Girl Effect

This video came out last year, and you may have already seen it (I've been living under a rock in Kenya, so I just saw it for the first time today).  It shows how powerful words, and some well-timed music, can be.  I find it's a fantastic example of innovation in the CSR arena.  Funded primarly by the Nike Foundation and the NoVo Foundation, the video introduces the Girl Effect - a collaborative effort to publicize the importance of educating girls around the world and the chain reaction such action would cause in terms of improving communities and growing economies.  The effort draws on development and policy experts, economists, private citizens and larger community efforts and NGOs to think critically about the role each of us can play in helping girls to reach their potential.  I love the pdf download available on the site (www.girleffect.org) which provides facts about girls throughout the world, explains the financials behind the approach and gives targeted ideas for involvement.  That's one of my favorite parts - there are checklists and questions to be used in evaluating how you can address the issue - whether "you" are a government or international organization, a private donor, an NGO or a private employer.  See page 19 in the doc (I can't figure out how to link to it) for evaluation tools and ideas.

One thing I'll say is that as right-on as this is with all the energy, collaboration, facts and figures - I found something missing based on my time in Kenya and local efforts to keep girls in school.  I was surprised to see that in 50+ pages of discussion about educating girls and the reasons they're pulled out of school so early (if they go at all) there was not one mention of access to sanitary towels playing a part.  According to ZanaA, an organization started in Kenya that mirrors many of the goals of Girl Effect, this is the premier reason why girls aren't staying in school as long as they could - they're simply missing too many days because they don't have the materials they need to be out and about while dealing with their menstrual cycle.

It's a well-known problem in many Sub Saharan African countries (and beyond), so I was surprised not to see a mention in the Girl Effect literature.  I do see lots of invitations for feedback and partnership - so I hope this is something that can be added to the great framework they've set out.