Today marks the annual celebration of International Women’s Day. Every year on March 8th, the international community leverages the day to bring attention to the ongoing struggle for an equal, just, and safe world for women everywhere.
This year’s theme, ‘Equality for Women is Progress for all,” reminds us that global peace and prosperity depends on the extent to which women are included – and valued – socially, politically and economically.
This also means girls.
In preparation for the second cycle of Shukuru’s program – when our young entrepreneurs will once again receive chicks which they will raise as an income generating project to pay for their high school tuition – girls and their parents recently attended a refresher training. The opening discussion focused on the importance of girls’ education and empowerment, and of centering girls in the development process.
When asked why Shukuru focuses on educating girls, Baba (title of respect, meaning ‘father of’) Messei eloquently answered, “Because when you educate a girl, you educate a nation.”
In Mama Anna’s words, it is because “girls in our community, who eventually become mothers, see and understand the challenges in our community better than men because of their responsibilities in the home. Educating girls gives them more tools to solve community challenges.”
In similar sentiment, Baba Irene responded, “[because] a girl, a woman, is the pillar of the family. She imparts her knowledge to her children as she raises them.”
She also makes smarter decisions. “An educated girl can practice family planning, make healthy food choices, and help her children avoid diseases,” says 14- year- old, Omega.
These responses from Shukuru girls and their parents speak to the ways in which women’s equality is connected to, and dependent upon, the empowerment of girls.
In other words, realizing a safe and equal world for women is an intergenerational endeavor.
The partnership forged between parents and their daughters in Shukuru’s program could not reflect this reality more clearly.
Keep the message of International Women’s Day alive by supporting the Shukuru Girls and advancing them in their efforts to self-finance their own education!