Discovering International Women’s Day, The Girl Effect and Girl Rising

Today as a woman I was a little disappointed in myself.  First, I did not know that today March 8th was International Women’s Day.  This annual celebration is always held on the 8th, with different themes each year.  For 2013 the theme is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.

Second, I felt even more ignorant when I discovered a movement called The Girl Effect that has been in existence since 2002.  Ten years later and today would be the day that I would watch this.

Personally I found the video moving and wanted to learn more about the organization and efforts.

As found on The Girl Effect website,

The girl effect is a movement. It’s about leveraging the unique potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves, their families, their communities, their countries and the world. It’s about making girls visible and changing their social and economic dynamics by providing them with specific, powerful and relevant resources.

Created by the Nike Foundation in collaboration with the NoVo Foundation, United Nations Foundation and Coalition for Adolescent Girls, the girl effect is fuelled by hundreds of thousands of girl champions who recognise the untapped potential of adolescent girls living in poverty.

My third discovery was a network associated with The Girl Effect called 10x10act.  This organization is using the power of telling stories to deliver the truth about how educating girls you can change the world.  On March 7th they released the film Girl Rising, which includes 9 girls stories from 9 separate countries.

Watch the Trailer here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJsvklXhYaE

Again I was evoked with an emotional response and asked myself, what can I do?

So why help just girls?  In many third world countries, help is needed for all.

The Girl Effects points to the following:

1. GIRLS ARE AGENTS OF CHANGE

They play a crucial role in solving the most persistent development problems facing the world today. By investing in their economic potential through education and by delaying child marriage and teen pregnancy, issues such as HIV and AIDS can be resolved and the cycle of poverty can be broken. To learn how a girl’s success is the world’s success, watch the girl effect films above.

2. PEOPLE ASSUME GIRLS ARE BEING REACHED

They’re not. The reality is that children’s programmes focus on 0-5 year-olds, youth programmes tend to focus on males and older groups, and women’s programmes don’t typically capture adolescent girls. Programmes that do reach girls rarely address the ones most at risk. To break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, programmes must be designed for, and measure the impact on, girls.

3. THE COST OF EXCLUDING GIRLS IS HIGH

In India, adolescent pregnancy results in nearly $10billion in lost potential income. In Uganda, 85 per cent of girls leave school early, resulting in $10billion in lost potential earnings. By delaying child marriage and early birth for one million girls, Bangladesh could potentially add $69billion to the national income over these girls’ lifetimes.

THE QUESTION ISN’T: ‘WHY GIRLS?’

THE QUESTION IS: ‘WHY WAIT?’

And 10×10 organization offers the following

Educated girls dramatically improve the well-being of their families, their communities, and their countries—multiplying the impact on society. Educating girls will..

  • reduce poverty

  • reduce child mortality

  • reduce population growth

  • reduce HIV infection rates

  • change the conditions that lead to terrorism

  • reduce corruption

Looking into both of these organizations, right now the only way to get involved is to donate money.  I was a little disappointed in this.  Not that I am not willing to give, but I have been at a place for awhile where I am looking for an organization that I can give holistically to: time, labor, resources, etc.

Today on International Women’s Day, fittingly themed Gaining Momentum, I know at least I have contributed to these organizations and represented the theme by passing on their message.  What you and I choose to do with the information will be the reason for the success or stagnation of gaining momentum of these girls.

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