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On International Day of the Girl Child, innovation key to more girls in school and learning

2013-10-11

#dayofthegirl

NEW YORK, 11 October 2013 – To mark the second International Day of the Girl Child, UNICEF is highlighting the power of innovation to get more girls in school and improve the quality of learning for all children.

Despite the decreasing number of girls out of school, too many around the world are still denied a quality education and a chance to reach their full potential.  Evidence shows that even a single year of secondary school for a girl correlates with as much as a 25 per cent increase in her future earnings.  But today, millions of girls are still out of school, including 31 million primary school aged girls. 

“Education can transform the lives of girls and strengthen their communities,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.  “Innovation can help us reach every girl by transforming education,”

With its partners, UNICEF is exploring how technology can increase access to education for out-of-school girls and improve the quality of learning for every child. 

In South Africa, the TechnoGirls partnership among UNICEF, the government, and over 100 private sector companies is connecting 10,000 adolescent girls with mentors from the tech sector to boost their skills and job readiness. 

Innovation is also helping governments and their partners to reach the hardest to reach children who are at the greatest risk of being out of school. In Uganda, EduTrack is using SMS text messaging to connect students and schools with UNICEF, enabling them to report on learning, teacher quality, and violence in schools. 

Innovation is not only about technology. It can mean embracing new ways to overcome other barriers that keep girls out of school, like improving sanitary facilities and keeping girls safe as they walk to and from school.

“Innovation is giving us powerful new tools to reach and teach more girls than ever before,” said Mr. Lake. “To help more girls go to school, stay in school, and complete their learning, we need to keep learning ourselves, using these new tools, generating new ideas, and scaling up the most promising innovations.”  

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Note to editors:

UNICEF Canada President and CEO David Morley is available to comment on global efforts to help every girl realize her right to education.

UNICEF observed the International Day of the Girl Child with a series of events.  These include a Google Hangout with students at the International School of Brooklyn and Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director to discuss girls’ education, and the unveiling of a unique interactive billboard which enables viewers to “erase” the image of child factory workers, revealing a hidden image of students in the classroom by award-winning actress Freida Pinto. 

Together with Intel, UNICEF earlier conducted a Code for Good Hackathon, an event which brought together students from Stanford University and Contra Costa Community College in a 24-hour coding marathon to devise new ways of increasing South Sudanese girls’ access to quality learning – a problem posed by UNICEF’s Innovation Lab in South Sudan.  Only 800 girls in the world’s newest country reach the last grade of secondary school. 

UNICEF released a video by internationally acclaimed American singer and songwriter Katy Perry ahead of the second annual International Day of the Girl Child. This year focuses on innovating for girls' education. Watch Katy Perry ‘roar’ to help today’s girls become tomorrow’s champions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wzjYpUMCKY

For photos, video and other assets, please visit: http://weshare.unicef.org/mediaresources

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries – more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.