From Cairo to Beijing, offering quality and universal education to young girls promotes progress for society as a whole. Carla Koppell of the United States Agency for International Development, better known as USAID, even called female education a “silver bullet” for empowerment and progress. To better understand the far-reaching effects of a few books and a classroom, here are the top 10 reasons why female education is important.
- Increased Literacy: Of the 163 million illiterate youth across the globe, nearly 63 percent are female. Offering all children education will prop up literacy rates, pushing forward development in struggling regions.
- Human Trafficking: Women are most vulnerable to trafficking when they are undereducated and poor, according to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking. Through providing young girls with opportunities and fundamental skills, this billion-dollar industry can be significantly undermined.
- Political Representation: Across the globe, women are underrepresented as voters and restricted from political involvement. The United Nations Women’s programmes on leadership and participation suggests that civic education, training and all around empowerment will ease this gap.
- Thriving Babies: According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, children of educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of five. Foreign aid for schoolhouses and curriculum development could greatly benefit the East African country of Burundi, where nearly 16,000 children die per year.
- Safe Sex: A girl who completes primary school is three times less likely to contract HIV. With these statistics in mind, The World Bank calls education a “window of hope” in preventing the spread of AIDS among today’s children.
- Later Marriage: As suggested by the United Nations Population Fund, in underdeveloped countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching the age of 18. In a region where a girl receives seven or more years of education, the wedding date is delayed by four years.
- Smaller Families: Increased participation in school reduces fertility rates over time. In Mali, women with secondary education or higher have an average of three children. Counterparts with no education have an average of seven children.
- Income Potential: Education also empowers a woman’s wallet through boosting her earning capabilities. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, a single year of primary education has shown to increase a girl’s wages later in life by 20 percent.
- Thriving GDP: Gross domestic product also soars when both girls and boys are being offered educational opportunities. When 10 percent more women attend school, GDP increases by three percent on average.
- Poverty Reduction: When women are provided with equal rights and equal access to education, they go on to participate in business and economic activity. Increased earning power and income combat against current and future poverty through feeding, clothing and providing for entire families.
The sustainability and progress of all regions depend on the success of women across the globe. As President Obama said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, “The future must not belong to those who bully women. It must be shaped by girls who go to school and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons.”
– Lauren Stepp
Of the many tragic legacies that the civil war in Rwanda have had for the country, the effect of the conflict on Rwandan agriculture has developed in unexpected ways. A report from phys.org showed that during the civil war, historical climate data were significantly compromised. As a result, farmers have faced increased risk of crop failures due to droughts, flooding, and other damaging weather patterns.
The Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project aims to bolster Rwandan agriculture by filling in gaps in Rwanda’s climate data records and disseminating meteorological data to farmers, according to a report from the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS).
The report goes on to explain that this project will expand upon elements of the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) approach, which is already being implemented in eight African countries. ENACTS connects satellite data with on-the-ground station observation from Rwanda’s National Meteorological Agency (Meteo-Rwanda), and provides to farmers the information gathered therefrom via “maprooms.” These maprooms are publicly accessible websites providing dynamically updated information on weather patterns such as temperature and rainfall, according to the Meteo-Rwanda website.
Furthermore, the project builds upon the Participatory Integrated Climate Services (PICSA) approach, which entails integrating NGOs and agricultural extension staff with local farming communities. With easy access to climate data, Meteo-Rwanda’s maprooms will expedite this process by giving intermediaries more accurate and timely information about the ares where they will need to function.
According to the CCAFS, the project aims to provide climate data to one million farmers.
Given the importance of Rwandan agriculture in the local economy, this project represents an important step forward in repairing the damage of the civil war. According to phys.org, agriculture accounts for one third of Rwanda’s GDP, and eight out of 10 Rwandans are employed in agriculture. Thus, softening the impact of flooding and drought will provide significant economic benefits the country.
– Peter Della-Rocca
Humanitarian aid organizations provide various employment opportunities for any individual seeking to assist nations and communities that experience poverty, war, natural disasters and other conflicts. However, once you figure out that you want to do something it can still be difficult to determine the right humanitarian job that matches your skill set. We have put together some humanitarian careers to help you find your path.
- Field Officer- The field officer is the first line of defense in an aid organization. They work directly with aid beneficiaries to determine their needs, determine any developing trends in the response and gather data for statistics.
- Information Officer (I.O.)- The I.O. shares the organization’s activities and achievements internally and with the outside world. Other responsibilities can include preparing and disseminating press releases, appeals, documents and briefings.
- Camp Manager- Managers coordinate the overall humanitarian activity within camps for refugees and internally displaced persons. They also help create self-governance structures that make decisions on how the camps will be organized and prioritize the humanitarian interventions.
