Girls Malawi Education
Girls receive education in Malawi with focused accommodations and investments that improve their quality of life. The greatest obstacles girls face in education are the high rates of child marriages and pregnancies in Malawi.

This month, the United States government announced plans to invest $90 million for the construction of secondary school classrooms for girls to further their education and become successful. The five-year investment is hoped to reduce high HIV rates among Malawian youths and delay marriage.

According to the UNICEF State of the World’s Children report, half of Malawian girls marry before age 18. Girls vulnerable to child marriages and early pregnancies most likely attain a low level of education. Only 45% of girls remain in school past eighth grade. While girls outnumber boys in primary school enrollment, girls are underrepresented in secondary schools. As of 2015, boys outnumber girls by about 23,000 out of 360,000 secondary school students.

The practice of child marriages continues a cycle of poverty and increases girls’ risk of suffering violence, abuse, and maternal mortality, which constitutes 30% of maternal deaths in the country.

In February 2017, Malawi adopted a constitutional amendment that raises the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 years of age for both girls and boys. First Lady Gertrude Mutharika appealed to stakeholders to ensure girls receive education in Malawi and are protected from abuse.

Founder of The Beautify Malawi Trust and Girls’ Education Initiative, Mutharika supports girls across the country to become educated and empowered women. According to Mutharika, gender-based violence in marriage is prevalent because women do not further their education, and since they are not financially independent, they tolerate the abuse.

Beautify Malawi constructs girls’ hostels to alleviate the challenges girls face walking long distances to school. “It is our hope that in future the girls we are seeing today will become nurses, doctors and lawyers,” said Mutharika in May as she commissioned a K120 Million girls hostel at Emvuyeni Community Day Secondary School in Mzimba district. The hostels give girls who had dropped out due to early pregnancies or child marriages the opportunity to return to school. Knowing they are protected and supported, girls choose school and avoid abuse and violence.

As Malawi and foreign aid invest money and resources in improving the quality of life for girls, girls receive education in Malawi, are empowered and gain greater opportunities in their future.

Sarah Dunlap

Photo: Flickr

Girl Love
Girl Love began as a social media campaign by YouTube creator Lilly Singh in December 2015. Singh, along with other successful women like Grace Helbig and Lindsey Sterling, encouraged young girls to spread love, instead of hate, by complimenting other girls rather than insulting them.

Singh’s original video received more than one million views. Within a month of being uploaded, all the profits made from the video were donated to the Malala Fund, an organization which supports education for young women. After a successful first campaign, Singh aimed to do more for women’s issues and decided to take Girl Love further by starting her own fundraising campaign for girls’ education.

Singh partnered with WE charity, part of the ME to WE organization, a for-profit social enterprise that empowers people to work together to change the world. The WE charity donates 90 percent of its earnings to developing villages to help grow them into sustainable communities. For the Girl Love campaign, ME to WE created the Rafiki bracelet, outsourcing the labor for the creation of the bracelets to Kenya, and now sells the bracelets on the ME to WE online store.

Singh has been most invested in this project, saying how the Rafiki bracelets represent “not only being passionate about Girl Love but doing something about it.”

Today, the Girl Love campaign is empowering women to go to school and helping to build sustainable communities. 14,000 women in Kenya have jobs hand-crafting the Rafiki bracelets. These women use this income to get an education or to send their daughters to school and to afford necessities such as clothes and food.

When Singh visited Kenya and met some of the working women that make the bracelets, she was inspired by the impact that she had created. She spoke of how many people imagine that the problem is too big to fix, but how “when you come here and see the school and you see the mamas making these bracelets, and you hear them say, ‘my daughter goes to school because I’m making theses bracelets,’ then you know the problem is actually not too big to fix if you just start to fix it.”

Deanna Wetmore

Photo: Flickr

4 Girls' Education Organizations That You Should Know AboutEducation inequality is an issue all around the globe, with many countries showing a disparity in literacy rates between men and women. The 1990 World Declaration on Education for All mandates gender equality and education as essential elements of an advanced world, but insufficient action has been taken to develop education systems according to these standards. Since then, many female-run, nonprofit girls’ education organizations have sprung up to create opportunities for women in developing countries.

