Every day there are new things to learn. It’s exciting, especially when I read about groundbreaking ideas and new ways to make a difference in this world.
I was familiar with the advocacy and fundraising campaign from Plan International called Because I Am A Girl, and have been donating to this fund for years now. I believe this is a very important cause.
Because I Am A Girl is a very smart and engaging idea that has helped change the face and focus of charities around the world.
Over the years, I wondered where such a smart idea came from. So I wrote to Plan Canada and they answered my question.
“In 2004, a former Plan International Germany Director Marianne Raven was in Nepal discussing the challenges faced by a rural community.
She saw a girl called Sharmila who didn’t have enough clothes on to keep her warm.
When Marianne asked her mother why she wasn’t being cared for, the mother replied, “Because she is a girl,” and a campaign was born.
This marked the start of a growing focus from Plan International on the needs and rights of girls that resulted in Because I am a Girl transforming girls’ lives in over 70 countries.” (Plan campaign)
While reviewing this history, I came across a summary of this campaign’s amazing achievements. Here are a few highlights.
2013 – UN TAKEN OVER BY YOUTH FOR THE FIRST TIME
In July 2013, Plan International supported 15 youth activists to join the first ever youth takeover of the UN.
They were part of a delegation of more than 600 young people led by Malala Yousafzai.
At the event, on the day of her 16th birthday, Malala made her famous speech calling for the urgent prioritisation of education around the world.
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution, ” she said.
2015 – CAMPAIGN SMASHES TARGETS
Just 2 years into the campaign, Because I am a Girl had become a powerful force for change. In that period, it had:
- Directly impacted the lives of over 3 million girls, over 75% of the initial target
- Raised over €436 million, over 87% of the initial target
- Contributed to changing laws or policies in 17 countries
2017 – INFLUENCING LAWS TO END CHILD MARRIAGE
Child marriage is a huge barrier that prevents girls from getting an education.
Throughout the Because I am a Girl campaign, we have been working to end child marriage and as a result of our influencing work with partners, the first ever resolutions on child marriage were adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in 2013.
Later in the campaign our work helped to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
2018 – WORLD LEADERS COMMIT TO FUND EDUCATION
In February 2018, $2.3 billion was pledged by donor governments to fund education in low-income countries between 2018 and 2020. This was an increase on the $1.3 billion pledged for the previous 3 years. In addition, developing countries increased their collective budget for education from $80 billion to $110 billion.
This pledge took place following our #WeAreTheNext campaign in which girls called on their governments to increase education funding.
The increased funding will support millions of girls to go to school and transform their futures.
Plan International and Room To Read are groundbreaking charities that made the education of girls a top priority. And the world has been listening.
Malala captured the importance of this inspiring movement in her speech, accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.
World leaders like Malala make me want to stand up and do something. I hope this urge moves you as well.
Until next time.