The importance of educating girls for a more prosperous future for all

This World Population Day (11th July), Bridge is drawing attention to the importance of educating African girls, with this year marking the first time Sub-Saharan Africa will have the largest population of children on the planet.

By 2050 Africa and Asia will be home to 85% of the world’s young people, with the larger proportion in Africa. Currently, only 10% of children in sub-Saharan Africa are able to read a simple sentence by the age of 10. If these young people aren’t provided with an adequate education, there will be a global shortage of scientists, doctors and engineers. This could lead to a range of possible global catastrophes. Educating women and girls has proved particularly effective in reducing poverty on a local level in the short term. And with the children of educated women shown to be healthier and better educated, this leads to faster and sustained poverty reduction through generations.

Bridge has seen fantastic improvements in learning outcomes for all those attending our schools, it is particularly heartening that Bridge’s methodology has succeeded in achieving gender parity in the classroom. A new study by Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Michael Kremer in our Bridge Kenya schools confirms this, finding girls make the same leaps in learning as boys.

Bridge’s model focuses on arming teachers with scientifically proven techniques to elevate the learning of girls. Through approaches, such as gender sensitive instruction in lesson and textbook materials, expecting equal participation through ‘cold calling’ of boys and girls in the classroom and the use of female school leaders as role models, girls are empowered to succeed. By pushing this approach and the importance of women’s empowerment, Bridge Nigeria alone has provided a life-changing education to tens of thousands of girls in underserved communities, helping them complete primary school, do well in secondary school and open up opportunities offering prosperity and success.