Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Unleashing the girl effect

Next up is Maria Eitel, CEO of NIke Foundation, on Unleashing the Girl Effect. Opens with video showing girls in developing countries married at 14, pregnant at 15, in prostitution at 16 to support a family.
But if you invest in an adolescent girl, keep her in school, keep her healthy, would enter labour market, if happens across generations, would have huge effect on poverty. Look at www.girleffect.org

Stop poverty before it starts. Cost of losing these millions of girls is huge. Nike Foundation entered a number of partnerships to unleash the girl effect across Africa and Asia. Investment in adolescent girls crucial.

Asking the girls what they want. They spent 10s of thousands of hours talking to girls. Examples, spend 8 hours a day on chores, no electricity so can't study at night, drops out of school, cycle starts.

Built a digital and analogue network, use magazines to spread word. Use insight based technology. When girls get technology, they're the first to teach it. Will teach the rest of the family. They are very shrewd users. For example, using ushahidi to map safe spaces. Most bizarre, girls worked out how to hack generators to run on urine,not diesel. Referred to as the pee powered internet later :-). Nike Foundation attempting to build a digital community of 100m girls using feature phones. Need to optimise current systems and innovate new ones.

Interesting and passionate talk. girleffect.org worth a look. The campaign has got its critics, accusing it of playing to stereotypes of women for example, and ignoring the role of men in the community. But, investing in technology for adolescent girls to keep them in education and out of the early marriage cycle has to be a good thing in my opinion.

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