on “Trauma of rape and sexual abuse: How can teachers help their learners?”

Income Generation, Kavango

Gender integration and sensitisation for contractors and their workers at construction sites

The primary goal is to foster an environment where men and women have equal opportunities, treatment, and representation in the construction industry.

The program aims to increase awareness among contractors and workers about the importance of gender equality, the impact of gender biases, and the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.



Transforming an ordinary school and its surrounding community into an environment that is academically, socially, and physically gender responsive. Many girls drop out of school or suffer poor academic performance because of unfavorable learning environments.

By contrast, FAWENA's experience shows that girls excel academically and are better equipped to face challenges that hinder their education when they have:

  • Teachers who are trained to meet their needs;
  • Learning materials that portray them in positive and equitable ways;
  • A school environment that is welcoming and conducive to learning; and,
  • A community of adults who support them.

FAWE has developed the Centre of Excellence (COE) model through which ordinary schools are transformed into gender-responsive schools that offer quality education and pay attention to the physical, academic and social dimensions of both girls' and boys' education.

COEs show that girls' retention and performance can be enhanced if they are provided with a school environment that is fair and conducive to learning.

Features of FAWE's Centers of Excellence

  • Gender-responsive school management training for school directors and head teachers.
  • Gender-responsive pedagogy training for teachers.
  • Science, Mathematics and Technology programme for girls.
  • Bursaries for underprivileged girls.
  • Empowerment training for girls and boys.
  • Sexual maturation management programme targeting girls.
  • Gender-responsive school infrastructure.
  • Community involvement in school management.

Impact of FAWE's Centre's of Excellence

  • Improved academic performance and achievement for girls.
  • Greater participation by girls in classroom processes.
  • Higher retention rates.
  • More girls in school committees and leadership roles.
  • Reduction in teenage pregnancies.
  • Higher gender awareness among boys in mixed COEs.

In order to enhance girls' academic performance, we organise remedial learning classes through which girls are tutored to tackle challenging subjects and are assisted in preparing for school-leaving exams.

Our mandate is to engage with governments, schools, institutions and communities to develop and implement policies and practices that promote girls' and women's education.


FAWENA would like to thank those organizations, businesses and individuals that have demonstrated their commitment to the Girl Child of Namibia through education and development support.

Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture
Standard Bank
Winrock International
Bank Windhoek
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
The Global Fund
African Development Fund
African Deli
Former CCN Scholarship Beneficiaries
Individual Members




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