NEW YORK, NY – Today, at the 10th Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Julia Gillard, Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, announced a collaboration of more than 30 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals and governments to improve learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls. This collective effort, CHARGE – Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education – has committed over $600 million dollars to reach 14 million girls over five years. The initiative will:
- Ensure that girls can attend and complete primary and secondary school;
- Make schools safer and more secure;
- Improve the quality of learning for girls;
- Support girls’ transition to higher education and employment; and
- Cultivate local country leaders to champion this work at the grassroots level.
“We know when girls have access to quality education in both primary and secondary schools, cycles of poverty are broken, economies grow, glass ceilings crack and potential is unleashed," said Secretary Clinton. “The scale of this commitment matches the gravity of the challenge. Ensuring every girl receives a quality secondary education will take all of us, governments, civil society, the private sector, multilateral organizations, the entire international community working together.”
"I am so proud and grateful to all who have joined this exceptional initiative” said Julia Gillard, Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Universal Education. “We are here today to make a difference, to tackle head-on the next generation of girls education issues. It is our job to ensure that girls not only have access to education, but also to a quality education and unbounded horizons for future opportunity. Our work begins now."
The number of children attending primary school has significantly increased in the past two decades, and the gap between boys and girls has narrowed in many countries. However, there are still significantly fewer girls than boys in secondary school in some regions, and girls face many barriers to completing secondary school with the skills they need -- including threats to their safety and inadequate quality and learning opportunities. This initiative will address these “second generation” issues, particularly in some of the most difficult to reach and marginalized communities across the globe.
NGO partners include BRAC International, which will work to improve learning and life transitions for more than 2.7 million girls and invest $280 million across Bangladesh and seven other countries. Camfed will spend $100 million to help marginalized girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete secondary school and transition to secure livelihoods. Plan International will commit more than $16 million to help prevent and respond to school-related gender-based violence in Asia. And Room to Read will invest $12 million to serve an additional 15,000 girls in nine countries to ensure that girls transition to secondary school and then from school to the workforce or higher education.
Local non-governmental organizations have also made commitments. GRACE Association will work to transform 50 schools in Pakistan’s most remote and impoverished areas to be inclusive, safe learning environments for 17,000 girls. The Study Hall Foundation will expand its efforts to promote girls’ secondary school completion in the Uttar Pradesh region of India. And emerging leaders will be supported by Echidna Giving, the Malala Fund and the Nigerian development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) to ensure local challenges are tackled by empowered, local leadership.
Several private sector partners have also offered support for this initiative. Mastercard Foundation will commit $30 million to help girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in Sub-Saharan Africa enter and complete secondary school. Discovery Communications will invest more than $19 million, in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development, to advance learning outcomes for girls in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria. Other private sector partners include Gucci/Chime for Change, Intel, and Microsoft.
Multilateral organizations have also joined including UNICEF, UNESCO and the Global Partnership for Education. Key government partners include Nepal, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and the governments of Japan, Norway, and Malawi will endorse this initiative.
This impressive alliance will contribute significant resources, direct services and training, and innovative policy solutions to improve education and give greater opportunities to girls and young women across the globe over the next five years.
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