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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

At Washington’s Blues Alley jazz singer Jane Monheit and her quartet perform songs made famous by Judy Garland. Monheit sits down with "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten to talk about her music, the singers who influence her, and her life traveling with family on tour.