The Future Lies With Our Girls

Normally, my posts here are about my work, learning about my work, events related to my work and thoughts on my work. Today is different, sort of. I was asked by Tara Mohr to participate in a blog campaign highlighting and discussing The Girl Effect.

If you have not heard of The Girl Effect, visit their site, or better yet, check out the video below:

While in the midst of filming and conducting research for The Black Girl Project, I came across The Girl Effect and loved the overall mission and goal of changing the world by making it a better place for girls, particularly those in developing nations. At it’s core, The Girl Effect is international girl power!

The statistics, which can be found in the downloadable Girl Effect fact sheet, are daunting. For example:

  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • 75 percent of 15- to 24-year-olds living with HIV in Africa are female, up from 62 percent in 2001.
  • Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
  • Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.

What was even more interesting to me was that many of these statistics are very similar to those surrounding girls of color, particularly Black girls and girls from newly-immigrant families in the United States. But that can and and will change.

What The Girl Effect campaign does well is use social media (sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) to help disseminate information about girls around the world, while also being a catalyst for change. I see the discussion surrounding girls in developing nations as an amazing entry point to begin discussing the same issues, and implementing solutions right here in the US.

The important takeaway from The Girl Effect is that the future of the world lies within the growth and progress of girls everywhere. I had been feeling this way for some time and I when I came across the campaign, I was inspired even further. As someone who believes in helping to empower women and girls, and as someone who has given to women in developing nations via microlending, I was inspired, because of The Girl Effect, to do more.

So I did.

I took my film and created a grassroots organization to help empower the young women in my community, Brooklyn; whose illiteracy, pregnancy and HIV rates among young Black women and girls rivals some developing nations.

The Girl Effect campaign is having a global reach that is growing daily. It doesn’t have to cost you a thing to help spread the word or mobilize on behalf of the effort. All it take is your time, patience and willingness to help. Here’s a link to some resources to help you get started and hopefully you can begin to create change both globally and locally.

If you’ve given to the campaign or have been inspired by it in some way, write about it and link your story here by November 20th, International Children’s Day. We can change the world, one girl at a time.