From the beginning, Girl Up has worked tirelessly to support the empowerment of girls everywhere. We have raised more than $8.5 million for UN programs that help girls in developing countries have the opportunity to go to school, see a doctor and stay safe from violence. Our unique leadership training and skill development has created a generation of current and future girl leaders; leaders who have helped Girl Up raise millions of dollars for United Nations programs, lobbied members of Congress to stop child marriage and ensure that girls are registered at birth, and have showed their schools, friends and communities the true power of girls.
Investments in Girls
Since 2010, Girl Up has raised more than $8,500,000 for programs working to improve the lives of adolescent girls. Grants have supported comprehensive programs in Guatemala, Liberia, Malawi, Ethiopia, India, and Uganda making sure that girls have access to education and healthcare, stay safe, have leadership opportunities and are counted by their governments. Girl Up has invested in direct services and national advocacy efforts through the UN and implementing partners. Girl Up has directly impacted more than 34,000 girls.
Our funding has also resulted in key policy changes in Guatemala, Liberia and Malawi.
In Malawi, about half of all girls are married by the time they are 18, so this is a much-needed step to recognize the rights of girls. And thanks to our community of supporters, we helped girls in Malawi stand up against child marriage: In February 2015, Malawi passed a law which raises the legal age of marriage from 15 years old to 18 years old.
Similarly, girl advocates in Guatemala helped advocate for the successful passage of legislation to increase the legal age of marriage from 14 years old for girls (16 years for boys) to 18 years old. Guatemala has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America. The new law protects young girls who are pressured or forced into marriage, and reduces discrimination against girls by holding girls and boys to the same age standard.
Thanks in part to Girl Up funding, fellows with Let Girls Lead advocated for the successful passage of the Children’s Law of Liberia in 2012 and are now working to support its implementation. This law guarantees children’s rights, offers girls protection from child marriage, and provides victims of domestic abuse with increased support.
Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments:
U.S. Foreign Policy
Advocates across the international girl community have long been advocating for more protections to prevent adolescent girls from being forced to get married before they are ready. Fundamentally, child marriage is a violation of human rights. It’s also a harmful practice that drags down communities and economies. When girls are safe, healthy, educated, and empowered, research has shown that they help have healthier children, earn more income, and help grow economies – making them powerful agents of positive change.
Girl Up supporters rallied around the issue, coming together to take 17,000 online actions and hold dozens of meetings with their members of Congress on the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. This effort paid off in 2013 when provisions preventing early and forced marriage were included in a reauthorization bill. Senator Durbin (IL) issued a video message thanking Girl Up supporters for their tireless work on this issue.
When a girl is not counted by her government, she’s more at risk of early marriage, human trafficking and child labor. When she grows older, it will be harder for her to own land or have a bank account. Yet 40 percent of children worldwide aren’t registered by their government at birth. This lack of official documentation disproportionately affects girls.
In the 113th Congress, the Girls Count Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Thanks to the hard work of our grassroots supporters, the bill passed both chambers in a bipartisan fashion and was signed into law by the President on July 12, 2015. It is now Public Law 114-24, and states it is now U.S. policy to encourage countries to ensure all girls and boys are provided birth certificates and other official documentation.
Girls from around the world generate real, tangible change through our leadership platform. By participating in our programs, they also experience a dramatic increase in self-confidence when speaking, active and being—seeing themselves as a powerful force for change.
Our leadership platform includes the following programs:
GIRL UP TEEN ADVISORS
117 teen girls have participated on the Teen Advisory Board since the campaign launched in 2010. These girls have been trained to be spokespeople for the campaign and have led our strategy since the beginning, starting the first Girl Up Club, piloting the first regional Club coalition and bringing Girl Up to college with them. Teen Advisors have collectively raised nearly $500,000, completed more than 7,000 hours of service, hosted hundreds of events in their communities around the world and performed nearly 500 advocacy actions.
Teen Advisors have also been featured at the UN, the White House, the State Department, at the Girls20 Summit in Russia, have traveled to Ethiopia, Guatemala, and India with the campaign and have spoken on MSNBC, to NPR and the Guardian, on Huffington Post and many other media outlets throughout the world.
GIRL UP CLUBS
Girl Up supporters have started more than 1,330 Clubs across the U.S. and around the world, with Clubs registered in 80 countries and currently active in 43 states.
GIRL UP CAMPUS
Launched in 2014, Girl Up Campus clubs can be found on 125 colleges and universities. Campus Leaders build a movement for Girl Up at their school and help mentor younger students in their local area.
The Girl Up Leadership Summit brings together hundreds of girls in Washington, DC every summer for a three-day training with speakers, workshops and direct advocacy on Capitol Hill. Girl Up hosted its 5th Annual Leadership Summit in July 2016, with more than 275 girls and 152 meetings with policymakers in Washington, DC.
WISCI GIRLS STEAM CAMP
The WiSci Girls STEAM Camp aims to bridge that gender gap in science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics through access to education, mentorship opportunities and leadership training. To date, 213 girls from twelve countries have participated in the WiSci Camp. The camp has been held in Rwanda (summer 2015) and Peru (summer 2016), and it will be held in Malawi in the summer of 2017.