This was during a luncheon yesterday, November 12, 2019 at the Elysée Palace in Paris.
The First Lady of Cameroon, Chantal Biya, yesterday November 12, 2019 responded favourably to the call for a working lunch from the First Lady of the Republic of France, Brigitte Macron. The luncheon which took place on the theme, "Education of the Young Girl", was organised on the side-lines of the second Paris Peace Forum which ends today in France. The gathering was an ideal opportunity for the First Lady of France, alongside other First Spouses accompanying their husband for the Paris Peace Forum to discuss and support the education of the young girls as an important tool in the development of any nation. It was at about 12:45 p.m. yesterday, when the First Lady of Cameroon, Chantal Biya, who is also UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassador for Education and Social Inclusion left the premises of Le Meurice Hotel at the heart of Paris to honour the invitation from the First Lady of France on a topic she holds close to her heart- the education of the young girl. The luncheon began at exactly 1pm as invitees gathered at the Elysée Palace to join their voices to talk about the education of the girl child. The event, which was not open to the press, lasted close to three hours. The importance for First Ladies to gather and talk about the education of the young girl cannot be overemphasised. Reports from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics indicate that millions of girls around the world are still being denied education, as there are still 31 million girls of primary school age out of school. Of these, 17 million are expected never to enter school. As far as secondary education is concerned, UNESCO data shows that there are also 34 million female adolescents out of school, missing out on the chance to learn vital skills for work. Figures further show that young girls make up 58 per cent of those not completing primary school and two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female. Also, almost a quarter of young women aged 15-24 today (116 million) in developing countries have never completed primary school and so lack skills for working. With such startling figures, it is but normal for the First Lady of Cameroon to join other First Spouses in a course she has been spearheading over decades earning her the title of a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for education and social inclusion, in 2009. Mrs Chantal Biya has a long-standing support for inclusive education, especially for girls, young women, orphans and the underprivileged, who are mostly women. Through her charity association, the Circle of Friends of Cameroon (CERAC) and her Foundation, the "Chantal Biya Foundation", she has constructed primary schools in all the ten regions of the country known as "Les Champions" and in other situations constructed, rehabilitated or equipped schools nationwide.