The Girl Effect--Part One

Today I am participating in the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign.  As an educator, a female, a mother of a daughter, and as a human being the issue of girls in the developing world impacts me.

In this first post I present some background and stats directly from the Girl Effect website.  Later today I will share the personal story of one of my students.  If you don't have the time to read through this post PLEASE at least go to the website and view the opening video.  It's very powerful.  (I tried posting it here but for having difficulty getting the html code to work.)

·         Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.
·         Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
·         When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
·         An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
·         Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
·         When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

There are 250 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. That’s a quarter of a billion girls aged 10-19 living on less than $2 USD a day – and a massive amount of potential to change the world.

When girls’ lives are limited, everyone loses. Families, communities and entire economies are all stunted when half their human potential is squandered. The world is missing out on a tremendous opportunity for change.

This is where the Girl Effect comes in – the power, promise, and potential of adolescent girls as the change agents to end global poverty.

Girls are the mother of every child born into poverty, but as a HIV-free and educated mother, an active citizen and an ambitious entrepreneur or prepared employee, she can break the cycle of poverty. It’s a ripple effect. With the right resources in place, she’ll marry and have children at a later age. She’ll be better educated, healthier and safer. She’ll invest 90% of what she earns back into her family. And every single benefit that comes to her will be passed on to the next generation.

The Girl Effect is a concept; a movement. It is not about raising the profile of an organization or even raising money for a particular program. It’s about raising girls’ voices – it’s that simple.

Check back later today where I'll post a powerful, personal story.