It has long been stated that the key to ending poverty is education – specifically, the education of girls and women. Research has shown that by placing an emphasis education, a child can gain “knowledge and skills that deliver society wide development returns.”
In a report, the ONE Campaign found that almost 130 million girls are not in school right now. Since 2015, the number of girls who are not educated has increased by 600,000. To put that in perspective, “that’s 130 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs, and political leaders the world is missing out on.”
The ONE Campaign is an organization devoted to campaigning and advocacy. They hope that by taking action to help people they can put an end to extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa.
The President and CEO of the ONE Campaign, Gayle Smith, even went so far as to say that the deficit in education is “a global crisis that perpetuates poverty.” She added, “Across countries in Africa today millions of girls didn’t get to go to school, or walked long distances in dangerous conditions to get there, or sat in a classroom without a teacher or textbooks. This is not just about getting more girls into school, it’s about the women they grow up to be: educated, empowered and employed.”
Educating women isn’t just something that would make the world a better place, it is also a way to save lives. A primary education could potentially lower the under-five mortality rate by 15 percent, while a secondary education could reduce the under-five mortality rate by 49 percent. That’s almost three million lives that we could save just by educating girls.
Another study conducted in Uganda found that “children who finished secondary education were seven times less likely to contract HIV as those who receive little or no schooling.”
Research has also revealed that countries that are the poorest are the ones with the lowest amount of girls in school. Among that list include countries like South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Niger. In South Sudan alone, almost “73 percent of girls, between the ages of six and eleven, are not in school. In the Central African Republic there is just one teacher for every 80 pupils.” With figures like these, it is no wonder that the number of educated girls around the world continues to drop.
According to the ONE Campaign, “In recent years, many governments have recognized the potential of education by making substantial new investments into the sector, including the poorest countries. Many sub-Saharan African countries, for example, allocated some of the billions of dollars freed up by debt cancellation towards education.”
They added, “Along with development assistance for education, debt savings helped send an additional 60 million children in sub-Saharan Africa to primary school for the first time between 2000 and 2013. Some major progress has also been made regarding gender equality as it is projected 69 percent of countries will achieve gender parity in primary education by 2015.”
A lot of the times these girls are not able to attend school because of school fees or because a boy’s education is favored over a girl’s. Whatever the reason, these girls deserve to be able to attend school and to feel empowered, educated, and employed. One fact remains true: education is key.
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