How To Support Girls' Education Around The World On International Day Of The Girl
Oct. 11 marks the International Day of the Girl (IDG), an annual global observance that celebrates girls' accomplishments and promotes gender equality. On this day, which was declared by the United Nations, and always, you can support initiatives that help girls achieve their full potential — and education is such a crucial component of success. So, if you want to get involved, there are several different ways to support girls' education around the world, through donations and beyond.
It goes without saying that it's important to boost organizations that empower girls, but not as many Americans as you'd expect actually follow through with this. An October 2019 report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute found that, while Americans give a substantial amount of money to charity every year, very little of it goes toward women's and girls' organizations. In fact, the report revealed that only around 1.6% of total charitable giving from Americans in 2016 went to women's and girls' causes in the United States. The bulk of charitable donations went toward religious organizations, followed by educational and human services groups.
It's clear that groups that advance women's and girls' initiatives very much need support — and International Day of the Girl offers the perfect opportunity to help accelerate this investment. This year's IDG theme, "GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable," aims to "celebrate achievements by, with, and for girls" that have occurred since the UN developed major initiatives to promote and protect their rights. You can play a role in celebrating these achievements by backing efforts that make sure all girls have the opportunity to succeed, in the classroom and beyond.
CARE, an international nonprofit, has a girls' education initiative that works in many countries to give girls equal access to schooling.
"CARE implements gender-synchronized approaches: projects may begin with identifying and addressing the unique barriers that keep girls out of school, while at the same time working with boys and men to help identify and address such barriers," the group notes on its website. "Other projects may engage both girls and boys from inception, to build equitable environments through which all students can learn, thrive and grow."
You can donate to CARE via its website. The organization is also auctioning off celebrity-designed Care Bears on eBay for International Day of the Girl with proceeds going to CARE. The celebs include names like Kacey Musgraves, Sia, and Sophia Bush.
Donate To The Malala Fund
The Malala Fund, which was founded by girls' education advocate and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, works to "champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education," the group's website says. The organization focuses on working in places where girls frequently don't have access to secondary schooling — and its priority countries include "Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey."
You can donate to the Malala Fund here.
Support The Campaign For Female Education (CAMFED)
CAMFED is an international nonprofit that works in several countries across Africa. According to its website, since 1993, CAMFED's educational initiatives have "supported more than 3.3 million students to attend primary and secondary school, and nearly 5.7 million children have benefited from an improved learning environment."
You can donate to CAMFED on its website, which offers several suggestions for giving, including single or monthly donations, stock donations, and payroll giving.
Consider A "Girls Education" Gift
Oxfam, a group of nonprofits dedicated to fighting poverty, has an online shop that lets you to purchase charitable gifts, including an "education for girls" gift. Oxfam notes that purchasing this gift will help them "pressure governments to invest in girls’ education."
Join The HerStory Campaign
Global G.L.O.W. (Global Girls Leading our World) is a nonprofit international organization "working to accelerate girls’ greatness today so that they can build a better tomorrow," according to its website. Alongside LitWorld, a nonprofit that works to close the global literacy gap and share the power of stories, it started the HerStory Campaign, which helps set up after-school programs for girls in 23 different countries.
To give you an idea of how those programs work, the campaign's site explains, "We partner with local nonprofits to train mentors who guide girls through our unique curriculum designed to build confidence and cultivate modern literacy and self-expression skills."
In addition to promoting this initiative, Global G.L.O.W. is offering special activities that anyone can take part in to celebrate International Day of the Girl. Examples include having girls write Community Action pledges about how they can influence positive change, and asking them to imagine their own magazine cover, among other exercises. If you're interested, you can check out the organization's website for ways you can spread the word on social media as well.
Sponsor a Girl Through WomenOne
Support Girl Up
Girl Up, a campaign founded by the United Nations Foundation, helps girls in developing countries access education. You can use the organization's website to email to your Congressional representatives and ask them to support the Keeping Girls in Schools Act, a bill that focuses on making sure young girls are able to stay in school.
Donate To Girls Opportunity Alliance
Volunteer With Black Girls Code
According to Pew Research Center, only 9% of U.S. workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers are Black. Black Girls Code is a nonprofit that makes it easier for young Black women to learn programming and coding, and you can volunteer for the organization even if you don't have technical skills yourself.
She's The First
She's The First focuses on supporting girls in 11 countries who will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. If you want to help the organization, you can set up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook in support of their mission.
Learn & Raise Awareness
If you're not already familiar with the barriers that limit girls' access to education around the world, consider doing some research to learn more about the topic — and share your findings with others. As you learn more about the root causes of educational inequities, it can help inform how you discuss the topic with friends and family members. It also may help encourage others to take their own actions to support girls' education as well. This brief on educational barriers from Women Deliver is a good place to start your research.
As the UN emphasizes in its International Day of the Girl concept note, "investing in girls is investing in a better future that is equal for all – for girls themselves, for their families and for communities." And according to the UN, there's still much more work that needs to be done.