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#GirlsCount – Why Educating Every Girl is Good for Everyone

130 million girls out of school: ONE Campaign launches report and digital campaign to demand action

Educating girls is one of the most effective tools in the fight against extreme poverty. Yet globally, 130 million girls – sisters, daughters, potential future leaders – are not in school.

ONE’s #GirlsCount campaign, launching today, features citizens from all over the world and every walk of life joining forces to count out loud from one to 130 million, in solidarity with every girl denied an education. Advocates include: Malala Yousafzai, Sheryl Sandberg, Michael Sheen, Bono and David Oyelowo.

ONE is launching the campaign ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, alongside “Why Educating Every Girl is Good for Everyone”, a report that exposes how educating a girl for a day costs less than a loaf of bread or a daily newspaper. Yet getting more girls in school could save more than a million lives and add more than $100 billion dollars a year to the global economy.

The ONE Campaign is asking governments for a package of funding and reforms which will make education work for every girl by 2030; urging leaders to double the global funding for girls’ education by 2020.

The four key reforms are:

  1. Work with local leaders to break down barriers which keep girls from the classroom
  2. Employ and train teachers
  3. Collect the right data so we know where every dollar should be spent
  4. Connect every single classroom to the internet

Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg said: “130 million girls around the world are out of school. One of the challenges in effectively addressing this global crisis is conveying its staggering scale. 130 million girls are being denied the basic human right of an education – the domino effect of which none of us can afford to ignore.

“I joined the count at ONE.org choosing number five because that’s the age millions of girls around the world should be walking into a classroom for the first time.  Far too many of them will never get that chance, unless we demand world leaders act.”

Angelique Kidjo, Grammy Award-winning artist and activist said: “130 million girls are being denied an education. That’s 130 million of our sisters, our daughters and tomorrow’s leaders who are not in school, and it has to stop.”

“That’s why I am proud to lend my voice, alongside the ONE Campaign, to the urgent call on our governments in Africa and their partners around the world to act. To cut programs for girls’ education at this moment in time would undermine a whole generation.”

The ONE Campaign’s, Roxane Philson commented: “We want to obliterate the obstacles that are stopping girls from getting into the classroom and to invest in teacher training so that effective, empowering learning can be accessed by all.

“Girls who don’t complete secondary education are six times more likely to be child brides. Educating all women in sub-Saharan Africa through secondary school could save 1.2 million lives each year.

No girl should be denied the opportunity to fulfil her potential, and we are urging leaders to double the global funding for girls’ education by 2020.”

On International Women’s Day (8 March) thousands of ONE activists around the world will take part in a global “walk-in” where they will hand-deliver a 340,000-signature open letter to their elected representatives calling for every girl to receive an education.