26 September 2014: This week in New York, Plan International announced its part in a groundbreaking effort spearheaded by The Clinton Global Foundation’s ‘No Ceilings’ Initiative and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution.
This concerted effort, entitled Girls CHARGE (Collaborative Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Global Education), brings together more than 20 organisations that are dedicating their expertise, resources and broad-based reach to ensure that millions of girls across the world are able to transition into and complete secondary education in the next 5 years.
Getting girls into secondary education
The focus of this initiative on secondary education is unique and an important departure from focusing solely on primary education. Understanding and supporting girls to make this transition from primary to secondary education lies at the heart of Plan’s global Because I am a Girl campaign.
We welcome therefore the leadership of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard on girls’ education, particularly highlighting the issues currently denying millions of adolescent girls around the world their right to an education.
For girls to go to and stay in school and reach their full potential, schools must offer both a safe learning environment and a rich learning experience. And this must span a minimum of 9 years, providing girls with a strong foundation from which they can transition into tertiary or higher education.
Yet one of the biggest and most intractable challenges girls face in school is gender-based violence. In fact, research shows that the levels of violence in schools, from peers and teachers, can be much higher than they are in wider society.
Schools are meant to be safe havens for children where they are supported and nurtured, where their minds are expanded and their passions ignited. And yet in many parts of the world, school can be a place to fear.
Supporting 150,000 girls in school
That is why Plan International has joined forces with the Clinton Global Initiative Girl CHARGE commitment. Over the next 5 years Plan will support 150,000 girls in 785 schools in South East Asia to create a learning environment free from school-related gender-based violence where girls and boys are free to learn and play.
The Promoting Equality and Safety in Schools programme aims to develop a zero tolerance approach in schools to all forms of violence and ensure these schools can become models of success that will be admired and eventually replicated by other countries in the region.
We know what is possible when the rights of girls are truly protected. This commitment raises the ambition of what we can do together to make that a reality for all girls.