The Beyond School Books podcast series, in collaboration with the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), is proud to launch Changing the World for Girls, a series of discussions on the lasting impact education has on girls, families, communities and nations around the world.
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NEW YORK, United States of America, 7 November 2013 – Girls’ education is an indispensable tool for female empowerment and directly leads to other development goals such as poverty reduction, better reproductive and family health, lower fertility rates, lower child mortality rates and reduction in the rate of infection and spread of HIV/AIDS.
Violence and displacement in the Central African Republic are leaving lasting emotional and mental scars on thousands of children. Giving them space to feel safe and to express themselves is one way to help them find peace.
BOSSANGOA, Central African Republic, 7 November 2013 – Like most children, 13-year-old Felicia loves to draw. But her drawings are not the usual happy scenes of school and family and friends. In vivid colours, she draws a man lying on the ground dead, houses burned down, and men carrying weapons. For a young girl forced to flee for her life several times in recent months, the memories of violence are still fresh.
Susan Cummings-Findel and Stefan Findel discuss Let Us Learn, an innovative initiative launched by UNICEF and private donors that is bringing the power of education to out-of-school children in five countries.
NEW YORK, United States of America, 23 October 2013 – Despite tremendous gains in education, more than 57 million children around the world are still out of school. Poverty, gender discrimination, poor health and nutrition, disability, child labour, migration, geographical disadvantages, conflict, poor learning conditions and unsound education systems are some of the main reasons that these children are not in school. To make matters worse, aid to basic education fell by 7 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
A young girl has been raising her voice in song to gain other girls the access to education that so many girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 23 October 2013 – Not all girls in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have access to education. Melissa Kasoke, 14, does. “I like studying because I’d like to help my family someday, so I won’t always depend on my family and I’ll be able to help my parents and those who suffer,” she says.
BRIA, Central African Republic, 23 October 2013 – A group of children are lined up in the schoolyard singing lightheartedly as Aristide Modest Feikoumo listens on. He has not heard these voices in months.
Mr. Feikoumo, a primary school teacher in Bria, was forced to flee in December 2012, when members of a rebel coalition took control of this town in the heart of the Central African Republic. He escaped with his family into the bush and relied on host families to share whatever food they could afford. Eventually he made his way to Bangui, the capital, where he stayed until the Ministry of National Education started to organize the reopening of schools across the country.
International Day of the Girl Child is 11 October. This year’s Day focuses on innovating for girls’ education. Smart and creative use of technology, policies, partnerships and, most of all, the engagement of young people, themselves, are important for overcoming barriers to girls’ learning and achievement.
Bright, young students like Balkissa and Halissa have a chance to continue their education and break the cycle of early marriage and pregnancy, thanks to a scholarship programme identifying vulnerable girls in rural villages in the Niger.