The plight of many uneducated women in developing countries is a woeful one. Many face poverty, female genital mutilation and early marriage. Access to education opens doors for women, empowering them to provide for themselves and their families and enabling them to participate in politics and the working world. Below are four girls’ education organizations working actively to improve women’s lives.

4 Girls’ Education Organizations That You Should Know About

  1. Educate Girls: Educate Girls, an organization based in India, works with government schools to develop educational models and access in “educationally backward” areas of the country. Founded by Safeena Husain in 2007, the nonprofit seeks to grow and maintain enrollment rates among girls, partnering with organizations like UNICEF to address issues in specific school districts.The ultimate goal is to provide a quality education to 2.5 million girls, that they may acquire the skills and tools to participate in the workforce as adults.
  2. She’s the First: She’s the First (STF) was founded by Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt in 2009 to help girls in developing countries complete their education. Based in New York City, its team helps girls to graduate high school by helping to cover tuition and boarding costs, as well as offering individual guidance and providing essential resources like uniforms and medicine.STF selects girls to support based on financial need and academic potential. It currently hosts 881 scholars, who, along with their mentors, make up a dynamic network of strong and supportive women.
  3. Camfed: Camfed, short for “Campaign for Female Education,” aims to reduce global poverty via education for girls. Founded by Ann Cotton in 1993, the nonprofit concentrates on rural regions of sub-Saharan Africa and provides support to individuals in need. Nearly two million students in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, and Ghana have attended school with Camfed’s help.Staunchly apolitical, the organization partners with government ministries and other nonprofits to create resources and awareness. In the long term, Camfed hopes to spark systemic change by molding strong female leaders.
  4. Forum for African Women Educationalists: The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) is a pan-African nonprofit that encourages policy changes to make learning environments more accessible to girls. Partnering with government and private organizations across the continent, FAWE works to create community awareness and ensure equal treatment between boys and girls in school.FAWE has introduced a variety of educational models since its inception, including a 2007 gender-responsive pedagogy model tailored for teacher training colleges in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Tanzania. Their central objective is to seamlessly integrate women into the social and political fabric of their countries.

While there remains room for gender equality in schools to improve, these girls’ education organizations have made significant strides in creating access and increasing the quality of schooling for girls, an achievement that serves to develop the world as a whole.

Madeline Forwerck

Photo: Flickr

In Tanzania, a sub-Saharan African country known for its national parks, diverse game and scenic wilderness, approximately two million young people were illiterate in 2011. Girls’ education in Tanzania, in particular, is an issue, as both adolescent and adult women demonstrate lower literacy rates than their male counterparts.

In 2012, literacy among women aged 15 to 24 was just 72.8 percent, while literacy among men in the same age group sat at 76.5 percent. The disparity becomes statistically significant among adults is even wider among adults: 75.5 percent of men and only 60.8 percent of women are literate.

In the country’s poorest areas, it is especially difficult for women to support themselves and their families, let alone further their education. In the northwest Tanzanian village of Kitenga, for instance, there is no running water or electricity, disease rates are high and scarce access to education, all of which are obstacles for girls who want to learn.

Enter the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (IHSA), an organization committed to improving girls’ education in Tanzania. After partnering with the Girls’ Education Collaborative (GEC), which offers financial and logistical support, they launched the Kitenga Village Project. This project aims to raise the community from poverty by establishing basic resources, and, in January, it achieved its central objective when it opened the Kitenga School for Girls to educate girls in the community.

The school opened not only to encourage literacy but also to combat female genital mutilation and early marriage, both problems more likely to be faced by adolescent Tanzanian women without an education.

Currently, enrollment at the school stands at 59 girls from a variety of backgrounds. Having won the full support of the government, the GEC and the IHSA intend to accommodate a larger student body in the future. Plans for expansion include a library and housing for 1,500 boarding students.

The Kitenga School for Girls’ central vision is to provide girls from destitute families with an exceptional range of knowledge and skills. Students will have access to career and leadership coaching, health studies and life skills training, as well as a safe and secure environment.

Though women in poverty continue to face gendered hardships, access to schools creates greater opportunities. With the innovative efforts of organizations like the GEC and the IHSA, girls’ education in Tanzania is likely to continue growing.

