March 22nd is World Water Day, a day to bring attention to the over 600 million people in the world without access to clean water. Access to clean water and sanitation are key to breaking the cycle of extreme poverty, and women and girls are the most highly impacted when lacking those basic human necessities.
In many areas girls miss out on school because they spend most of their day walking miles to collect water for their families. Girls who do make it to school often drop out once menstruation begins due to lack of facilities. UNICEF reports that approximately 6,000 children die of water related diseases every day, most under the age of five.
Photo: Elizabeth Atalay
WaterAid is the leading international nonprofit in the clean water, sanitation and hygiene sector, and has called on Congress to oppose the proposed 28.7% cut to funding for the US Agency for International Development and Department of State, proposed in the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Blueprint. WaterAid states that this action is “out of line with America’s priorities, US moral leadership, national security interests, and the needs of poor and vulnerable people worldwide.” I stand with WaterAid in calling on Congress to fully fund international assistance.
The recently launched WaterAid #GirlStrong campaign takes aim at the inequalities faced disproportionately by women and girls who live without clean water and proper sanitation. Access to clean water opens up access to better health, and more time for education. It is estimated that somewhere around 260 billion dollars are lost from the global economy due to reduced productivity and health care costs from illnesses linked to lack of clean drinking water, poor sanitation, and hygiene. Watch the video below to see more reasons why access to clean water needs to be a priority for all.
“Women make up half our entire population. When they’re held back, half the world’s potential goes unrealized. But when women and girls are empowered, we’re not just better by half. The world is twice as good.”
As we reach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and world leaders set forth a new set of global goals leading up to 2030, it has become increasingly clear that women and girls need to be at the center of development initiatives. Why women and girls? As Betsy Teutsch points out in her new book 100 under $100 One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women It has to do with what is referred to as The Girl Effect. This refers to the fact that when you educate girls they tend to marry later, in turn give birth later, and are able to better contribute to the economy. Research has also shown that when women have economic power, more of those resources are invested back into her family than when men do. Women are also more likely to educate their own daughters. This means the next generation will also contribute more effectively to the nation’s economy. Read the rest of this entry →
This week at the Washington D.C. Google headquarters I will be attending ONE’s 2014 AYA Summit . Co-hosted by ONE Girls & Women and Google the AYA Summit is an exciting opportunity to meet some of the amazing speakers and attendees, as well as catch up with friends and colleagues. It is always inspiring to be in an environment surrounded by change-makers approaching the world we live in with optimistic problem solving and ideas.
The word AYA is an African Adinkra symbol from Ghana for fern that represents endurance, resourcefulness and growth. A beautiful symbol for the AYA Summit that will highlight the progress and challenges that girls and women face in developing countries. In the fight to eliminate extreme poverty improving the lives of girls and women is essential.
When girls and women are given the necessary education and tools, they can be change-makers within their families and communities. Through a series of talks, panels, visuals, and demonstrations, the summit will explore what it means to be born female in Africa, and what we, working together with our African partners, can do to make sure that all girls and women reach their potential. The summit will bring together leaders from the non-profit, government, private sector and celebrity arenas.- ONE Girls & Women Read the rest of this entry →
The U.N. has declared October 11th as The International Day of The Girl. We live in a world where some of us can take for granted the rights of our daughters. While in other areas, girls live in oppression and subjugation. In Pakistan, just the other day, a 14 year old girl was shot for speaking up about girls rights to education. When watching the documentary Half The Sky last week, one of my favorite points made was that to educate a girl, is to educate a community. By excluding their girls from the education process, a nation is really cheating itself out of half of its full potential. Just imagine the possibilities if these countries educated their girls along with the boys. Only then can a community truly rise to its full potential.
On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
For its first observance, this year’s Day will focus on child marriage, which is a fundamental human rights violation and impacts all aspects of a girl’s life. Child marriage denies a girl of her childhood, disrupts her education, limits her opportunities, increases her risk to be a victim of violence and abuse, jeopardizes her health and therefore constitutes an obstacle to the achievement of nearly every Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the development of healthy communities.-UN.org
Click here to learn how you can help to empower girls around the world. With the support of the world behind them, I cannot wait to see how our girls around the globe will change the world, and what they will accomplish!
Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.