A Gathering for Girls: Blossoms Children Community brings everyone together Harare, Zimbabwe
Blossoms Children Community's event!
Blossoms Children Community hosted a huge event at Glen-View 1 High School in Harare, Zimbabwe with an attendance of 2,000 girls from Glen-View High 1 and High 2. There were several performances including a drama, dances, poems, and motivational speeches. The Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the United States government was the guest of honor.
Surfing Possibility: A fundraiser by Brown Girl Surf and Storytellers for Good California, USA
Brown Girl Surf and Storytellers for Good hosted a fundraiser for their trip this fall. They will be traveling to India and Bangladesh to meet South Asia’s first female surfers and share their stories! The groups gathered to spread awareness about their trip, and the event included sneak peek Skype interviews with some of the female surfers. The evening centered around sharing stories and the Brown Girl Surf journey through a series of blogs, short-form documentary profiles, and photographs.
Kindles for Education: Worldreader program in Africa uses technology to spread #BasicMath Ghana, Uganda, Kenya
Worldreader girl holding her kindle
Worldreader combined technology and education through their Kindle program in Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya. Girls held up electronic readers that showed off images of Barca football (soccer) players and “Girls + Education = ______” phrases. This event was in conjunction with their 1 Million Books campaign.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the International Day of the Girl to help raise awareness around girls’ education and inspire people to take action. Continue the effort. Spread the Word. Share the Girl Rising trailer with friends and family so that together we can help educate girls and change the world!
10×10 is built on a foundation of partnerships with NGOs, corporations, policy makers, and grassroots organizations – all working to change minds, lives, and policy. Worldreader believes in the invaluable power of reading, and they work tirelessly to put books in the hands of children across the world through new technology like e-readers. 10×10 supports their efforts to change the world through education and we are proud to support the work they are doing on the ground in our 10×10 weekly Partner Series.
A few months ago, we learned that 17-year-old Okanta Kate, one of the students in Worldreader’s iREAD program in Ghana, wanted to become a famous writer when she grew up.
Since all famous writers have to start somewhere, a blog seems as good a place as any to help Kate reach her goal. So, we asked her if she would like to guest write a post for Worldreader and 10×10, and she enthusiastically agreed. We believe listening to the voices of young women like Kate, a poet at heart, is a perfect way to celebrate the first-ever United Nation’s International Day of the Girl coming up on Oct. 11. Here’s the beginning of her story, in her words.
Okanta Kate reads to David
My passion for writing started when I was eight years old. That was when I lost my dear mum.
Writing is something I enjoy doing. I think I was born to write. I use the little time that I have to write. It can be anything like poems, stories or something about nature. And, sometimes, I write about the things I witnessed and experienced myself.
What motivated me and moved me to write? It was when Worldreader came to my school and introduced the e-reader to my class.
Before I met Worldreader, I was writing, but it wasn’t easy for me. When I didn’t know a word, I would have to do research and it would take me some time to find out what the word meant. And, what was even worse was the fact that I wasn’t even serious about writing. Anything I wrote I just dumped it somewhere.
Worldreader motivated me because I was able to look at all those stories and read poems and learn new things. I said to myself, “I can even be better and more famous than them if I work hard to achieve my goal.” So as time went by I decided to take writing seriously. I know I’m doing fine with it all because I have discovered what is inside me, and see the kind of potential and talent I have.
Okanta Kate's piece, Lonely Village
So far, I have a few poems and short stories, like “Lonely Village,” which talks about rural-urban drift. As we can see, the youth nowadays move from rural areas to the urban areas in search of higher standard living but they forget what they leave behind. It is what they already have that they seek. But because they don’t bring out the good in what they have, they let go of it.
I also wrote a poem called “Agony of a Woman,” which talks about the plight and problems women face, especially in Africa, when they are not able to have children. These women are being rejected and looked down upon. They are even sometimes denied of their rights.
Kate and Barça
I see myself in the future being a famous writer — not just a writer, but also someone who will inspire, encourage and motivate people. Apart from writing, I always dream to be a lawyer. If I don’t get that opportunity, I will go into show business.
My special thanks will always go to Worldreader because they helped me fall in love with writing. I will always be grateful to them because they made me someone today.
Okanta Kate wants to change the world with her words. We hope she does. Let’s celebrate girls like Okanta on October 11th.
On International Day of the Girl 10×10 is bringing the celebration to social media!
Join the conversation on Twitter. From 9am to 9pm EST, we will be hosting an International Day of the Girl 12-hour Tweet-A-Thon, covering a range of topics, from the barriers to education girls face, to ways you can get involved. Featuring discussions with several non-profits supporting girls’ empowerment, female bloggers and influencers. Follow along and join the conversation all day using the hashtag #IDG2012.
