Harnessing the power of the Girl Effect movement and the belief that by investing in girls we can stop poverty before it starts, the Nike Foundation continues to shed light on the need for girl-specific programming with the introduction of 12+ (Rwanda) at this week’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York. It was announced Wednesday, Sept. 21.
The Nike Foundation is also elevating the study “Measuring the Economic Gain of Investing in Girls: The Girl Effect Dividend,” claimed to be the first paper of its kind to measure the economic impact of excluding adolescent girls in development countries, as well as an unprecedented, girl-specific summary of the 2012 World Development Report, “Smarter Economics: Investing in Girls,” being released by the World Bank this week.[ Also Read: Medicines for Diseases that Strike Women ]
The Government of Rwanda, the Nike Foundation, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), are partnering to pilot the 12+ program – a year-long, health-based learning experience for 12-year old girls in Rwanda.
The program establishes a new “norm” where girls have access to information, expect to be informed, have knowledgeable mentors and friends, and find out necessary information. 12+ is designed to reach girls before their 13th birthdays to ensure that those most vulnerable to unhealthy outcomes receive the information and care they need.[ Also Read: 100,000 Black Women Tested for HIV in 2010 ]
Driven by a Commitment to Action (CTA) at CGI, the 12+ program will foster a support network through mentorship, safe spaces for girls, education in reproductive health and financial literacy, and interactive challenges that leverage the power of strong social networks and social capital.
“Adolescence remains the most critical period when girls are at the greatest risk of being impacted by irreversible negative consequences. By investing in and equipping girls as early as the age of 12 we are creating the next generation of girl champions, and promoting healthier, more sustainable communities and nations,” said Maria Eitel, president and CEO of the Nike Foundation. “This is what we call the girl effect.”
The 12+ program is one of more than 80 programs funded by the Nike Foundation that supports the Girl Effect on the ground in developing countries around the world.
The Nike Foundation identifies and funds bold, creative, ambitious programs – new or established – that support the Girl Effect in the areas of education, violence and safety, child marriage and pregnancy.