News / Arts & Entertainment

World Bank, Nike Team Up for 'The Girl Effect' Initiative

Actress Anne Hathaway at the World Bank-Nike Foundation "The Girl Effect" Adolescent Girls Initiative event in Washington, D.C.
Actress Anne Hathaway at the World Bank-Nike Foundation "The Girl Effect" Adolescent Girls Initiative event in Washington, D.C.

Multimedia

The Adolescent Girls Initiative partners the World Bank, the Nike Foundation and governments of developing and developed nations to empower girls in poor countries.  The two-year-old program is helping girls in Asia, Africa and the Middle East gain the education and skills they need to transition into the workforce.

"My name is Sanchita. I come from a small village called Ishwarpur in Bangladesh," American actress Anne Hathaway delivered her lines as powerfully from behind a podium at the World Bank as she does on the silver screen, telling the story of an impoverished girl.    

"When a baby is born in Ishwarpur, families desperately hope it will be a boy," she continued. "It has been this way for as long as anyone can remember.  It is believed that boys will contribute to the family income in a place where people are very poor."

These circumstances are familiar to those who benefit from the Adolescent Girls Initiative. 



Who benefits?


A dozen such teenage girls and young women visited the World Bank from developing Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries.  They were just a few of the girls who benefit from training and education programs that help them transition from school to employment.

Hathaway told the audience that, with the help of a development organization, Sanchita gained an education and borrowed $60 to buy a cow and start a vegetable garden.  The teenage girl could then afford to pay her own school fees, as well as her brother's, and contribute to her family in such a way that Sanchita's parents hope she does not marry any time soon.

Hathaway spoke of her own childhood in a comfortable suburban U.S. neighborhood, and of a time when she had no idea about the kind of circumstances Sanchita faced nor how much girls need safe spaces for education.

"Places that could teach them how to take the light they have as girls and ignite the world," explained Hathaway.  "I wouldn't know how much the world needs 'The Girl Effect.'"

Girl power


"The Girl Effect" is what the Adolescent Girls Initiative wants to see happen for 600 million girls in developing countries.   Overall, an estimated one-third of young women in developing nations are not employed and not in school.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said underinvesting in girls impedes development.  He added that educating girls also makes sense for poor families, noting that an extra year of secondary schooling can raise their wages by 10 to 20 percent.   

"If they earn greater income they also have greater access to reproductive health information and services, so then more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, have healthier babies and attain higher literacy rates," Zoellick said. "The evidence strongly suggests that investing in adolescent girls is a key way to break inter-generational patterns of poverty."  

Current operations

The Adolescent Girls Initiative public-private partnership, with its $20 million in funds, is already at work in seven countries, with plans to expand to Haiti and Yemen.

Mayra Buvinic talks about the Adolescent Girls Initiative
Mayra Buvinic talks about the Adolescent Girls Initiative

"So where we are in Liberia and Nepal, young women are completing the first rounds of training," explained Mayra Buvinic, director of Gender and Development at the World Bank. "In South Sudan, 100 adolescent girls' clubs will have opened in four states by the end of this month. In Jordan, female community college graduates are gaining access to vouchers. In Afghanistan, Lao PDR and Rwanda, assessments are being completed, and the projects will be launched at the end of this quarter."

Thanks and praise

Kebbeh Kamara tells the audience how she's benefited from the World Bank/Nike initiative
Kebbeh Kamara tells the audience how she's benefited from the World Bank/Nike initiative

Kebbeh Kamara said she has benefited from training in Greater Monrovia, Liberia.  Wearing a pink dress and sporty black headband decorated with rhinestones, she addressed the World Bank audience from the stage.

"I learned how to start a business, how to earn money on your own, how to be self-sustainable," she said,  "how to save money and what to spend money for."

Sarah Poni Saturnino, 19, of Juba, Southern Sudan, told VOA she is enjoying her first trip to the United States and all the empowerment training and activities.  She said she hopes to take the lessons she has learned here in workshops back to the Adolescent Girls Initiative clubs in Southern Sudan.

"I learned about how to express yourself.  Eye contact.  Speak loud," explained Saturnino.  "This way can give me really a voice to speak in front of people.  And even if I go back home, I'm not longer Sarah again -- I'm somebody now."  

Somebody who has earned the admiration of a fellow Southern Sudanese citizen, child-soldier-turned-rapper Emmanuel Jal.  A supporter of the Adolescent Girls Initiative, Jal performed at the World Bank event.  

The girls joined him on stage, beaming as they danced behind him -- as did at least one World Bank official -- while the audience of staffers in business suits took to their feet and raised their hands in the air as well.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.