Madeline Forwerck

Photo: Flickr

Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest and most powerful champion for girls’ education, may soon be attending one of the most prestigious schools in the world: the University of Oxford. Back in March of this year, Yousafzai announced that she had received a conditional offer (based on her A Level grades) from Oxford and that she plans to attend the University. She plans to study philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), and work on her organization, the Malala Fund. To commemorate this outstanding individual, here are 12 facts about her life, her achievements and her organization.

12 Facts About Malala Yousafzai

  1. At the young age of 12, when her hometown of Swat was held by the Taliban in 2009, Yousafzai wrote for a BBC blog critiquing the hardline Islamic movement under a pseudonym, even while she and her father were receiving multiple death threats.
  2. Yousafzai was the first recipient of Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
  3. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a world-renowned social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop, nominated Malala Yousafzai for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011.
  4. Yousafzai was an international figure by now, and Taliban leaders voted among themselves to kill her. On October 9, 2012, Malala’s school bus was attacked by a gunman. He broke through the door and demanded to know where Yousafzai was. When some of the girls looked her way, she was shot in the head.
  5. Miraculously, the 15-year-old survived the attack. She was flown to Birmingham, U.K., for treatment. Her attack was condemned worldwide, and, after protests in Pakistan, more than 2 million people signed a right to education petition. The petition became a bill later ratified by the National Assembly, making it Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill.
  6. In 2013, Yousafzai and her father co-founded the Malala Fund, an organization that advocates at all political levels to ensure all girls complete 12 years of school.
  7. The Malala Fund currently has programs in Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria and in various countries for Syrian refugees.
  8. In Pakistan, a country with the second-largest number of girls not in school, the program focuses on getting more girls in school, building schools, providing materials (books, uniforms, etc.) and grants for secondary schooling.
  9. In Kenya, a country quickly evolving into its digital era, the Malala Fund works to ensure girls can take advantage of the technology trend.
  10. In Nigeria, the organization helps girls who have escaped from Boko Haram get an education.
  11. For Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, the organization opens new schools and funds educational programs in safe refugee camps.
  12. In October 2014, Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. At age 17, she is the award’s youngest recipient.


As Yousafzai continues to push for girls’ education around the globe, we should follow in her footsteps and do what we can do alleviate global poverty and ensure global education.

James Hardison

Photo: Flickr

Women around the world are working to end economic gender discrimination and poverty by advocating for girls’ access to education. These 10 women are among the many who are advocating for women’s rights through education.

10 Powerful Women Fighting for Girls’ Access to Education

  1. K. Zehra Arshad: K. Zehra Arshad is the national coordinator for the Pakistan Coalition for Education and serves on the Board of Directors for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). She has advocated for women’s rights for years through policy-making and fights gender disparity in schools to improve girls’ access to education.
  2. Michelle Bachelet: Michelle Bachelet is the president of Chile. At the beginning of her second term in 2014, she implemented a program for public education, influenced by her earlier role as executive director of U.N. Women. While serving at the U.N., she championed the Fund for Gender Equality, which offers grants to programs that provide women equal access to quality education. Bachelet believes that the key to girls’ economic opportunities is education.
  3. Rasheda Choudhury: Rasheda Choudhury is the Vice President of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE). GCE is an organization working to end the global education crisis through free, public education for all. She is also the Executive Director of the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), a group of more than a thousand educator networks and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Bangladesh. CAMPE has mobilized millions of people to join the fight for girls’ access to education. Choudhury is a journalist and an advocate for gender justice in education.
  4. Camilla Croso: Camilla Croso is the president of GCE and the coordinator of the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE). CLADE is a network of 15 national forums, eight regional Latin American groups and five international NGOs who work primarily in Latin America. Furthermore, Croso represents civil society as a member of countless U.N. organizations. Her primary focus is advocating for women’s rights to education in Latin America.
  5. Monique Fouilhoux: Monique Fouilhoux serves as the chairperson of GCE. An educator from France, Fouilhoux advocates for higher education and the impact of governments and NGOs on education for women.
  6. Julia Gillard: Julia Gillard served as Prime Minister of Australia before joining GPE as Chair of the Board. Gillard wants to strengthen global education systems for girls and bring equality into the classroom. She believes equal education will contribute to the end of poverty. Most recently, she announced GPE’s new Replenishment 2020 campaign, which will reach 870 million children in need of education.
  7. Graça Machel: Graça Machel is a philanthropist and activist for girls’ access to education and basic human rights. She founded the Graça Machel Trust to protect girls from childhood marriage and female genital mutilation. Machel believes that adolescent girls need to have the same educational opportunities as their male counterparts in order to contribute to the development of their communities.
  8. Michelle Obama: Michelle Obama served as the First Lady of the United States. In 2015 she launched the “Let Girls Learn” initiative. “Let Girls Learn” uses the aid of 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers to support community projects in developing countries that help girls go to school and stay in school.
  9. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is finishing her 10-year term as president of Liberia. During her presidency, she prioritized girls’ education and advocated for women’s rights. Additionally, Sirleaf’s work as president earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
  10. Malala Yousafzai: As a young teen, Malala Yousafzai defied Pakistani extremists and went to school, risking her life. Because of her bravery, she became an activist icon for girls’ education. Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. She also founded the Malala Fund, an organization that advocates for changing international, national and local policies and systems to give girls access to quality education.

