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 In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."