Educate a Girl, Educate a Nation

March 23, 2016

It takes only $300 to put a girl through school for a year in Sierra Leone, and yet the impact on her prospects, health and ultimately the education of her own children is huge.

“When a girl is educated, everything changes: she rises from poverty but also her family, community and country rises too,” said Danelle Jones, who is an ambassador for charity One Girl, which supports girls in Sierra Leone to stay in school.

Sixty-six million girls in the developing world are missing out on school. The barriers to education in Sierra Leone are significant. Girls get limited or no education because many are married when they are young (44% before they turn 18), become pregnant as teenagers and leave school (5 in 6 girls never get to high school), or cannot afford to attend (more than 70% of people in Sierra Leone earn less than $2 per day).

“Educating girls makes a difference across the generations and globally, impacting on issues such as population growth, income levels and infant mortality rates,” she said.

Girls with 8 years of education are 4 times less likely to be married as children. For every year a girl stays in school, her income will increase by at least 10 to 20%. Each extra year of a mother’s education reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5 to 10%. Educated mothers pass on their education and are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.

Education is a critical pathway in a world that is rapidly and sometimes unexpectedly changing around us. “To give others a learning pathway is a method for solving our world’s problems,” Danelle said.

The charity raised $480,000 in 2015 to address very practical issues such as access to education, safety and hygiene at school and food insecurity through education scholarships, building educational facilitates including toilet blocks, and supporting girls to start small businesses, including selling biodegradable sanitary pads to support girls to stay in school all month.

The Girl Effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e8xgF0JtVg

A Father’s Fight (One Girl campaign video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHx8VklmseM&feature=youtu.be

One Girl: http://www.onegirl.org.au/

Danelle Jones has a house and a horse in Glenorchy. She works for Thoughtworks in Melbourne, where she coaches leaders on creating self-organising teams and organisations on building workplaces that learn: that are more adaptable, inspired and driven to improve the world around them.

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