How U.S. schools can help make a difference for girls’ education worldwide

eSN: Why do you think girls’ education is so important?

Hurley: Last year, I was involved in the Pearson Foundation’s support of the film Girl Rising. The project originally started out as a documentary on poverty in underdeveloped and developing countries. However, the crew quickly realized that the problem of poverty was really one of exclusion, and where girls were excluded from education, excluded from a larger role in their communities, those communities (and by default countries), were much more likely to be impoverished and struggle with all of the challenges that poverty creates. Girl Rising is a powerful film and I would encourage everyone to view it to get an understanding of the change we can create by supporting girls around the world.

eSN: Your focus is on connecting like-minded organizations to help them best leverage and share their resources. What’s the relevance of your mission to U.S. schools and to American girls?

deVries: Although our initial focus is the organizations serving adolescent girls, we believe engaging adolescent girls themselves would be not only empowering for them but enhance our mission. American schools are committed to creating world citizens as well as meeting the education, health, and general well being of the adolescent girls they serve. We have had adolescent girls in U.S. and abroad contact us about how to get involved. Some ideas that we have brainstormed:

  • Researching organizations that work with adolescent girls and/or were founded by adolescent girls
  • Researching what it means to be a girl in different parts of the world and creating displays (Prezi/Powerpoint)
  • Researching facts/statistics about girl data
  • Documentary screening and Q&A/discussion
  • Feedback sessions regarding possible curriculum/case studies
  • Social media mapping while GTG staff is in-country doing documentary
  • Encouraging adolescent girls to comment on GTG efforts and offer ideas for connecting with other adolescent girls to support our efforts.

Hurley: The list here is a start and we welcome input from girls and schools. Because one of our objectives is to share resources we would hope that any project or work done by schools would be made available on our web site to other girls or organizations. We also are working on developing internship opportunities where a girl may be doing work that will be used by GTG, for example, identification of organizations serving girls, support of social media efforts.

deVries: We are looking at different platforms that would encourage sharing, dialogue between adolescent girls worldwide. We believe that girls sharing ideas, telling their own stories, and making connections themselves worldwide supports our mission of connecting global change makers. These young women are the future leaders of the organizations we are working with and supporting.

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