Second Chance Education (SCE) Signature Features
News and Press Release
The approach of UN Women’s Second Chance Education programme recog- nizes that, for women who are marginalized by crisis, poverty or harmful so- cial norms, transformational change requires more than the offer of training or education alone. SCE’s target women have been held back by gender-based barriers and discriminatory practices all their lives without necessarily being aware of it. SCE therefore provides access to practical support and life skills training that enable women to participate fully in whichever learning pathway they choose. Similarly, it recognizes the importance of social learning and per- sonalized support throughout the SCE journey. This scaffolded approach has led to high retention and low dropout rates and is represented by SCE’s six sig- nature features.
The SCE signature features are outlined below, with each illustrated by an example from a country programme.
SUPPORT TO ADDRESS GENDER-BASED BARRIERS
Support is provided to remove the constraints to women’s participation in SCE. It may include access to care services to alleviate the care burden such as child, disability and elder care, safe and affordable transport to the hubs, and engag- ing with men in families and communities to build their support. It can also in- clude referrals to complementary social services to access professional support for gender-based violence, housing, personal finances, health or other issues.
In Australia, SCE participants are provided with the opportunity to bring young children into the hub, with specific “mums and bubs” days, as well as having playground facilities so children can play while the women un- dertake activities The Hub also owns a van, to support with safe, free trans- portation to the hub. Strong community stakeholder networks have been established, so warm referrals are made whenever needed to social ser- vices. When a SCE participant lacks the confidence to navigate the process of engaging with a social service, the SCE hub staff will also accompany the participant and support them through the process, such as with at- tendance at meetings and consultations, and filling out paperwork which may be intimidating to the participant, or she may lack the literacy to com- plete the paperwork.
GENDER-TRANSFORMATIVE LIFE SKILLS
Training and support in this area enable women to develop self- confidence, a sense of agency, and aspirations aligned with their interests, skills and circumstances. It is centred on an awareness of participants’ strengths and the potential of all individuals, and the part that gendered roles, stereo- types and discriminatory norms play in everyone’s lives. Gender-transfor- mative life skills are context-specific and attempt to address intersecting inequalities. This training may provide the opportunity for participants to revisit, adapt or change established attitudes, behaviours and practices at individual, household and community level, often resulting in participants assuming new roles and responsibilities which may differ from socially ex- pected gender roles (UN Women, 2020)1. It is an essential foundation for subsequent training and for ensuring sustainable change to women’s lives and community resilience.
In Mexico, SCE participants acquire gender-transformative skills through courses focused on personal development, financial education, and digi- tal literacy. The personal development courses aim to encourage women to define their life project, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and become more aware of how gender norms impact their lives. The financial education courses center on increasing the women’s financial inclusion, health, and resilience. Finally, the digital literacy courses intend to provide women with the knowledge and skills to communicate, learn and collabo- rate online. The courses are implemented in close partnership with state government and private sector.
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