- Disaster Risk Reduction Specialist (DRRS)- DRRS’s help communities prepare for and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters. They help create early warning systems and risk reduction measures for vulnerable countries. DRRS’s can be engineers, architects, geologists and social scientists.
- Food Security Specialist- A food security specialist identifies populations that are at risk of food shortages, develop monitoring systems to track their progress, and help create channels for food distribution. It helps to be knowledgeable of global food security issues, especially since this role may require coordination with government officials and affected populations.
- Health Professional- Health professionals such as physicians, surgeons, nurses, midwives, anesthesiologists, nutritionists, lab technicians and others are all in great need during emergency situations. Along with the Field Officer, health professionals are on the ground in the disaster or conflict area.
- Logistician- a logistician delivers humanitarian supplies and services where and when they are needed during an organization’s response. Various positions within this category can require the management of purchasing, importing, transferring, tracking and deployment of supplies.
- Protection Officer (P.O.)- P.O.’s are tasked with keeping affected populations safe from any human rights violations. They intervene in areas of child protection, gender-based violence, housing, land and property issues as well as issues concerning access to justice systems.
- Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene- These individuals are responsible for providing clean water, arranging for safe disposal of waste and educating affected populations about sanitation practices. Roles related to this field generally require engineering degrees.
- Program Director- The program director makes sure the organization’s priorities and mandates for work are adapted to local conditions and achieved. This is the highest position within a humanitarian organization and requires several years of management experience.
Humanitarian aid offers a wide variety of career choices for those who want to use their skills in an impactful and positive way. Within each field, there are several related job opportunities at all levels of skill. It is important to identify your skills and interests before pursuing a particular organization.
– Sunny Bhatt
There are several types of democracies, and here we will explain what a parliamentary democracy is by comparing it to a presidential democracy, which we have in the United States.
In short, a parliamentary democracy is a system of government in which citizens elect representatives to a legislative parliament to make the necessary laws and decisions for the country. This parliament directly represents the people.
In a presidential democracy, the leader is called a President, and he or she is elected by citizens to lead a branch of government separate from the legislative branch. If you remember back to government class, you will remember that the United States has three branches of the government: the executive, the judicial, and the legislative. The President leads the executive branch of government.
In a parliamentary democracy, you have a Prime Minister, who is first elected as a member of parliament, then elected Prime Minister by the other members of the parliamentary legislature. However, the Prime Minister remains a part of the legislature. The legislative branch makes the laws, and thus the Prime Minister has a hand in law-making decisions. The Prime Minister works directly with other people in the legislature to write and pass these laws.
In our presidential democracy, we still have a legislature, but we also have a president. He is separate from the legislature, so although he works with them, it is not as direct as if he were a Prime Minister. The laws that the legislature wants to pass must first go through the president; he can sign them into being or he can veto them. The President can go to the legislative branch and suggest laws, but they ultimately write them for his approval.
Furthermore, in parliamentary systems, the legislature has the right to dismiss a Prime Minister at any time if they feel that he or she is not doing the job as well as expected. This is called a “motion of no confidence,” and is not as much of a drawn out process. In the US, impeachment is an extensive, formal process in which an official is accused of doing something illegal.
Some countries with a parliamentary system are constitutional monarchies, which still have a king and queen. A few examples of these are the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Japan.
It is important to remember that both of these systems of government are democracies. Ultimately, the citizens who vote have the voice.
– Alycia Rock
Here in the U.S. when disasters are predicted and do strike, such as natural disasters and droughts, the government prepares and provides aid to people who need it.
Many villages and communities in developing countries do not have backup plans when it comes to shelter, food and money if economical, natural or health shocks should occur. In addition, with the increase of changing climate, villages are in need of training to adapt as the world around them changes.
A non-resilient village experiencing drought would most likely react as follows: less rain means fewer, if any, crops, which in turn makes it difficult to feed livestock such as cows.
Underfed cows will produce less milk and families may be forced to sell livestock and eat less. This causes malnutrition as well as illness to become more common, further weakening the resilience of an already ill-prepared village.
Another shock that a non-resilient village is not prepared for would be the breaking of a water pump. No one in the village knows how to maintain, fix or buy new parts for the pump.
Women and young girls are now forced to walk many miles a day to retrieve water, usually unsanitary, for the village to survive on. The results of this are not only diarrheal diseases which will cause malnutrition, but an increase in the possibility of attacks and rape on the women and girls.
Take the same two scenarios from above and re-imagine them with villages that have received resilience training.
When a drought is occurring in a resilient village, farmers will use their training, specific to their villages, to begin implementing practices to help. These practices could include planting crops in pits so that they receive rainwater run-off or planting trees to protect the soil.
