The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

The Girl Effect

To focus on a global issue, young women are undereducated around the world. As big thinkers grapple with how to eradicate poverty, disease, and create more opportunities around the world, making certain that all girls go to school is a vital step toward solving the world’s problems.

The Girl Effect, a non-governmental organization, focuses on investment in young females in the developing world. It operates under the premise that the more opportunities for education and success girls have, the better chance they have to break their family’s cycle of poverty, and avoid contracting HIV. A look at their fact sheet indicates:

– 70 percent of the 130 million children around the world that are not enrolled in school are female.
– About 25 percent of girls in non-developed nations are not in school.
– An extra year of primary school increases a girl’s future income by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school nets a 15 to 25 percent increase.
– There is a consistent rate of better infant health with more education for mothers.
– Women invest nearly 90 percent of their income back into their families. This compares to 30 to 40 percent for men.
– Seven or more years of education leads to 2.2 less children, and marrying 4 years later.

They partner with the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, who propose three actions. Count (collect data), Invest (increase funding, expand opportunities, refocus health programs, and economically empower girls to continue education), and Advocate (provide support). A report on their website (the Girls Count report) indicates that for every year of education, next generation infant mortality decreases by 5 to 10 percent.

The Girl Effect, a three minute video, operates under a “time is ticking” theme. Age 12 is the key moment for girls, when they can move in one direction or another. With more eduction, they can succeed. Without, they become married by age 14, mothers by 15, and at risk for forced prostitution and HIV. Poverty is cyclical, continuing education at age 12 can give girls more options and break the cycle.

As I thought about the work the Girl Effect is doing, I realized again how important education is, not only globally, but locally to break the cycle of poverty. Raising awareness to this issue and possibly investing in an NGO can go a long way in the effort to change the world.

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