The gap between these two perspectives is profound, with one vision providing a path of dependence and another empowering individuals to awaken with a new sense of self-esteem. The rewards are different too.
If you can look past their present circumstances and see their potential, the outcome eventually becomes unforgettable — the day you know these individuals don't need your help anymore is the day they become too busy helping themselves, their families, and their communities instead. The only question that remains is how many can be reached today in order to transform the world tomorrow.
The Girl Effect is a bold idea to empower girls to improve their communities.
Five years ago, the Nike Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation and Coalition For Adolescent Girls joined a handful of organizations that give young women a chance to make change. They even go a step further. They directly help lift these girls out of poverty and encourage more nonprofit organizations to develop more programs for girls and make other programs inclusive.
The goals are straightforward. When girls receive education, health care and economic investments, they have a better chance to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. But delivering on this idea isn't always easy. By the time more girls who live in poverty turn 12, their futures are beyond their control.
In some areas of the world, a 12-year-old girl is likely to face marriage by the time she is 14. She is likely to be pregnant by 15. And if she survives childbirth, she may turn to prostitution to feed her family and acquire AIDS/HIV in the process. And for some, as unimaginable as it sounds, it could be worse.
The Girl Effect aims to change that by ensuring a 12-year-old girl will see a doctor regularly by the age of 14. She stays in school at 15 instead of dropping out to raise a family. And by the time she is 18, she can use her education to become self-reliant and make choices for herself.
But in order to make something like this possible you have to see these individual girls differently.
While there are many ways The Girl Effect has influenced organizations, some of the work they do is direct through The Girl Hub. This collaboration between the United Kingdom's Department For International Development (DFID) and the Nike Foundation bring their voices to the forefront of policy, develop tools to inspire them and influence decision makers to implement better programs.
Such efforts are then concentrated in countries like Rwanda, Nigeria and Ethiopia, where girls receive family planning information, health care and education and safe places for support and inspiration. The differences even the smallest changes can make are profound. The change is real.
"Changing their aspirations and those of their communities, building their confidence and giving them access to information and networks, is critical," said Lindi Hlanze, an economic advisor for DFID. "We need to look at all of these things throughout the life cycle of a girl — it's too late to wait until they're adults."
At the same time, the cost of dependence is eliminated. To help put this into perspective, the lifetime cost for girls who drop out of school is estimated at $704 million in the United Kingdom and $29.6 billion in the United States, annually. In some impoverished countries, the costs are proportionately more and nearly impossible to reverse.
The Girl Effect By The Nike Foundation Is A Liquid Hip Good Will Pick.
At least once a month, Liquid Hip highlights good will efforts undertaken by people with big hearts. We don't score them. That belongs to you.
We chose The Girl Effect because it makes sense. If the cycle of poverty can be broken early enough with eduction and resources, countries can immediately reduce the cost of dependency and empower millions of young women who will make contributions to their families, communities and countries for generations to come. Simply put, it gives them the chance to turn victims into heroes.
There are two ways to give. You can provide for The Girl Effect Fund or any number of specific projects that have been developed by the initiative. All the funding is collected by Global Giving. Specific projects include programs in Cambodia, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Kenya, Myanmar, Sudan, Thailand, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.