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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.