There will be emergency stores of animal food and grain, and mothers understand that breastfeeding during normal and difficult times can help protect their babies against malnutrition.
When a water pump breaks in a resilient village the group placed in charge of its upkeep when it was installed will pull on specific funds saved for this occurrence. This team of villagers will be knowledgeable about the pump.
So, they will be able to find the problems and report and buy the parts needed for the repair. There will be no need to sacrifice women and children’s active roles in society, including a proper education.
These scenarios and others, put forth by Concern Worldwide, show both visually and textually the reality and the difference between a resilient and non-resilient village.
It is important that villages be taught emergency and preventative measures as well as how to adapt to a changing environment and different situations in order to ensure their survival and independence.
– Drusilla Gibbs
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed leaders from all over the world in September, calling on them to join him in ending poverty.
“Our aim is clear,” he said during the 70th UN General Assembly meeting. “Our mission is possible. And our destination is in our sights: an end to extreme poverty by 2030, a life of peace and dignity for all.”
Ki-moon proposed a new UN framework for addressing global issues. The new 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a continuation of the eight Millennium Development Goals introduced in 2000. The 17 goals focus on the UN’s agenda for the next 15 years.
The new framework, he said, “weaves the goals together, with human rights, the rule of law and women’s empowerment as crucial parts of an integrated whole.”
Poverty was a top priority during the 70th UN general assembly. President Barack Obama, among many other world leaders, voiced concern about global poverty, citing urgency and opportunity at this year’s meeting.
Obama’s speech drew attention to the importance of collective diplomacy between nations on issues of poverty and economic inequality. He commended the gathering of nations for securing, as he said, “a global economy that has lifted more than a billion people from poverty.”
At the same time Obama warned that much is left to be done, saying “the march of human progress never travels in a straight line,” and that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.”
Obama summarized the UN meeting with a sense of hope. He emphasized progress requiring “a sustained commitment to our people — so farmers can feed more people; so entrepreneurs can start a business without paying a bribe; so young people have the skills they need to succeed in this modern, knowledge-based economy.”
Obama and Ki-moon’s speeches were preliminary descriptions of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals project proposal. The proposal creates a novel structure of how the UN concentrates on global issues.
The UN Sustainable Development agenda outlined problems nations face in the next 15 years. The UN document acknowledges global issues but also envisions, as it says, “a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all.”
The document both analyzes challenges and presents solutions.
Nations are meeting at “a time of immense opportunity,” the document says in its message. “Within the past generation, hundreds of millions of people have emerged from extreme poverty.”
The 17 development goals for 2030 aim to make the dimensions of the environment, economics and government sustainable. Human rights are at the forefront of the goals, with the alleviation of poverty and curable diseases major points.
“What counts now is translating promises on paper into change on the ground,” Ki-moon said, concluding his speech. “We owe this and much more to the vulnerable, the oppressed, the displaced and the forgotten people in our world.”
– Michael Hopek
USAID tasked Palladium with implementing Health Policy Plus (HP+), which is a five-year $185 million project that focuses on strengthening health policy, financing, governance and advocacy in developing countries.
The initiation of Palladium Health Policy Plus is in perfect timing with the establishment of the new Global Sustainable Health Goal (SDGs).
It directly focuses on Goal 3, which is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” and goal 17: “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.”
Palladium is greatly experienced in leading initiatives on social and economic development. They have led projects in 84 countries in collaboration with the U.S. Government and World Bank.
Ed Abel, president of Palladium’s U.S. business unit, said: “We are grateful to USAID in recognizing Palladium’s leadership in bringing positive impact to its global effort to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies through health policy and financing.”
HP+ builds upon the previous Health Policy Project (HPP) that ended on Sep. 29, 2015. HPP was active from 2010 to 2015 and was implemented in 48 countries worldwide.
The USAID-funded HP+ was initiated on Aug. 28, 2015. Palladium plans on using the following “four pillars” to achieve success: International Development, Strategy Execution Consulting, Research Development and Training and finally Impact Investing.
These approaches will also take into account gender equality and equity issues, family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH), maternal and child health (MCH) and HIV and AIDS.
Palladium will be working in collaboration with Avenir Health, Futures Group Global Outreach, Plan International USA, Population Reference Bureau, RTI international, The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and ThinkWell.
Suneeta Sharma, HP+ Director, commented: “We’re looking forward to collaborating with USAID, health ministries and civil society actors worldwide to foster more equitable, sustainable, rights-based health services, supplies and delivery systems using evidence-based approaches for decision making and resource allocation.”
– Marie Helene Ngom