In sub-Saharan Africa, only 63 percent of girls complete their schooling, according to the World Bank. Yet our own research in the Millennium Cities indicates that girls who continue their education will have far greater opportunities, and they will be in a better position to care for themselves and their families. To celebrate the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl, by “Standing Up for Girls” and their right to a quality education, a number of the Millennium Cities and Millennium Villages Project sites held rallies, marched and participated in debates on girls’ issues.
For many in the developing world, education isn’t taken for granted. Around 35 million girls are out of school, the World Bank says, almost half of them in sub-Saharan Africa. In support of girls’ education, MCI joined the literacy organization LitWorld and other partners, including Connect To Learn, Asia Initiatives and the Children of Kibera Foundation, for a “Stand Up for Girls” rally to celebrate the International Day of the Girl on September 22.
The following is a guest blog, authored by Pam Allyn, Executive Director and Founder of LitWorld, a global organization advocating for children’s rights as readers, writers and learners, and an MCI partner. This account is based on Pam’s travels to the Millennium City of Kisumu, Kenya, to spend time with four Girls’ Clubs, which foster literacy while building self-esteem.
Educating girls and women is an important step in overcoming poverty. Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3 reflect the commitment that female education has a strong relationship with many other development indicators, and that education is an indispensable tool for women empowerment and the reduction of poverty. Girls’ education and the promotion of gender equality in education thus become vital tools for accelerating rural development.