For girls in Malawi, Liberia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia, getting an education is not as simple as showing up for kindergarten in September. Many different factors determine her chance to make it through elementary school — how much money her family has, if she has time to go to school, if the school (and the walk to and from school) is safe and secure, and if her parents believe that education for their daughter is a priority.
I’m on the ground in Addis, Ethiopia, for a meeting with The Elders, a group of global leaders who meet to discuss solutions to the most pressing problems facing the world. This week, we’ve been talking about creating a Global Alliance to End Child Marriage – more to come on that later. First, I wanted to share an important story that I heard that really explains what Girl Up and its partners are working towards in the fight to stop child marriage...
This week, we are talking about the issue of violence against girls and what Girl Up is doing to help make a difference. Some of the most at-risk girls are forced into marriage or relationships when they are still young children.
I grew up in the U.S., in a small house with a backyard and a dog, in a safe neighborhood (as a kid, I thought it was kind of boring) in Tampa, Florida. I knew the basic rules about safety — don’t talk to strangers, never get in a car with someone you don’t know, look both ways before you cross the street, and as I got older, there were of course all sorts of rules about boys.
Girls and boys from all over LA joined us at the Unite for Girls Pep Rally in Los Angeles to learn about the lives of girls in Malawi, Liberia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia, and to start to take action by getting involved in Girl Up.
The Unite for Girls tour is in Los Angeles this week, and we got off to a great start with a high-energy event at Variety last night. Over 200 people came together to celebrate Girl Up and give a High Five for girls around the world.
I’ve spent more time away from home than at home lately, but I’m so fortunate to have the chance to meet some incredible people on my trips to Africa to meet with our UN, government, and NGO partners.
I’ve just returned from my first trip to Liberia. It’s a beautiful country – palm trees and coastline and lush, green jungles – but a terrible civil war ended only six years ago, killing thousands and destroying roads, schools, hospitals, and lives.