Today marks Women’s Equality Day, we have come a long way since the times when women didn’t have the right to vote, when it was laughable to think a woman could be president and while we
are still making strides for equality in this world, there is still a lot of work needed before we can achieve gender equality for all.
In the developing world, women and girls are under constant threat by the way they are perceived in society. Gender stereotypes, early marriage and health problems are just some of the problems that girls in disadvantaged communities grow up with. Many girls are also pulled out of school before they can attend the secondary level, a crucial stage in their personal development. They are expected to take care of their siblings and do chores that will contribute to the household, so education usually takes a backseat in these communities. Before long these girls are getting married and starting their own families further continuing the cycle of poverty.
Providing girls with an education is the key to alleviating poverty. In Africa, it is estimated that 29 million primary school aged children are out of school with more than half of those being girls. Camara provides equal learning opportunities for children in the developing world by introducing technology into the classroom and by opening up a new world of digital information.
Recent estimates show that one-third of girls in the developing world are married before age 18. If all girls had access to education, child marriage would fall by 64 per cent, from almost 2.9 million to just over 1 million. President Barack Obama said on his recent journey to Africa that, “Any nation that fails to educate its girls and employ its women and allowing them to maximise their potential is doomed to fall behind in a global economy.”
Camara Education is a proud education partner of the iMlango programme, an exciting education initiative which seeks to improve learning and educational outcomes for 52,000 marginalised girls, across 195 primary schools in Kenya. This programme is part of a strong partnership between UK’s Department for International Development (DFID): Global satellite operator Avanti Communications;sQuid, the smartcard and digital payments system provider and online maths tutoring provider, Whizz Education. iMlango strives to provide access to better education – supporting teachers, students and communities, targeting girls previously marginalised from the system. Together, these can help lift the context away from the immediate of poverty.
While barriers still remain, it’s important that we remember that education is a right and regardless of background or upbringing and cultural restraints, every girl deserves to have a proper education. If you educate a girl, you help create leaders and role models for those in her community to aspire to. The use of technology in the classroom can help build confidence and skills that girl’s need to be leaders in today’s digital world, it opens new doors and creates lifelong learning skills that can drastically increase their job prospects in future job markets.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO remarked, “It is through education that girls and women can gain the freedom to make choices, to shape their future and to build more inclusive and just societies.” Research from Unicef shows that educated young women are less likely to die in childbirth, more likely to send their children to school, and better able to protect themselves and their children from malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, and sexual exploitation. It’s time we look at things differently and break away from poverty by investing in girls, so they can grow to be powerful women and role models in our future society.