She's the FirstOne of the side effects of poverty is an inability to start or finish one’s education. But one nonprofit is aiming to fight that effect by educating young women. She’s the First is a global nonprofit that “supports girls who will be the first in their families to graduate high school and trains students everywhere to be global citizens.” Their aim is to keep girls in school until they graduate so they can experience and learn more in school. In addition to poverty preventing young girls from finishing school, early marriage, long routes to school and expensive costs for higher schooling also affect girls’ education.

Two women wanted to combat all of that by helping young women get the education they need to succeed. She’s the First was started in November 2009 with a Youtube video and Facebook page by founders Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt. Both had received scholarships for their schooling and wanted to do the same for other girls. It has been shown that education, specifically girls’ education, can help stop poverty.

It works with other international organizations to identify young women to sponsor. 11 countries are the current focus of the organization, including countries in West Africa, Eastern Africa, Latin America and East Asia.

Over 900 girls are She’s the First Scholars, meaning they have received a scholarship to allow them to pursue their education. The young women are provided with mentors in order to help them become successful leaders. These campus groups also aim to promote leadership and global citizenship within the campus community.

What are the benefits of improving education for young women? She’s the First says that a girl is likely to make “20 percent more per year of schooling she finishes”, is less likely to marry young and more likely to have fewer, but healthier, children.

Want to get involved? There are different levels of donor programs. You can become an Academic Ally, Equality Advocate, or a Girl Champion. There have also been more than 300 fundraisers to help raise money for the cause.

Since 2009, this organization has been able to help many young women finish school and give them the resources they need to do so. It has mobilized others across the country, specifically in communities and at universities. This organization’s message of investing in education to better the futures of these young women and girls is an amazing cause to help fight global poverty.

Emilia Beuger

Photo: Pixabay

 Female Leaders She's the First
She’s the First is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarships for girls in developing countries.

The organization allows donors to directly sponsor the education of girls in low-income areas around the world. Research shows that girls at the secondary school level are particularly vulnerable, but thankfully She’s the First focuses on these girls and partners with local organizations to find potential secondary school level scholars based on academic merit, personal hardship and potential to contribute to the community following graduation.

The founders of the organization — Tammy Tibbetts and Christen Brandt — were inspired by their personal experiences with education and the power of a woman’s support network.

The education offered by She’s the First leverages these support networks to stretch beyond basic academics. The organization connects girls with support systems and mentors who teach them how to apply their newfound skills in their everyday lives, hoping that by being provided with such scholarships, the girls will be able to delay marriage and childbirth, avoid domestic violence, secure better wages and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.

Scholarships for girls are part of an overarching goal to achieve gender equality on all fronts. The United Nations recognizes the importance of girls’ education and have listed equitable education for all as one of its Sustainable Development Goals.

Research shows that investing in education for girls is not a futile effort; it increases both women’s earning potential and countries’ economic outputs. According to She’s the First, “only one in every five girls in the developing world finish primary school, and only one out of every three countries (37 percent) has as many girls as boys in secondary schools.”

Already, the United Nation’s previous Millennium Development Goals have made great strides in providing education for girls around the world. According to the 2015 MDG report, in Southern Asia, 74 girls for every 100 boys attended primary school in 1990. That number has now risen to 103 girls for every 100 boys.

She’s the First, meanwhile, has provided scholarships for over 750 scholars in 11 countries. According to their website, She’s the First has one main goal with their scholarships for girls: “We can transform a girl’s life if we help her be the first to reach her high school graduation, changing the trajectory of her entire life.”

Sabrina Santos

Photo: Flickr