Overall, the fight for girls’ access to education is key to ending poverty. These 10 women are pursuing groundbreaking strategies to implement equality into developing communities around the world.

Rachel Cooper

Photo: Flickr

Techno Girl is helping girls in South Africa access the education they need for successful careers. The initiative’s goal is to actively encourage girls to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields — also known as STEM fields. The initiative provides numerous programs to help participants reach their educational and career goals.

The program is geared towards girls in grades nine through 11, ages 15 to 18. It is part of the Girls and Boys Education Movement in South Africa and is sponsored by the country’s Department for Women, Children and People with Disabilities. It is also supported by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as well as numerous other public and private sector partners.

South African Girls Get Encouragement in STEM Education

South African students are notoriously disadvantaged in math and science. The proficiency of students in these subjects is very low compared to other countries. Furthermore, boys are traditionally much more involved in these areas of study. Girls are not encouraged to pursue STEM subjects, which ultimately impedes their long-term career opportunities. The program works to change this trend by providing girls with the resources to pursue a STEM career.

Techno Girl chooses participants from the most under-resourced schools in the country based on academic merit. Most participants, therefore, come from areas lacking educational and job opportunities to pursue their dreams. Techno Girl motivates these girls to continue to strive for the jobs they desire. The program improves the confidence of girls who would otherwise lack access to the resources they need to succeed in a STEM career.

The initiative offers opportunities for mentorship, shadowing and skills development in a variety of career paths. Many participants say job shadowing is an extremely beneficial opportunity for them, helping them prepare for jobs. Without shadowing, participants would have to seek out individuals employed in these fields first-hand to understand how they work.

Since it began in 2005, Techno Girl has helped more than 6,000 girls throughout South Africa. Many participants have gone on to receive scholarships for higher education as a result of the program. The initiative has seen tremendous results and has received widespread support. As it continues to grow, Techno Girl will provide unparalleled opportunities for girls interested in STEM careers in South Africa.

Lindsay Harris

Photo: Flickr

Code to Inspire Empowers Girls Through Education in Afghanistan
Fereshteh Forough’s all-female coding school, Code to Inspire, is transforming girls’ education in Afghanistan. By teaching computer literacy and web development skills, Code to Inspire enables and empowers women to join the workforce and achieve financial prosperity.

Years of Taliban rule left behind a national mindset that women should not work alongside men. Girls were prohibited from obtaining an education. Rather, a woman’s role was confined to household chores and child rearing. The success and even mere existence of CTI show the progress achieved since Taliban rule.

Currently, 85 percent of Afghan women are illiterate and have no formal education. Women make up only 16 percent of the country’s workforce. However, 80 percent of women have access to mobile technology. Code to Inspire is working to fill this void, promote girls’ education in Afghanistan, and provide opportunities for employment in the global tech industry.

With a median age of 18.6, Afghanistan’s extremely young population can only benefit from increasing the population of skilled workers. Code to Inspire seeks to realize the potential of these women and revolutionize the Afghan workforce.

“We wanted to show them their value and empower them to break down traditional barriers,” says Forough.

Currently, 50 students are enrolled at Code to Inspire. The program is free of charge and teaches elementary web design, gaming technology, and mobile app development.

