The Adolescent Girls Initiative was launched October 10, 2008 in a moving ceremony held at the World Bank Headquarters. The program is a collaboration of the World Bank and the Nike Foundation, and aims to empower young girls through access to opportunity to assume leadership roles in their communities. The launch ceremony featured influential people in the field of development, including Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo, the CEO of Nike, Mark Parker, and World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Three young women, representing Guatemala, Liberia and Laos, however, were the stars of the ceremony. These three young women shared their personal experiences growing up in developing areas, and the importance increasing the role of women in society. Their heartbreaking, touching stories set the tone for the important sessions that followed.
The workshops that followed the launch ceremony offered strategic insight into what is necessary to accomplish the goals of the initiative. “The Girl Effect”, as the Nike Foundation has labeled it, was explained in detail. Basically, the underlying concept of the program is that if the world invests in young women, then equality and development will follow. When girls have an opportunity to contribute to the business sector, thanks to loans, they will be come community leaders through their market presence. Then, they will contribute back to their community through infrastructure development and return investment. Finally, they will get involved in the governance of their community, thanks to their accomplishments. All of this leads to more equality, faster development, and a world that is far better off. More information concerning the Adolescent Girls Initiative can be found at the World Bank website, here.
Date: October 10, 2008
Location: The World Bank Group Headquarters
Attended by: Jon McCahill