Many experts believe that education is a sustainable solution to poverty, specifically education of girls. Why girls? (ummm because we rock!)
Recent studies corroborate what Camfed has observed and fostered on the ground: girls who complete primary and secondary education tend to marry later, have smaller families and earn significantly higher wages. Girls’ education has been posited as a “vaccine” against HIV/AIDS, with comparative analysis of data from Zambia, for example, of non-educated and educated women showing a substantial difference in infection rates. Educating a girl changes her destiny, as well as those of her future children, and ensures that she can contribute to the economic life of her community. (UN Chronicle)
A child born to a literate mother is 50 percent more likely to survive to age five. And, providing girls with one extra year of schooling beyond the average can boost their wages by up to 20 percent. (CEDPA)
Mortenson’s belief, one shared by many scholars and human-rights organizations, is that educating women is the best investment for community sustainability. Studies have shown that a fifth-grade education level for girls results in decreased birth rates and infant mortality, and increases the strength of the social structure. (IKAT)
What can you do? Support organizations that focus on girls education, make sure the girls in your life value their education, or considering working with children in your area that have less education opportunities.
Here are some programs helping with education in developing countries:
Central Asia Institute (I highly recommend the founder’s book Three Cups of Tea)
If you know of any wonderful organizations building schools for girls, please feel free to share in the comments section.