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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."