Unite together on Facebook. Join several like-minded non-profits in a united Facebook Cover Photo Takeover in honor of International Day of the Girl. Join us! Together, let’s stand up for girls using the following Facebook profile photo:
10×10 is built on a foundation of partnerships with NGOs, corporations, policy makers, and grassroots organizations – all working to change minds, lives, and policy. 10×10′s coalition of NGO partners provide life-changing services to girls every day, and are among the best practitioners of their kind. They include: A New Day Cambodia, CARE USA, UN Foundation’s Girl Up, Partners in Health, Plan International USA, Pratham USA, Room to Read, and World Vision. We are proud to present our weekly Partner Series, where we highlight the wonderful work that they are doing on the ground.
We spoke with Dr. Tessie San Martin, President/CEO of Plan International USA. She is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years’ experience helping to address gaps in education, economic growth, capacity-building, corporate governance, political reform and labor policy globally. Her work has taken her to Egypt, India, Mexico, Bosnia, and Indonesia, among other countries, where professional initiatives have involved supporting disenfranchised populations, a significant number of which are women and young girls.
Tessie: I’m so glad you asked that question. Without education, without basic literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills, children cannot reach their full potential, and economic growth cannot be sustained. Our education programs are focused on three outcomes: improving access to education (can children get to the schools?); improving quality of education (will they learn relevant skills in the schools?); and improving governance and management of education (will the schools be able to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the communities and modernizing economies?). Over the past five years, Plan has invested over $180 million in primary education in more than 40 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In fact, Plan invests more in basic education than in any other program area because we know that education can transform children, their families, and their communities.
While our education programs help both boys and girls, we know that girls face some unique obstacles. Leveling the playing field for girls oftentimes starts by educating their parents and community leaders on the benefits of educating girls, as well as by providing girl-friendly environments in which to learn. To make this concrete, let me tell you about our girls’ education program in the West African country of Burkina Faso.
Children learning at Plan funded school in Boulsa in the province of Namentenga in Burkina Faso.
The primary school enrollment rate in Burkina remains one of the lowest in the world – and girls are the most disadvantaged: their primary enrollment rate is just 50 percent and girls’ average completion rate for primary education is only 26 percent. We worked with the community to first understand “why?”: why was school attendance and completion so much worse for girls? We learned there were many, often interrelated, reasons: from the lack of bathroom facilities for girls to the lack of role models, to parental attitudes. So “solving” the school access and completion rate problem required a holistic approach, one that included things like raising awareness among communities through radio broadcasts and door-to-door campaigns; literacy training for mothers and their active involvement in a mentoring program to positively impact their daughters; and building girl-friendly schools with separate girls’ latrines and daycare centers for younger siblings.
Girl learning in classroom in Burkina Faso.
This approach has resulted in an increase in girls’ enrollment in primary school by 22.2 percentage points, and by the way boys’ enrollment has also increased by 17.6 percentage points because it turns out that doing things that improve quality, like greater parental involvement in school governance, helps all children, not just girls. More important, we feel that these represent sustainable gains. Why? Because by working the problem with the community, the parents, and the children themselves, we have also helped changed how the community sees the school, how the parents view their children’s attendance, how the children view their school. It has generally improved local involvement in school maintenance and quality – and ultimately improved local ownership for education outcomes.
Children in the bisongo with the petites mamans.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to work on educating girls around the world?
Tessie: One person in eight is a girl or young woman age 10–24. Young people are the fastest growing segment of the population in developing countries, and their welfare is a fundamental input for key economic and social outcomes — including the size and competitiveness of tomorrow’s labor force, future economic growth, improved governance, and healthy civil societies. And girls’ welfare today shapes the prospects for future families. Educational and health achievement of future generations is directly related to the physical and intellectual condition of today’s girls and young women, who will bear and prepare the children of the next decade.
There is plenty of evidence that educating girls is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do: the impact is not only social, it’s economic as well. According to the Global Campaign for Education1: “Education enables girls and women to improve their livelihoods: Widespread research demonstrates that investing in girls’ education is an effective route to ensuring both long term economic growth and sustainable social development. One extra year of primary school boosts a girl’s eventual wages by 10-20%. Women and girls also make good use of the money they earn, reinvesting 90% into their families compared to only 30-40% for men. Increasing women’s education also increases national growth, a 1% increase in the number of women with secondary education can increase a country’s annual per capital income growth by an average of 0.3 percentage points.”
Girl learning at Plan-supported elementary school in Rembang, Indonesia
Conversely, the costs to not educating girls are high…and the results are bleak. As the UN has noted, “…The true costs include lower health status of the children of these women, lower life expectancy, skill obsolescence of jobless girls, less social empowerment, and so forth.” According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women2, “the cost of inaction is far higher. And the costs are borne not just by women, but by all of society. There is strong evidence that failure to educate women impedes growth; a one-year increase in the schooling of all adult females in a country is associated with an increase in GDP per capita of around $700. Research also shows how stalled progress in girls’ secondary school enrollment means foregone reductions in fertility, maternal mortality, child mortality, and malnutrition.”
Q: What is the hardest part of your job? What types of challenges or obstacles do you encounter?
