Girls Education: What Stands in the Way? Water!

Water Programme Extension to Reach 200 More Villages

Photo: World Vision

As I have expressed in my previous posts, I strongly believe that education is the most crucial force in breaking the cycle of poverty. Education should be a human right because when a child is denied an education, they are put at a great disadvantage. Globally, there are 57 million primary school-aged children who are currently not in school. This is not to say there has not been immense progress around education (in 1999 there were 108 million primary school-aged children who did not attend school). This progression is reassuring leaving me to hope that with more time and efforts, all children no matter their background or gender can be given the chance to be educated. Research has also shown that this growth will help reach the development goals of our future. Education is linked to solving development goals such as gender empowerment, child and maternal health, reducing hunger, fighting the spread of HIV and diseases of poverty and encouraging economic growth.

Education, to me, is imperative in improving the current situation of women and girls in the developing world. Unfortunately, the education of girls is often not valued in developing communities. However, the fastest way to empower oppressed girls is to give them the right to learn. By giving a girl an education you are giving her the opportunity to rise above the oppression and the chance to transform her society. According to research, a girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult, empower herself, lift her family, help her community, and change her country.

There are far too many factors that are currently holding girls back from receiving an education. A major and surprising component holding girls back from going to school is the lack of access to water. This is one of the many reasons World Vision and Strong Women, Strong World has a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) program. Not only do 884 million people currently lack access to safe water, not having enough water is one of the biggest problems we face globally. Safe drinking water improves sanitation, and water resource management can lead to a reduction in child mortally, cut transmission of malaria, improve public health, and reduce extreme poverty. The lack of water in developing communities directly effects girls because surveys from 45 developing countries show that women and children bear the primary responsibility for water collection leaving girls little time to attend school. Often girls are required walk miles and spend their entire days collecting water for their families. This time-consuming chore prevents girls from being able to attend school with the boys in their communities. Through World Vision’s WASH program, we provide sustainable, safe and accessible drinking water to communities in need. This in turn, allows for girls to join their male counter parts in the class room instead of going on long journeys to receive water. With your help, we can continue to help SWSW and our WASH program create powerful change.

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