Today in Africa 24 million girls can’t afford to go to school. Those enrolled are regularly pulled out to help with chores and childcare and must often leave for young marriage and pregnancy. Even in the classroom, patriarchal values, prevalent violence against female students and lack of proper sanitation make for a disrupted and incomplete education.
All girls should be allowed to pursue an education as a basic human right and means for self sufficiency. But the benefits to educating Africa's girls extend far beyond. Research shows, when a girl in Africa receives an education she:
Earns up to 25 percent more income and invests up to 90 percent in her family.
Is three times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS.
Has fewer, healthier children who are 40 percent more likely to live past the age of 5.
It is estimated that universal secondary education for girls in sub-Saharan Africa could save as many as 1.8 million lives every year. What an incredible difference it would make for the entire continent if all girls received an education!
As we come upon the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals it's imperative that we work together in a final push to make sure all girls receive the education they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives that simultaneously contribute to the socio-economic health of Africa.
Please help us achieve this important goal by signing the petition below. Have you already signed? Be sure to check out our website or facebook page for more ways to get involved.
We write today to ask that you make gender equality in schools a top priority during the FY2012 and beyond. As development initiatives in Africa begin to yield positive results, closing the gender gap will be an imperative step to ensuring healthy social and economic growth on the continent. As we get closer to the Millennium Development Goals’ target date of achievement –set for 2015- it is imperative that the right of Africa’s girls to a comprehensive education is made both a priority and a reality.
It is estimated that when a girl in Africa receives a comprehensive education, she will earn 25 percent more income and will invest 90 percent of that in her family. She is 3 times less likely to contract AIDS and has fewer, healthier children who are 40 times more likely to like past the age of five.
Despite the obvious correlation between educating women and improving society at large, girls in Africa still encounter many obstacles to accessing quality education. Cultural values often mandate that a girl stay home to help with housework and childcare and dangerous conditions between home and school lead many girls to avoid the commute. Once in school, gender biased curriculums and high instances of violence against female students often reinforce gender stereotypes and burden female students.
The need to help Africa’s female population break through these educational barriers is great. As government and non-government agencies alike increase efforts to provide educational opportunities for girls in the years leading up to the MDG target date, we’ve never been closer to achieving universal education. But your support will be critical to making it happen.
I ask at this time that you adopt well-focused policies aimed at improving girls’ participation in school in Africa, both as basic human right and as a means of facilitating lasting socio-economic development. Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter.
Thank you for signing our petition! With people like you we can and will give girls the tools to create brighter futures. As your signature makes its way to the Foreign Relations Committee, I%u2019d like to tell you about another awesome opportunity to give girls the edge they need to break the chains of poverty.
Develop Africa recently installed a computer lab in a girls%u2019 school in war-torn Sierra Leone. Computer skills are essential to finding gainful employment and connecting to the global community, which leads to safer, more secure lives. Through the Girl Effect Challenge, if our innovative computer project receives enough unique donations by Nov. 15, we%u2019ll be eligible to win up to $25,000! This will mean more computers, more trainees, and more girls breaking free of poverty through education.
You can find more info at http://bit.ly/girlstech1; if you can give even $10 or share our project on facebook, tweet it or blog about it, it will make a powerful difference. I hope you%u2019ll stay with us in this incredible journey to empower girls for change. Thank you!
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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