Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Educate Girls ???

Friday, March 11, 2011

Women and Hunger: 10 Facts

Women have a crucial role to play in the fight against hunger. As mothers, farmers, teachers and entrepreneurs, they hold the key to building a future free of malnutrition. Here are ten reasons why empowering women is such an important part of our work. 
  1. Women make up a little over half of the world's population, but they account for over 60 percent of the worlds hungry.
    Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger..., ECOSOC, 2007)
  2. Women produce between 60 and 80 percent of the food in most developing countries where they have less access to land and credit than men do.
    Women and Food Security, FAO, 2010)
  3. Women are the sole breadwinners in one out of three households around the world.
    (Source: WFP, 2010)
  4. Women in Africa work an average of 50 percent longer each day than men.
    (Source: WFP, 2010)
  5. If women had better access to farming land, fertilizers and agricultural training, yields in sub-Saharan Africa would improve by as much as 22 per cent.
    Global Trends for Women, International Labor Organization, 2009)
  6. Two thirds of the 75 million children denied access to education around the world are girls. In rural Africa, about 70 percent of girls do not finish primary school.
    Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007; UNESCO, 2006)
  7. Educated mothers have healthier families. Their children are better nourished, less likely to die in infancy and more likely to attend school.
    The State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO, 2005)
  8. Women invest an average 90 percent of their incomes into their households, whereas men only reinvest about 30 to 40 percent.
    The State of the World’s Girls, UN Girls’ Education Initiative, 2009)
  9. Around half of all pregnant women in developing countries are anemic. Iron deficiency causes around 110,000 deaths during child birth each year.
    Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  10. Malnourished mothers often give birth to underweight babies who are 20 percent more likely to die before the age of five. Up to 17 million children are born underweight every year.
    Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children, UNICEF, 2007)

Facts about women in Africa

Gender and violence against women and girls and child protection issues
  • Data shows that at least one in every three woman is a survivor of some form of gender-based violence, most often by someone in her own family. [1999 Johns Hopkins global report]
  • Girls between 13 and 18 years of age constitute the largest group in the sex industry. It is estimated that around 500,000 girls below 18 are victims of trafficking each year.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) affects l30 million girls and women globally and places 2 million at risk annually. The prevalence of FGM remained stable at levels above 90 per cent in many countries during the last decade, with little improvement over the years.
  • UNICEF supports strengthening knowledge and understanding of gender violence and abuse in many countries and addresses the need for reform of legal systems and policies.
  • In some cultures the preference for boy children results in pre-natal sex selection and infanticide of girls. In India, for example, there are 933 Indian women for every l,000 men, resulting in 40 million ‘missing’ women.
Gender and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and other health issues
1,400 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes, 99 per cent of them in developing countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a woman has a one in three chance of dying in child birth. In industrialized countries, the risk is 1 in 4,085.
  • Direct obstetric deaths account for about 75 per cent of all maternal deaths in developing countries
  • More than 80 per cent of the world’s 35 million refugees and displaced people are women and children.
  • Emergencies puts women at risk of extreme sexual violence and abuse. In Rwanda, for example, 2,000 women, many of whom were survivors of rape, tested positive for HIV during the five years following the 1994 genocide

Facts about women in Africa

Gender and HIV/AIDS
  • Nearly a third of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are under the age of 25 and two thirds of them are women.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are getting infected faster and earlier than boys. In the 15 to 24 age group, two girls are infected for every boy.
  • Surveys indicate that compared to women who have some post primary schooling, women with no education are five times more likely to lack basic information about HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2002, an estimated 800,000 children under the age of l5 were infected with HIV, the vast majority (90 per cent) as a result of parent-to-infant transmission.
Gender and girls’ education
  • Over 110 million of the world’s children, two thirds of them girls, are not in school.
  • Of the world’s 875 million illiterate adults, two thirds are women.
  • During the 1990s, gender parity in primary school enrolment improved in all regions world-wide and in nearly two thirds of the countries with available data. UNICEF is supporting 25 countries to accelerate progress towards achieving gender parity in primary school enrolment by 2005.
  • Half of the girls who live in developing countries (excluding China) will be married by their 20th birthday. Increasing girls’ time in school is one of the best ways to foster later, chosen marriage.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Comfort Campaign

 Innovative ways to Keep Girls in School

 The natural process of menstruation comes as a big problem to women and girls in many parts of Africa, contributing to both disempowerment and health risks. Sometimes there are taboo subjects that people don't want to talk about but also being open about these taboo subjects can bring about positive changes in society. One such example is menstruation, and its impact on keeping the girls in school during their periods. In addition to family pressures to stay at home to help with chores or child rearing, girls that do try to persevere with their education may end up dropping out once they reach puberty, at the onset of menstruation.  When a young girl starts to menstruate, she may experience negative attitudes which result in her being prohibited from cooking or even banished to the countryside during her period. In some religious sects, women and girls are not allowed to attend church or any religious gathering during their period because they are deemed unclean at that moment. In some African societies, some men shun food prepared by women during their period. In Africa, the menstruation experience impacts negatively on girls due to lack of appropriate and affordable sanitary products such as pads. Research shows that in Africa some girls drop out of school due to lack of sanitary pads, separate toilets and easy access to clean water. 

