Today we mark the International Day of the Girl Child, when we highlight the world’s need to recognize girls rights, needs and last but not least – their potential. On this day, we share an example from The Hunger Project, one of the projects supported by the Embassy. The Hunger Project recently launched a programme that works towards bridging the gap between young girls and elected women leaders in villages of India.
Increasing women and girls’ education is crucial for economic growth. Increased educational attainment accounts for about 50 per cent of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years. Additionally, a study using data from 219 countries from 1970 to 2009 found that, for every one additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality decreased by 9.5 per cent. The list of positive effects of empowered women goes on.
The girls involved in the Hunger Project claim their rights and demonstrate their abilities and potential not just today, but every day. The project has also assisted in setting up Sukanya Clubs, which are open and safe learning spaces where adolescent girls in rural India gather to learn about topics such as rights, health, violence and education. Taking part in the various activities, the girls realize their opportunities, gain confidence and build friendships. Being encouraged to take up roles as influencers in their communities and stand up against child marriage, these girls have proven their strength and abilities to bring about change in their own lives as well as in the communities.
Norway supports several projects in India that are working towards empowering women within the local governance framework. The core of Norway’s work for gender equality focus on increasing girl’s and women’s freedom, opportunities and power. The government’s Action Plan for women’s rights and gender equality in development- and foreign policies gives priority to education for girls, women's political and economic empowerment, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
Progress in all these areas are crucial, not just for girls and women to have the freedom, power and opportunities to shape their own lives, but for the world to move forward. Women make up half of the world’s population. Their skills, resources and leadership are crucial parts of the road towards peaceful and prosperous societies.
Watch these films about the Hunger Project's initatives: