The world’s 1.1 billion girls are a source of power, energy and creativity. When they have access to the right institutions and environments to learn and grow, girls can unlock new opportunities for themselves and their communities.
But gender barriers and social norms limit choices and rights – for boys and men, too – and stand in the way of growth that works for everyone.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) makes long-term commitments and takes a “multi-sector” approach allowing us to address the interrelated causes of poverty that span generations while helping to facilitate systemic change.
What does this mean? It does not just mean that girls like Mwatime, 7, have access to quality education – though that is part of it. In fact, AKDN’s investments in East Africa have strengthened the quality of education for 330,000 girls and boys in East Africa. It has equipped schools, teachers and parents with the tools they need to nurture children’s minds from an early age.
But there is more to AKDN’s approach to development. It also means Mwatime can get the support that people in the West often take for granted – from parents, teachers and other community leaders – to remain in school. It means ensuring she has access to healthcare and nutritious food to fuel her day.
It means Mwatime can focus on being a girl, so she can one day grow up to be a source of power, energy, and creativity for her family and community.
This text was adapted from a story published on the AKF Canada website.