At Batonga, we are harnessing the economic potential of the most marginalized female youth and arming adolescent girls with education and skills to transform their economic potential into economic power. We strive to go “beyond the paved road,” and target those girls who are “invisible” or typically left out of traditional education and development initiatives.
There is a growing consensus that the most cost-effective way to help African nations reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for their citizens is to support education for girls. In the words of Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “To educate girls is to reduce poverty.”
Investment in adolescent girls’ education provides a multitude of diverse benefits for girls, their families, and their communities. Yet, gender parity rates in sub-Saharan Africa remain the lowest in the world, especially when it comes to secondary school education (grades 7 to 12). Adolescent girls are most often the first forced to give up their schooling due to the debilitating effect of poverty and the AIDS pandemic, creating a vicious cycle that persists across generations. Of the girls who do complete secondary school, only 5.24 percent go on to university, vocational school or some form of job training (World Bank)
Adolescence is a critical occasion to educate and empower young girls with the tools they need to live healthy lives and better care for their future children. Secondary school, in particular, is a major opportunity to equip adolescent girls with the skills and knowledge they need to dramatically reduce disease spread, hunger, early marriage, and infant and child mortality in their countries. Families, communities and entire economies benefit when girls’ human potential is realized.
Education for women and girls creates a positive ripple effect on the health and well-being of families, communities, and entire countries.
When an adolescent girl receives a secondary education, she is less likely to contract HIV and she is more likely to postpone childbirth to a healthy age, and have healthier and better-nourished children with higher infant survival rates.
In addition to the multitude of health beneﬁts, secondary education for an adolescent girl also results in dramatic increases in her eventual wages, which increases her own prosperity and boosts her country’s economy.
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