This month, the Clinton Foundation has shared inspiring stories of "ceiling breakers" from around the world. These stories highlight progress in achieving full participation for women and girls while also serving to underscore the gaps that remain, many of which have been identified by No Ceilings' recently published Full Participation Report and data visualizations through NoCeilings.org.
CHARGE, a CGI Commitment to Action announced at the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting, has grown to over 40 partners supporting "ceiling breakers" around the world, oftentimes by effectively leveraging government and community partnerships. CHARGE, the Collaborative Harnessing Ambition & Resources for Girls Education, aims to bring government, NGO, multilateral and private sector partners together to collectively advance girls' secondary education.
Since the Commitment to Action was launched, our partners have made great progress. For example, the GRACE Association has joined forces with local communities in Pakistan to enroll 1,500 children in schools, and provide English language skills to a further 350 girls and boys over two years. In one month they enrolled 194 girls and boys into GRACE schools with continuing plans to enroll girls and students with disabilities into accessible schools.
Additionally, the Anita Borg Institute and Harvey Mudd College have made great progress by partnering with U.S. and Canadian universities to enroll 1,500 women or students of color into their computer science programs to make these programs more inclusive and diverse. Camfed has also utilized partnerships with community groups to develop a governance model that identifies girls at risk of dropping out of school and helps catalyze community support; in Tanzania and Zimbabwe alone 46,000 girls have been supported to stay in school.
The vital role of teachers in advancing girls' education globally has also been recognized by many CHARGE partners as a means to promote better learning outcomes and enable teachers to become advocates for girls' rights. In India, the Study Hall Educational Foundation has provided training to over 100 female teachers to conduct critical dialogues with girls in school and empower them to express themselves through art and drama. Since September 2014, almost 800 disadvantaged girls have participated in art and drama workshops, giving them a platform to express their opinions on issues such as child marriage, domestic violence, and gender-based violence.
As part of a series of activities promoting the role of adolescent students in the prevention and response to school related gender-based violence in Vietnam, Plan International has helped provide training for 1,700 teaching and non-teaching staff across 20 participating schools on their role in creating gender responsive schools. Plan's success in reaching 14,700 school students has prompted plans to adopt the project at the national level.
The exciting work of these organizations shows that progress is indeed possible, despite unfinished business that remains. While CHARGE partners continue in their efforts to advance girls' education globally, their inspiring stories should serve to underscore the need for everyone's help to ensure the full participation of women and girls around the world.
Photo: GRACE Association is helping girls continue secondary education at Al-Zahra School Kwardu, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.