Today is 10.11.12, which is pretty darn cool in its own right.

But it’s also the first annual International Day of the Girl. And so organizations and people all over the world have united to make our voices heard, and to make sure the world makes a LOUD commitment to invest in girls–because girls and women are disproportionately affected by poverty–and to end the things that put them and their communities all over the world in harm’s way. Things like poverty, lack of education, and child marriage.

Over a year and a half ago I discovered Girl Effect, one such group that is out there advocating for, investing in, and making amazing strides for the girls (and boys, and mom and dads, and villages and towns, and countries) of our world. In fact, I posted twice about it here on Life is Grace (read here and here) because what I found during my research struck such a chord with me. Fortunately, Girl Effect is just one of MANY groups working toward raising the status of girls.

If you’re on Twitter, #DayoftheGirl is trending. And there are many, many groups doing BIG things to help invest. Groups like @girleffect, @GirlUp, @UNICEF, @DayoftheGirl, @CARE, @ONECampaign, @GirlsNotBrides, @UN, @USUN, @UN_Women. I urge you to hop on and take a look. And maybe even see what you can do.

…I dare you…

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 in a community go to secondary school, the country’s economy (GNP) 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.