UN World Food Programme

Girls Just Wanna Have...Textbooks

In Kenya, Molly (right) has benefited from WFP school meals in the classroom. These daily meals encourage parents to send their daughters to school and keep them there. Photo: WFP/Rein Skullerud

Can you imagine starting school each day in a classroom with few if any girls? Or having to fight for an opportunity to stay in school? For girls around the world, this is a reality. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 62 million girls around the world are not in school -- and millions more must fight to stay there. A new USAID initiative, called Let Girls Learn hopes to change that.

In the developed world, some may take for granted the opportunity to get an education. But in the developing world, there is no guarantee that this opportunity will exist, especially for young girls. USAID’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative helps the public take action for girls’ education and provides useful tools for learning more about this complicated issue. To support these efforts, USAID is giving US$232 million for new girls’ education programmes in Afghanistan, Jordan, Nigeria and South Sudan, and for existing efforts in Guatemala.

Educating girls can dramatically improve the lives and livelihoods of families and entire communities. For example, USAID’s fact sheet says:

• One more year of education increases a woman’s income by up to 25 percent.

• A girl who has a basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.

• Children born to educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of 5.

• If all women in sub-Saharan Africa had a secondary education, 1.8 million lives would be saved each year.

There are many ways you can join the campaign and take action for girls’ education, starting with WFP. You can provide school meals to girls by donating or taking our quiz here. School meals not only provide students with nutrition needed for a productive day, they also encourage parents to send their daughters to school. Molly is one example of a young girl who has benefited from WFP’s daily meals; check out this short video about her school life here. Find other ways to take action for girls’ education here.

You will find more information at USAID’s Let Girls Learn page. To learn more about the importance of investing in girls, take a look at this infographic. You can share what you learn with your social networks using #LetGirlsLearn, and encourage friends, family and classmates to get involved.