Tessie: I love my job for many reasons. For starters, I can see the difference we make in people’s lives. It is measurable and tangible; seeing what we can do together with the communities where we work is incredibly energizing. In fact, my favorite part of the job is having the opportunity to see our programs in the field, and listen to and learn from those with whom we work and for whom we work.
I also love the variety. No day is like another. We work in 50 countries, and have a broad range of programs and of donors. Our donors include big foundations like Gates as well as individuals who support us year after year with whatever donations they can. They come from literally all over the U.S. Another fun part of my job is talking to our donors and learning from them what moves them to give and inspires their generosity.
As to obstacles, I think our biggest challenge is making sure we are able to constantly learn about what works and what doesn’t, and be willing to recognize this and adapt. Becoming a real learning organization is hard. It is easier and safer to stay with what you know and what you have done before. We have to dare to take risks if we want to do better. But it is not just about taking risks and innovating, it is also about learning constantly. We are investing in improving our monitoring and evaluation (so we are better at tracking and reporting on results for ourselves and our donors), as well as our knowledge management systems so we can share what we are learning better. We also know that to constantly improve you have to be willing to experiment and innovate. So we give our staff the room to experiment, and to learn, to adapt approaches to local needs.
Finally, I will say that if you are in the field of international development you have to be an optimist. Every time you see an obstacle you need to remember that nothing you face can compare to the struggle to survive that many of the children we serve face every day. This puts everything in perspective. There are no obstacles. Just opportunities!
According to Ugandaâs Ministry of Education, in 2012 the number of girls who enrolled in secondary school stood at 343,000, in contrast to 408,000 for boys.
Q: How did you learn about 10×10, and what do you hope to achieve with this partnership?
Tessie: We first came into contact with 10×10 in 2010. It was clear our missions were highly complementary: our Because I am a Girl initiative and 10×10’s campaign both focused on the importance of girls’ education. Plan became an official NGO partner of 10×10 in early 2011, facilitating visits for the film crew to Haiti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Peru, India, and Sierra Leone—with the goal of telling the stories of amazing and powerful girls who are trying to overcome barriers preventing them from accessing their rights to education, health care, financial independence, and a whole host of challenges. It has been a terrific partnership.
Girl at Plan-supported elementary school in Rembang, Indonesia
We hope that—through the stories of these girls’ struggles and successes—we can engage more people and reach an even wider audience to take part in our Because I am a Girl initiative and raise awareness of the particular challenges that girls face around the world. In particular, the BIAAG goals are to:
Reach 4 million girls directly through girls-focused programs
Reach 40 million girls and boys through gender equality education and transformative programs
Reach 400 million girls through working with governments and policymakers to ensure equal access to education, health care, and opportunity.
We will track this impact through a global monitoring and evaluation framework, designed using a variety of community-centered methods.
Q: Why do you think that 10×10, among the many doing good work for the world’s children, is in a position to contribute to improving education for girls?
Tessie: Given its impressive team and the collective experience with impactful storytelling, 10×10 is in a unique position to bring that message to audiences that might not normally be involved in international issues or have an in-depth knowledge of challenges facing girls around the world. In addition, the group’s use of media across different platforms – internet, video, TV, film, print – can ensure comprehensive coverage for the message of girls’ empowerment. It is impressive to see what 10×10 can do, and observe the power of your story-telling.
Plan has developed some impressive actions on the United Nations’ first International Day of the Girl. Tell us what we can expect.
We’re truly excited about the upcoming first-ever International Day of the Girl, which Plan had an instrumental role in bringing about! For October 11, we’ll be officially launching our BIAAG initiative in NYC with the participation of 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Liberian Peace Activist Leymah Gbowee and Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi, among others.
In addition, we’ll be hosting dozens of events around the world to celebrate girls, ranging from lighting up of various monuments such as the Empire State Building (NYC), CN Tower (Toronto, Canada), London Eye, and India Old Fort (Delhi, India); to concerts in Bolivia and Mumbai; to joint meetings and panel discussions with government ministries in Cambodia, Peru, and elsewhere. The passion for and the power of this cause to engage men and women and boys and girls around the world is truly global.
“CNN is partnering with 10×10, a global action campaign to promote girls’ education, to spread the message that educating girls in developing nations can change the world…The organization has kicked off a photo campaign to invite people to raise awareness on why educating girls is #basicmath, and we hope you’ll take part.” Learn more here.
““Girl Rising,” the first documentary acquired by CNN Films, will air in spring 2013. The film, which inspired a global action campaign to promote girls’ education called 10×10, tells the extraordinary stories of several girls from around the globe, fighting to overcome impossible odds to realize their dreams.” Read the rest here.
“The film is directed by Richard E. Robbins, an Oscar nominee for “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.” “It’s exciting in part because I feel like it freed me from the burden of including certain statistics,” he said. “I feel like CNN is going to be able to provide so much context.”” Finish the article here.
Girl Rising is the feature-length film at the center of 10×10′s global action campaign for girls’ education.The film reveals extraordinary stories from around the globe, of revolutionaries fighting to overcome impossible odds on the road to realizing their dreams of education.. Coming Spring 2013.