I'd love to share with you...
I was born and raised in Benin, West Africa in a very special family. I didn’t realize it but my parents were nonconformists. We were 10 siblings but my father made sure that each one of us attended school, even though there was just one paycheck in the household. Going against the pressure of the larger community, he insisted that his three girls should be educated. I started to earn money as a singer at an early age and didn’t understand why I should still go to school. I wanted to drop out but my father made it non-negotiable. He explained to me: “If you want to live in this house and sing, you have to be highly educated. This will allow you to understand the broader world and accomplish your dream of being a singer travelling around the planet”.
I remember being mad but now I am so grateful he had this vision. The education I got was quite of a high standard at the time because teachers were themselves highly educated; we use to call Benin the “Latin Quarter” of Africa. Things have unfortunately changed since then. My education has empowered me so much: it gave me the confidence not only to sing but also to speak on CNN or BBC and to meet world leaders to lobby on the behalf of the women of Africa.
When I started my role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2002, I first worked on the “Go Girl” campaign, which was promoting access to primary education for girls. A big push was made and a lot has been accomplished. But during a UNICEF visit to Tanzania, a mother explained to me that primary education was not enough. Why should the girls stop there? Attending secondary school makes a big difference because it prevents girls from early marriage at a crucial age and also can give them skills that will transform society. For instance, many health recommendations are not always understood by mothers due to their lack of education. More educated mothers would change all this, and it would impact not only mothers but also their families.
Be The Change
There’s no doubt that the world has made a lot of progress in the last several years, but for girls and women, there’s still work to do.
Check out our great partners below who are doing important work on this issue. There’s no doubt that the world has made a lot of progress in the last several years, but for girls and women, there’s still work to do.
Check out our great partners below who are doing important work on this issue.
progress has been made since 1990 in improving female literacy rates
of girls in least developed countries are enrolled in secondary school
of governments protect girls’ rights to secondary school
See who's making a difference
The Batonga Foundation exists to empower young women and girls in Africa through secondary school and higher education. We aim...
CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped...
As we look towards 2015 and beyond, UNICEF continues to take a more transformative approach to girls’ education by tackling...
#ONEderWoman of the Week: Sima Moyo
This week we’re featuring a truly special #ONEderWoman—Sima Moyo. Ms. Moyo founded the Rose of Charity orphanage in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to care for the growing number of orphans due to HIV/AIDS. Every day, Ms. Moyo and her volunteers care for the every need of over 70 orphans in Victoria Falls—and non-orphaned children are always welcome for a meal and a safe place to play. In addition to clothing, feeding, and sheltering orphaned and vulnerable children, Rose of Charity holds “Believe in Girls” workshops that encourage female empowerment in Zimbabwe and teaches girls about education, women’s rights, sexual health, and careers. Ms. Moyo’s selflessness and dedication to improving the lives of children in her community embodies everything that it means to be a #ONEderWoman!
Help tell the stories of the girls and women all over the world doing amazing things. Be sure to include a link to their story in your nomination!
Nominate Your Own #ONEderWoman
As this weekend’s 2015 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund draw to a close, ONE expressed deep concern over the lack of new financial development commitments made by donor and developing nations. Concrete commitments must be made ahead of the July Financing for Development Summit in Addis Ababa in order…
No doubt about it, social media plays an important role in our day-to-day lives. It can be mindless and silly, or it can be used to advocate for social change and raise awareness for well-deserved causes, like #BringBackOurGirls or the ice bucket challenge. No matter which way you slice it, social media is a powerful…
Ben Bain is an Associate in Prize Operations at XPRIZE, working on the Global Learning XPRIZE. He previously served as an Army Infantry officer and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He earned his MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University. I have met countless children worldwide who have limitless enthusiasm for learning, but limited options.…
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