October 22, 2012

Women for Education

The Sanofi Espoir Foundation partners the Roundtable and the Award for reducing inequalities in access to education for women and health in Africa

At the Women's Forum held on October 12, 2012, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and its partners - the Orange Foundation and ELLE - organized a roundtable on “Reducing education and health inequalities: a priority for social and economic development in Africa”.

This panel discussion was moderated by Isabelle Duriez, a journalist at ELLE magazine, and brought together African and international experts:


Melanne Verveer, appointed in 2009 by President Obama as a United States Goodwill Ambassador for issues related to women in the world, opened the debate by saying that Africa’s greatest wealth was its human capital and that the sustainable growth of the continent depended on the active participation of women in economic, social and political life. The Ambassador welcomed the progress made in education and access to health, but noted that they were still insufficient and uneven, stressing that the issue of girls' education in Africa and the world remained a challenge.

Ms Raymonde Goudou Coffie, Minister for the Family, Women and Children in the Côte d’Ivoire government, positioned women at the heart of her country’s hopes. As she said, “by educating a woman you educate a whole nation. I would add that treating and supporting a woman is also to perpetuate a Nation”. She also stressed the importance of the involvement of health authorities and public-private partnerships that enable resources and expertise pooling that can improve access to more sustainable healthcare. The Minister also defended access to family planning in a country where abortion is prohibited, even in cases of rape, yet still carried out under appalling conditions.

Nathalie Delapalme, former advisor on Africa for several French Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Director of Research and Policy at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, tasked with developing good governance and leadership in Africa, confirmed that significant progress had been made. She praised the role of donors, while calling for more government involvement.

Dr Amy Fall-Ndao, Director of Business Development for the West African region at Sanofi, emphasized the company’s role as a major healthcare player in Africa and testified through examples of struggling against maternal and infant mortality in different countries, to the role of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation in improving access to healthcare in Africa through the development of community educational actions and by stepping up training for local health actors, including the use of new technologies such as mobile phones, e-learning and telemedicine. Dr. Amy Fall-Ndao also underscored the contribution of health technology to the fight against counterfeiting, saying that “one out of every four drugs in Africa is counterfeit or defective”. As President of the Association of Women Doctors in Senegal, she also referred to actions in the field to improve access to healthcare as soon as possible.

Mr Brelotte Ba, Director of Orange Niger, reiterated the usefulness of the mobile phone in Africa: “One in every two Africans has access to mobile – that’s more than for water!”. Mobile represents a tremendous opportunity for reaching men and women and raising awareness about health and education issues. He gave three examples that converge with Sanofi Espoir Foundation actions.


Three Foundations join forces to award the “Women for Education 2012”

Prize awarded to the NGO EAST for its health program in Madagascar, in the presence of Véronique Morali, President of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society; Christine Albanel, Executive Director for Events, Partnerships and Solidarity at Orange Group; Karine Guldemann, managing director of the ELLE Foundation and Caty Forget, Managing Director of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation.


Ahead of the Women's Forum, the ELLE Foundation and Sanofi Espoir Foundation, joined this year by the Orange Foundation, joined forces to launch a call for proposals on the theme: “How new technologies can contribute to the education of women and improve access to healthcare in Africa”.

At the 6th edition of the Forum, the “Women for Education 2012” Prize was presented on October 12th to the EAST association (Water Agriculture and Health in a Tropical Environment) for its project in Madagascar. Dr. Monjour, President of the EAST association, received on behalf of the Malagasy team this €30,000 award, supplemented by a laptop and the possibility of involving volunteers from Sanofi, Orange and Lagardère Active and the Women's Forum network to carry out the project.

In his speech, he reported on the key role of the women in the Women's Associations for Promoting Hygiene and Health (AFhys) in public health education, and underscored how new technology plays a key role in enhancing access to information and ensuring faster and more effective interaction with local populations.

The goal of the winning project is to complement traditional methods of community health education and prevention by boosting literacy among women "health messengers" and training them in new information technologies to speed up behavioral change among the local population on hygiene, sanitation and community health issues.