Forough’s goal is to change society’s attitude toward working women, starting on a personal and family level. The organization has won the support of the students’ fathers and brothers and has maintained good relations with local communities. By encouraging girls’ education in Afghanistan and teaching applicable skills, Code to Inspire is empowering students to financially succeed, demonstrate their independence, and alter the perception of women in school and the workforce.

Learning to code vastly expands employment opportunities for Afghan women. Not only are students qualified to join the national tech industry, but the international one as well. Engaging with the global tech industry broadens the students’ perspectives and allows them to earn higher wages. The program’s learning outcomes expose students to the growing international tech industry and expand their realm of career possibilities.

The students’ achievements thus far are promising. These projects are not only bringing success to the individual women, but to Afghanistan as well. Students have developed a mobile app for restaurant deliveries, online platforms to promote tourism to Afghanistan and web pages for international clients. Another student wants to become a web developer to provide support to local businesses so they are not forced to turn to other countries for tech assistance.

Code to Inspire is gaining national and international recognition and respect. The government began supporting CTI and related programs, and CTI won Google’s 2016 RISE Award for non-profits promoting tech education. By promoting girls’ education in Afghanistan, Code to Inspire empowers women to become self-reliant, expands their employment opportunities and broadens their international perspective.

McKenna Lux

Photo: Flickr

Circle of SisterhoodCircle of Sisterhood is an organization comprised of college-educated, American sorority women working together to provide educational opportunities for girls and women around the world.

Circle of Sisterhood was founded in 2010 by Ginny Carroll. She was inspired by the best-selling book, Half the Sky, which focuses on women’s education around the globe. The Circle of Sisterhood website quotes the aforementioned book which states, “one study after another has shown that educating girls is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty. Schooling is often a precondition for girls and women to stand up against injustice, and for women to be integrated into the economy.”

Carroll saw the Greek community as perfect volunteers for her mission as “they’re already organized, they already understand philanthropy, they already give millions of dollars a year to domestic work… the vision was, this was a way for all sorority women… to have a global effect.”

Sorority chapters on college campuses around the nation who choose to participate as volunteers for Circle of Sisterhood raise funds to build schools and create scholarships for girls and women around the globe. Chapters may opt to host a bake sale, trivia night, or any other fundraising event to collect donations from fellow students. Many campuses even host screenings of the documentary version of Half the Sky to inspire more women to volunteer.

According to Circle of Sisterhood website, “as college educated women, we know the value of achieving an education… every girl in the world deserves the opportunity to go to school.” Considering that only around seven percent of the world’s population currently holds a college degree, many sorority women feel it is their duty to try to spread their educational good fortune.

As of 2015, Circle of Sisterhood had already impacted 17 countries and built five new schools, such as Ethiopia, Kenya and others. The organization has also raised almost $500,000 in grants.

After six years, sorority women involved in Circle of Sisterhood have continued to show their gratitude for their own educations by helping other women and girls to achieve the same.

Carrie Robinson

Photo: Flickr

Megan Cayten and her business partners Sumana Setty and Amisha Patel started the Catrinka Project as an avenue to help young girls in their community. The project is brilliant in its simplicity.

“Buy a bag. Employ a woman. Educate a girl.”

The project sells fashionable bags and purses that are made by women in developing countries. The sale of each bag provides education and life mentoring for adolescent girls.

Cayten founded the project because of the cycle of sustainable development that it can create in many communities. When women earn their own income, they can afford to send their daughters to school offering them greater opportunities in life.

It is a well-established fact that women reinvest twice as much of their income in their families and communities as men. In addition, the attendance of girls is likely to avoid child marriage.

In addition to the sale of bags, The Catrinka Project has an ambassadors program for women entrepreneurs who want to become part of the sales network.

The International Center for Research on Women spotlighted Cayten and her project, which falls in line with goals to empower and educate women and girls.

Projects that are able to empower communities locally in a sustainable manner are the most effective for development goals. With the world so connected today, it is possible for communities to work together in this form of empowerment.

It is critical that we do not view those living in developing countries as producers of goods to be consumed from abroad. Instead, when we view the relationship as an equitable partnership, there is potential for lasting positive change for women and girls.

Iliana Lang

Sources: Catrinka Project, ICRW
Photo: Cloud Front