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Girls Through Education
While 91% of children around the world go to primary school, only 50% of refugee children are as lucky. These odds are startling, especially considering that 69 million girls remain out of school worldwide and that this number is expected to increase due to the refugee crisis. UNESCO plans to change that.

“Changing the World of Refugee Girls Through Education” is the aim of UNESCO’s new partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Save the Children, showcased in late January. Its main goal is to raise awareness of the extreme vulnerability of refugee girls and to secure solutions for their future through education and skills development.

The project is geared toward Syrian and Jordanian women who struggle to continue basic education or pursue work opportunities. The partners are working to help develop the life, business and vocational skills of these women, all while encouraging them to share their experiences.

The program, which is based in Jordan, offers refugee girls innovative job search techniques and helps them develop skills required to gain employment. In addition to all this, UNESCO helps them find opportunities in today’s global marketplace. If needed, one-on-one psychological counseling is also provided.

Schools also play an important role in identifying refugee children at risk of abuse, sexual and gender-based violence as well as forced recruitment. Even more so, they can help connect them with appropriate services, according to a recent UNESCO report.

Classrooms can also act as a place of transformation for many kids. Becoming educated can help one become a well-rounded person and gain a foundation of learning, which is a big step in helping one stand on his or her own feet.

This is even more important for refugee girls. Educating these girls empowers them and reduces the number of girls getting married at a very young age. This is a massive problem for girls in developing countries, where one in three girls is married before the age of 18.

Solving such a problem requires commitment, time and effort. This is just what the UNESCO partnership is hoping to accomplish by supporting refugee girls, raising their confidence and shaping their future.

Mayan Derhy

Photo: Flickr

Clinton Advocates for Clean Drinking Water
Effective collaboration between corporations, nongovernmental organizations, governments and individuals can help eliminate mortality caused by unclean drinking water, according to Chelsea Clinton.

Through her work with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the daughter of the former US president has visited communities to witness the benefits of work being done to fight water-borne diseases. The tremendous strides made in recent years inspire hope that an end to deaths caused by public health scourges like water-borne illnesses and AIDS is possible, Clinton says.

“From reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS to providing clean drinking water to rural communities, these programs are examples of how, when corporations, NGOs, governments, and people work together, incredible strides can be made to [overcome] challenges that were once thought intractable. These achievements give me hope that other countries will be able to replicate these models and provide similar health care access to individuals — and that, in my lifetime, we’ll achieve an AIDS-free generation and eliminate mortality caused by unclean water,” Clinton wrote in a recent Huffington Post column about her travels in Asia.

Unclean water is responsible for thousands of deaths annually from cholera, diarrhea and other water-borne illnesses.  Globally, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 2,000 children die every day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water. That is more than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

The Clinton Global Initiative is currently in a partnership with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to deliver clean water in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Clinton visited a village there where P&G had been working for a couple of months. P&G has made a  commitment to CGI to deliver more than two billion liters of clean drinking water every year by 2020, the goal being to save one life every hour of every day of every week of every year.

P&G also recently announced a partnership with USAID focused on child and maternal health in Myanmar, which will provide 200 million more liters of clean drinking water in the next two years. The initiative will provide villages with P&G Purifier of Water packets. The investment will be about $2 million over the first two years of the partnership, according to USAID. This is not the first time USAID has partnered with P&G to provide clean drinking water. The two organizations have previously partnered in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Malawi, Nicaragua, Pakistan and other countries.

– Liza Casabona

Sources: Huffington Post, USAID
Photo: NY Magazine