It has been ten years since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals, and while the international community has made progress in some areas, certain goals, in particular those focusing on universal primary education and eliminating gender disparity, need additional support.
For those who have had access to education all their lives, it can be shocking to learn that a young girl’s education is cut short because she is needed at home for chores, or doesn’t have access to toilets during adolescence, or is being married off as a child bride. Yet these are some of the reasons that deprive young girls from reaching their full potential.
World Bank studies show that educating girls is the most cost effective way of spurring development. When educated girls become mothers, they emphasize education for their children, creating a cycle of growth and development in communities. And when educated women go on to have jobs and careers, they re-invest 90% of their income in their families.
One organization addressing girl’s education is the United Nations Foundation. Last year the organization launched the "Girl Up" campaign to raise awareness of the needs of adolescent girls around the world. The campaign is for girls, by girls, and connects girls in the US with their peers around the world.
"This 'for girls, by girls' campaign will mobilize American girls to raise funds and awareness for United Nations programs that support the millions of adolescent girls growing up in developing countries," said Kimberly Perry, director of the campaign.
The campaign will work closely with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, United Nations Children’s Fund, World Health Organization, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the United Nations Population Fund, to target the world’s hardest-to-reach girls. Its goals are to provide opportunities for girls to go to school, see a doctor, have access to clean water, and stay safe from violence.
Also supporting the initiative are its five founding partners: the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, Camp Fire USA, Girls Inc., and the NGO known as 10X10: Educate Girls. Change the World.
In addition, the campaign has enlisted "Advocates" and "Girl Up Champions" which include such personalities as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, Dr. Lisa Masterson, Victoria Justice, Ivanka Trump, Rebecca Soni, and Crystal Bowersox.
For additional information on the campaign, and to learn how to give a "high five" for girls, please go to the Girl Up website.
The "Girl Up" campaign is featured in the 14 February edition of Time Magazine.