Investment surpasses April 2016 commitment three years ahead of schedule
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2018 – The World Bank Group (WBG) has invested US$3.2 billion over the past two years in education projects benefiting adolescent girls, surpassing its April 2016 commitment to invest US$2.5 billion over five years, the organization announced today on the eve of International Women’s Day.
The investments, largely concentrated across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are helping provide adolescent girls (ages 12-17) with access to quality education at the secondary level, and ensuring they are enrolled in and stay in school through a number of initiatives, including scholarships, conditional cash transfers, and basic facilities at school like clean drinking water and toilets.
“Investing in gender equality and girls’ education isn’t just the right thing to do; economically, it’s one of the smartest things to do,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “Accelerating these investments is a critical part of our strategy of investing in people to drive inclusive, sustainable growth. This milestone is an important reminder – if girls are equipped with the education and human capital they need, they have the potential to secure the future of their countries.”
New WBG education programs that include support for adolescent girls focus on education quality and access in 21* countries, including some of the world’s poorest. A project in Bangladesh, for example, is providing educational stipends for girls, building separate toilets, and introducing a girls’ empowerment curriculum that promotes health and hygiene. In Lebanon, the WBG is working with the government to promote equitable access to education, with a focus on girls and refugees, while in Tanzania, it is boosting girls’ enrollment by making schools affordable, reducing the time and distance to school, and proving teacher training on ways to reduce gender-based violence.
Today, some 130 million girls around the world between the ages of 6 and 17 are still not in school—75 percent of whom are adolescents. A World Bank study found that every year of secondary school education is correlated with an 18 percent increase in a girl’s future earning power.
Research consistently shows the importance of girls’ education: better educated women are healthier, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and provide better health care and education for their children.
The WBG has long been committed to girls’ education, with current and past projects focused on adolescent girls in Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and dozens of other countries. Previous projects have already borne results: In Pakistan, for example, a program that provided tuition vouchers and cash stipends for 400,000 girls increased girls’ enrollment in Punjab’s secondary schools by nine percent.
Educating adolescent girls and promoting gender equality is part of a broader and holistic effort, which includes financing and analytical work to remove financial barriers that keep girls out of school, delay child marriage, improve access to reproductive health services, and strengthen skills and job opportunities for adolescent girls and young women.
* Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Moldova, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Zambia.
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