(MDG2) The Power of Education

Fact: More than 600 million girls live in the developing world. It is estimated that more than one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school. (www.girleffect.org)

Why should it matter if girls receive an education? Culturally, many countries believe that women and girls take care of the home and raise children. They do not need an education for their role as wife and mother. However, I believe education is the key to changing the world. If we educate women and girls, we empower them to make decisions that will affect themselves, their families, and their communities which will hopefully result in a better and more peaceful world.

  • Statistics show that when a girl in the developing world receives 7 or more years of education, she will marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children. An extra year of primary school education will boost her wages in the job market by 10-20 % and an extra year in secondary school will boost it 15-25%. (www.girleffect.org)
  • In a world where 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day (World Bank 2008, www.globalissues.org), the education of girls is a powerful tool to fight poverty in some of the world’s poorest areas. According to The Girl Effect data, “When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.”
  • By receiving an education, women and girls can make informed choices about health care and pregnancy, which can lead to a reduction in maternal and child mortality and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

As women of faith, we need to support and assist girls locally and globally to receive the education they deserve, but there are many obstacles girls must overcome just to attend school.

Culturally, many families do not believe girls should receive an education and that the role of the woman is in the home. Some men are afraid of the power women might gain by receiving an education. Even if a family is willing to send their children to school, many cannot afford it and if they need to choose which child to send, it will most likely be the boy. If a girl has the opportunity to attend school, their family may not be able to pay for uniforms and supplies. Transportation can be another obstacle for a girl to receive an education and, if they do decide to walk the several miles to attend school, quite often the roads can be dangerous and can subject girls to violence along the way. Many schools do not have proper bathroom facilities for girls, or male teachers may subject young women to sexual harassment.

As women, we need to use our education to find ways to offer girls around the world an opportunity to receive their own education. It starts with just one woman and one girl, and together we can empower a world full of women and girls to be economically self-supporting, making healthy choices for themselves and their families, leading their villages and communities to work together and building bridges for a peaceful world.

How can you and your women’s ministry become involved in a girl’s education? Women are resourceful and creative, and I empower you to get involved. Share with us your ideas and projects on educating girls and together we can change the world, one woman and girl at a time.

This blog post is part of our series on the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations as part of the End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign. Millennium Development Goal #2 is “Achieve Universal Primary Education.” Please visit www.endpoverty2015.org for more information on the MDGs, including fact sheets and updates on advances on this goal.

This blog post is contributed by Barbara Anderson, director of “All Hands In,” a ministry organization sponsored by Trinity Baptist Church of East Arlington, MA, addressing the issue of human trafficking.

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Dates for 2013–Plan Ahead for Awareness!

As you’re looking ahead to 2013, you may want to jot some dates down on your ministry calendar. Any of the dates listed below provide an excellent opportunity to have educational moments, celebrations, advocacy events, and so forth. If it’s too late for some of the closer 2013 dates, get them on your calendar for next year! I’ve not provided links because many dates have several potential sites as resources. Just do an Internet search for the name of the date or month and you’ll come up with information, as well as often resources and ideas to use. If you don’t, use your creativity!

  • Global Family Day—Jan 1
  • Human Trafficking Day—Jan 11
  • Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month–February
  • Women’s History Month—March
  • World Day of Prayer—first Friday of March (March 1, 2013)
  • International Women’s Day—March 8
  • World Health Day—April 7
  • Mother’s Day—May 12
  • International Children’s Day—June 1
  • Father’s Day—June 16
  • World Refugee Day—June 20
  • International Day of Peace—September 21
  • Domestic Violence Month & Breast Cancer Awareness Month—October 2013
  • World Food Day—October 16
  • Baptist Women’s Day of Prayer—November 4
  • Human Rights Day—December 10

There are many, many awareness days or months that I’ve not included on this list–I didn’t want you scrolling forever. Just go to this great list: http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/awareness/awareness-dates.php. (Be aware, I did find a couple of dates in their list that were incorrect, so check what you find by other listings.)

(Image courtesy One Way Stock, Creative Commons license)

(MDG1) Hunger and Poverty

Introduction

In the year 2000, the Millennium Declaration was signed by over 189 world leaders of countries around the world both rich and poor. The United Nations declaration set forth multiple goals aiming towards eradicating poverty and increasing access to health and education to empower persons globally. In 2002, the Millennium Campaign was launched to help all citizens advocate and participate in addressing the Millennium Development Goals that were set forth. The plan? To end extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.

The eight goals are: (1) End hunger; (2) Universal education; (3) Gender equity; (4) Child health; (5) Maternal health; (6) Combat HIV/AIDS; (7) Environmental sustainability; and (8) Global partnership.

We will explore each of these eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in this blog over the next few months.

Millennium Development Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger.

  • In 2009, about 1.02 billion people were estimated to be chronically deprived of adequate food.
  • According to The State of Food Inescurity in the World, the number of undernourished people increased by 105 million from 2008 to 2009.

(Both statistics from FAO and the Eight Millennium Development Goals, accessed at http://www.endpoverty2015.org/resources/.)

Through the focus on hunger in MDG1, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is focusing on three targets to achieve by 2015: halve the proportion of people whose income is less than US$1 a day; achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people; and halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. They are addressing the improvement of agricultural productivity and promoting better nutritional practices, as well as enhancing direct and immediate access to food by the neediest.

But I can almost hear you thinking as you read this, “Okay, I’m concerned about world hunger but I’m not sitting in the UN meetings. How can I be involved?”

1000 Conversations Campaign

American Baptist Women’s Ministries is one of many denominational women’s groups who have signed on to participate in the 1000 Conversations campaign supporting the 1000 Days initiative. You can read our press release giving more background here. Congregations, women’s ministry groups, and individuals can all sign onto the 1000 Conversations campaign. You can help spread the word about the important particularly of maternal and infant nutrition in the development of healthy children, which leads to healthy and productive adults who lift up their entire community. Such small steps for such great returns!

Additionally, Bread for the World is leading a collaborative effort including many women’s ministry organizations (including AB Women’s Ministries) in developing a Lenten resource focused on maternal and infant health. It will be available shortly after the turn of the year, so keep an eye out for that. We’ll be announcing it’s availability on our Facebook page, of course, so that’s one easy to find out when it’s ready!

Of course, there are many other hunger and poverty organizations–just choose one you particularly click with and go to work. We’re coming up on the holidays–consider an alternative gift market that features empowering gifts. When you’re doing your own giving, consider making donations to organizations in the names of your children’s teachers, Sunday school teachers, pastors, mail carriers, bus drivers, hair stylists, and so forth. Be an advocate on hunger and poverty issues by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper about local hunger initiatives, set up a “backpack” program in your church that sends children home with a backpack of food to help them get through the weekend, and so forth. There are so many opportunities out there. Especially at this time of Thanksgiving when, here in the U.S., all the talk is about food, we should be thinking and praying for those for whom food is in short supply. Give thanks, and give.

This blog post is part of our series on the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations as part of the End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign. Millennium Development Goal #1 is “Eradicate Extreme Poverty and H.” Please visit www.endpoverty2015.org for more information on the MDGs, including fact sheets and updates on advances on this goal.