Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Girl Effect

  I became aware of the Girl Effect in 2008 when it was first founded. Attach Nike or the Swoosh to anything, and it immediately grabs my attention. But this time it had nothing to do with the latest shoe or hoodie. It's something much more important than that.

  The Nike Foundation created the Girl Effect alongside the NoVo Foundation and Nike Inc., with contributions from the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls to help raise awareness, and the standard of living for poverty stricken nations.

  The idea behind the Girl Effect is that adolescent girls in developing nations are capable of raising the standard of living for EVERYONE in their country.
  • That girls are the most POWERFUL force of change on the planet.
  • That girls are like the start of a giant domino effect. When resources are invested into girls, everyone wins: the girls, their families, their communities, and their countries.
  When a girl living in poverty hits puberty, she comes to a crossroads. Her life can go in two dramatic directions.
  • a) She is taken out of the school system, is married off, becomes pregnant and desperate, and is then vulnerable to HIV. This results in her and her family remaining in the cycle of poverty. Or,
  • b) She stays in the school system, uses her education to earn a living, marries and has children when SHE chooses, raises a healthy family, and stays healthy and HIV negative. Which leads her to have the opportunity to raise the standard of living for her and her family.
  The Girl Effect wants the second scenario to become status quo, thus raising living standards/conditions around the world.

  While it might be a lot to ask, I want every girl to have the same opportunities I had as a teenager. No matter their background. No matter where they live.

  The Girl Effect could be the start of that happening all over the world. I know, it's a lot to bite off. But you know the saying, 'Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.'

  I joined in to help raise awareness and spread the word. The more people who know about the Girl Effect, about their goals and motivations, the better. There is a week long blogging campaign that starts today. Go here to see all the entries! If you're interested you can join in as well, just click on the 'Join Me' badge below to find out more information.

  Here are some sobering statistics that support WHY investing in girls and their future/education is so important:
  • As of 2007, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
  • More than 1/4 of the population in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa are female from the ages of 10-24.
  • Approximately 1/4 of girls in developing nations are NOT in school. 
  • Out of the world's 130 million out-of-school youth, 70% are girls.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls' eventual wages by 10-20%. An extra year of secondary school: 15-25%.
  • When women and girls earn an income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families. As compared to 30-40% for a man. 
  • Research has shown a correlation between better infant/child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers. 
  • One girl in seven in developing countries marry before the age of 15, and 38% marry before the age of 18.
  • In Nicaragua, 45% of girls with no schooling are married before they turn 18, versus 16% of their educated counterparts. In Mozambique: 60% versus 10%. In Senegal 41% versus 6%.
  • Medical complications from child birth is the leading cause of death among girls ages 15-19 worldwide. Girls 10-14 are five times more likely to die during childbirth compared to 20-24 year old women. 
  • As of 2006, 75% of 15-24 year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female. Up from 62% in 2001.
  The Girl Effect was started to raise awareness, and raise global consciousness to the power and effect girls have worldwide.

  By joining the conversation, you are doing your part.

  Everyone can become more aware. Obviously, contribute if you are able. It's not just about girls. It's about girls starting the ripple effect that can improve the lives of boys, mothers, fathers, communities, villages, and maybe even their countries. When girls thrive, the people around them thrive.

  Thanks for reading -- Join in!


The Girl Effect
The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign 
Spread the Word of the Girl Effect
Donate to the Girl Effect
Learn More
The Girl Effect Fact Sheet

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