The Girl Effect, Part 2

Last week I posted an entry called The Girl Effect. This is a follow-up to it. I knew I wanted to write a follow-up, it just took me some time to post because I wanted to do it justice. I’m still not sure I have, but here we go…

 

The most powerful force of change on this planet is a girl.

A girl with 7 years of education marries 4 years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

The population’s HIV rate goes down and malnutrition decreases 43%.

If 10% more girls go to secondary school, the country’s economy grows 3%.

When an educated girl earns income, she reinvests 90% of it in her family; compared to 35% for a boy.

Yet 99.4% of international aid money is not directed at her.

The answer is right in front of us.

Dare to see this girl.

 

If you’re anything like me, you can’t help but watch this video–and the one from last week–and not have it resonate. You may find that you agree with it, you may even find that you’re asking, “why aren’t people doing something?” Well, people are. There are many groups–in addition to The Girl Effect–that are advocating for change and they’re actually getting something done. I’ve researched just a few of them here:

Groups like The Girl Effect, ONE and buildOn (as well as many others) are all working to make poverty–and the many issues that go along with poverty (disease, illiteracy, etc…)–less of an ongoing problem. I highly encourage you to look into these (or other groups) to see if any or several of them “fit”. If so, join, make your voice heard! If not, find groups that do fit! But don’t sit idly by and let our world continue to spiral out of control. Yes, our country has problems, but wouldn’t you agree that we’re not just citizens of the United States? We’re also people of the world. We have brothers and sisters across the world, and we can affect change for them. For ourselves! Don’t make me break into the chorus of “We Are the World”, here!

But seriously:

GETTING INVOLVED: The Girl Effect gets you involved in a couple ways: by donation or mobilization. When you donate, you can send a girl to school. Help fight her legal case. Give her a microloan. You very quickly start making a difference. In essence, you’re starting the Girl Effect! You can donate online or by texting. Click here to find out the details. The Girl Effect also encourages people to mobilize others, by starting their own campaign and effecting their own change. They provide all kinds of tools to help spread the word, but know that everyone will do it in their own way. These tools include videos, PowerPoint Presentations, stickers, buttons, posters and T-shirts. Click here to find them.

ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Cofounded by Bono and other campaigners, ONE is nonpartisan and works closely with African activists and policy makers, as well as partner organizations such as Save the Children, (RED), Oxfam, water.org, Bread for Life, Malaria No More, Global Campaign for Education, Habitat for Humanity, and many others.

GETTING INVOLVED: ONE wants our VOICE! They are an advocacy group with over 2 million members, and they’ve achieved GREAT things by holding world leaders accountable to the commitments they’ve made to fight poverty. ONE campaigns for better development policies, more effective aid and trade reform. Like any other program, you can give money. But they don’t solicit it. By signing up to be a part of ONE, you’ll receive timely, relevant emails asking you to sign a petition or to email your legislators (the emails are already composed; you just enter you name and click “send” if you agree with them) about issues such as education, poverty, trade, healthcare, foreign aid, etc. You’ll always have a choice about whether or not to send the email or sign the petition. And you’ll always receive an update letting you know how the issue was resolved or where it stands as a result of ONE’s efforts.

buildOn is a non-profit organization that empowers primarily urban U.S. high school students through in-class and intensive after-school programs. In addition to tremendous contributions of community service in their own cities and neighborhoods, buildOn youth actually build schools and bring literacy to children and adults in developing countries around the world. buildOn programs are designed to build confidence and real-world capabilities in American youth while also empowering communities world-wide to overcome the crippling cycle of illiteracy, poverty and low expectations by opening the door to education.

GETTING INVOLVED: buildOn has several ways to get involved. Everything from volunteering to go on an Ambassador Trek (to experience and take part in their school construction program in developing countries) to volunteering here in the United States at student service projects, office work or special events. You can even sponsor a child or a project (overseas or stateside).

Every time I see or hear something like this (the videos and statistics above), I am reminded of how God used women and girls all throughout the Bible to accomplish great tasks–HIS tasks! I’m also reminded of how He loved and reached out to all people, but he paid special attention to the poor and the weak–to the “least of these”. And it is these that He asks us to reach out to and extend His love to as well (Matthew 25:34-40).

 

So what will you do? Will you make your voice heard?

 

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