The power and potential of educating girls

Around the world, over 70 million children who should be in school are not. Half of those are girls. And half of those girls live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Why, you ask, are they not in school? Some are working in fields & on farms. Some are walking long distances to fetch clean water for their families. Others are sold into the sex trade. Some drop out from childhood pregnancy or arranged marriages. The list, though uncomfortable, is not uncontrollable…there are girls making strides everyday to change the face of their generation, their legacy, and their communities.

Passion Partners is privileged to walk alongside 32 of these girls at the Wakiso Restoration Home in Uganda, who just started a new school year in January. However, it was just months earlier, many of these girls, like the 35 million referenced above, had their education interrupted or halted all together.

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The Restoration Home girls excited and outfitted for their first day of school.

While public education in Uganda is technically “free,” students’ families are required to purchase books, uniforms, pay examination fees, and other mandatory expenses. They are, otherwise, not allowed to attend school. For most of us school supplies and clothes are just part of the annual, “back to school” routine. You can imagine for many families with little to no money to spare, managing to fund their child’s primary education, let alone, secondary education (when the fees increase), is an often insurmountable obstacle with serious life-long consequences.

So, while it’s clear that there is a need to help fund education in developing countries, you may be unclear as to why Passion Partners is involved & committed to “education.” The short answer is that Passion Partners is an organization whose focus is community development.

What is the connection between providing for the education
of girls and aiding the long-term development of a community?

Besides the principle which we would all probably agree on, that “no child [should be] left behind,” here are some facts to support why we do what we do:

• Educated mothers are 50% more likely to immunize their children than mothers with no schooling.
• A woman with six or more years of education is more likely to seek prenatal care, assisted childbirth, and postnatal care, reducing the risk of maternal and child mortality and illness.
• Many low- and middle-income countries lose almost $100 billion per year by failing to educate girls to the same standards as boys.
• It’s estimated that a 12% reduction in world poverty could be achieved if all students in low-income countries obtain basic reading skills in school.
• A woman with at least 6 years of education is estimated to earn up to 25% than those that did not receive formal education, and on average invests 90% of those earnings back in her family.
• The majority of farmers in the developing world are women. Greater female education leads to more productive farming and accounts for almost half of the decline in malnutrition achieved since 1970.

The Wakiso Restoration Home is just one project of Passion Partners which supports education, and specifically girls’ education. To read more about our other education and community development initiatives, go to our website. www.passionpartners.org

Sources:
Gallucci, Robert L. “The Power of Educating Girls.”  Top News Today. http://technology.topnewstoday.org/green/article/2434573/
“Education and the Developing World.”  The Center for Global Development. http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/2844
“Why is Basic Education So Important?” Basic Education Coalition. http://www.basiced.org/wp-content/uploads/Factsheets/Why_Basic_Education-2011.pdf

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