Wellspring Women's Network is undertaking an initiative to help make affordable sanitary products available to young girls and women in less privileged societies of Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. The goal of this initiative is to source and seek for donations of sanitary products, and make them available to these needy people. This is in conjunction with providing basic training in menstrual hygiene. Through provision of Comfort Kits, Wellspring Women’s Network believes it can make a valuable contribution to help these underprivileged girls. Traditionally, women and girls in most rural areas have used cloth rags, tree bark, newspapers as sanitary wear during their monthly menstruation cycle.  However, in some cases, cloth is scarce. Also in many parts of Africa clean water is scarce and this compromises the hygienic standards of maintaining these sanitary cloths The Comfort kits  are pre-packed  kits with sanitary ware that includes re-usable wash cloths, conventional store bought pads, soap among other items as shown below. Each kit will also provide a basic education manual on Menstrual Hygiene and also basic education on HIV/AIDS prevention. Because of emotional and psychological tension associated with the menstrual process, it is estimated that within the 4 years of high school some girls loose 156 learning days, equivalent to 22 weeks out of 144 weeks of learning in high school. This initiative by Wellspring Women’s network is aimed at helping alleviate this problem and enable girls attend school and fulfill their academic abilities.  There is also a need for social innovation around this issue. Global alliances between the developed and underdeveloped societies can be a key solution to the problem and ensure that every woman be able to have access to the right products which can enable them to happily experience menstruation.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Girls' Education, Sexual Behaviour and AIDS in Africa

Strong Foundations for HIV Protection and Prevention
Girls educated to secondary and tertiary levels are more likely to wait before having sex, are much more likely to use condoms when they do have sex, and are therefore at much less risk of contracting HIV

One of the latest trends in the development of Aids in Africa is its increasing feminization. In Africa, Over 7.5 million young people aged 15-24 are living with HIV & AIDS, and 70% of those are young women and girls. In recent research on girls’ education, sexual behavior and HIV, shows that secondary education provides African girls with the power to make sexual choices that prevent HIV infection. The research shows that uneducated girls were more vulnerable to Aids. As sex education improves and a greater understanding of HIV prevention develops, more educated girls became less likely to contract HIV.

Education gives girls power, reduces vulnerability and helps them make more independent, confident choices about their sexual behavior. Schools, teachers, are the most trusted source for young people to learn about HIV, and that school attendance ensures greater understanding of prevention messages. It also strengthens girls’ control, confidence and negotiating abilities to decide if to have sex, and when they do, whether to use a condom or not. Peer groups within schools strengthen girls’ social networks and create more responsible attitudes to sexual behavior, safer sex and HIV.

Girls who drop out of school are more likely to enter into adult sexual networks, where older partners with more experience and power dictate the “rules” of sexual engagement. Poverty and vulnerability to HIV are closely linked. More educated women have better economic and social prospects and consequently have more choices. Despite the role of education in protecting girls from HIV infection, more children worldwide do not receive an education. In most African countries, more than 10 million girls have never been to primary school and some children still have to pay school fees to go to school.

At Wellspring Women's Network, we urge all countries in Africa to broaden the curriculum to include sex education, encouraging teenage mothers back into education and those Primary schools should be free to achieve maximum access to education.

"Young women receiving higher levels of education are likely to wait longer before having sex for the first time, and are less likely to be coerced into sex. Strikingly, girls with more education are far more likely to use condoms and they are less likely to contract HIV."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why should girls stay in School

Education, especially of girls and woman, is widely regarded as the best investment that most developing countries can make. African girls are some of the brightest and most dedicated individuals you will ever meet, and when given a bit of assistance in achieving their goals, they make the world a substantially better place. Study after study has shown the significant economic and social benefits of educating girls. Investing in girls education leads directly to increased economic growth, delays marriages, improves health and nutrition,  and increases child survival rates. The education of girls has repeatedly proven to be the single most effective tool for development. Girls without an education will be greatly disadvantaged in the future and will struggle with maximizing their potential as adults.

For many African girls, education is equivalent to life itself. Education is frequently
the only path through which girls escape the devastating and vicious cycle of poverty.
Patriarchy continues to dominate African society, and the girl-child pays the heaviest
price. Although more girls are now attending primary school, the numbers drop
significantly as these students progress to the later grades. When poverty forces
parents to choose which child they must educate, the boys are selected first.

Indeed, girls without an education will be greatly disadvantaged in the future and will struggle with maximizing their potential as adults.