Friday, July 11, 2008

The Girl Effect: Watch This Video

Did you know:
" • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
(George Psacharopoulos and Harry Anthony Patrinos, “Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update,” Policy Research Working Paper 2881 [Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002].)

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
(George T. Bicego and J. Ties Boerma, “Maternal Education and Child Survival: A Comparative Study of Survey Data from 17 Countries,” Social Science and Medicine 36 (9) [May 1993]: 1207–27.)

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
(Phil Borges, with foreword by Madeleine Albright, Women Empowered: Inspiring Change in the Emerging World [New York: Rizzoli, 2007], 13.) "

These statistics come from The Girl Effect, a web site created by the Nike Foundation and NoVo Foundation to educate people about the positive impact educating and empowering girls can have on a community. In addition to the video above, which I recommend you take a couple minutes to watch, they have created four short videos about girls who are either benefiting from, or could benefit from The Girl Effect.

The one question I had, as did Blogging for a Better Tomorrow, and some of the commenters on the blog, is how authentic is this campaign given Nike's track record with sweatshops? Does anyone know what the most up to date information is on how they are doing in that regard?

Whatever the motivation is behind the campaign, the ideas behind it are important to support. You can get involved with The Girl Effect by sharing the web site and videos, learning more about the issue, and donating to a project that support girls on The Girl Effect's Global Giving page.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof had a column, The Luckiest Girl, around a similar idea last week. In his accompanying blog post, Buying Goats and Other Aid he recommends foreign aids groups you can support. The 350+ people who commented on his post (wow!) made recommendations as well.

Hat tip to my pal Noel Brewer, who forwarded me the video.


  1. Britt - thanks for highlighting the Girl Effect and for the shout-out to the GlobalGiving take action page.

    Your question about Nike is fair. Let me just say that we at GG are really pleased to work with Nike, and I had the chance to spend time in Beaverton recently, including with their extraordinary VP of CSR, Hannah Jones. They are the real deal. Hannah reports to the CEO, and they have armies of folks focused on CSR. Every brand and every region has CSR folks embedded. They spent several years after her arrival getting the supply chain stuff fixed, while - among other environmental, and workplace initiatives - also spinning off the Nike Foundation (which is focused on adolescent girls in developing countries, and where the Girl Effect campaign is housed), and developing Let Me Play, an innovative program of investing in Sport and Development Projects around the world that GG is also really psyched to be involved with.

    For an outsider's take on the supply chain issues, folks can check out this website post and can see the detail Nike has up at their CSR website.

    Hope this is helpful.
    Donna @ GlobalGiving

  2. Britt - I love the video and thrilled to see this post. I just did a blog-- about Global Footprint Network and Camfed and the impact of helping girls on just about everything everyone wants to see change in the world, also. Goldman Sachs just teamed with Camfed. The more corporate support for GlobalGiving, Camfed, Care, and all the other organizations helping women around the world, the better, is what I think. They may not be perfect, but they're made up of humans, too. I'm glad to see more of the wealth being spread this way.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Britt (and Donna!), thanks so much for all you! It's so encouraging to learn more about organizations and programs like these. K.

  4. Britt, I forwarded this post to a friend here in Maine who founded a scholarship fund for girls in Cambodia. I think it made an impression: he forwarded it to his board with this comment,

    "With profound feeling for the power behind this link, 'The Girl Effect' I dare you also to look at this. I did.

    I wept.

    This only reminds me that we are on the right track."

    Just wanted to you to be aware of this ripple effect! The scholarship fund's website is

  5. Thanks, goecoach1, for the link to Camfed.

    Brita - thanks for sharing the ripple effect and the link to the Cambodian Arts and Scholarship Foundation.

    Donna - Thanks so much for responding to my inquiry. As I mentioned on my comment on BlogHer , because there are strong advocates for both points of view, my guess is there is truth to both sides: The folks at the Nike Foundation really care about what they do and the company is trying to do things better, but they are still a huge corporation trying to produce things for the lowest price possible to make the biggest profit.

    When corporations and nonprofits get involved there will always be compromises on both sides, but ultimately, if more people's lives are made better than worse by the partnership, I think it is a positive thing.

  6. Thanks for the shout-out, Britt! I'm glad someone else is bringing light to the great good that the Girl Effect could have, but not without a hint of skepticism towards the motivation behind it. Keep on having fun and doing good :)


  7. Britt, this one's in my queue to blog, as 'the girl effect' is an important concept, which we saw firsthand at, and just this past week with the new Women Leaders for the World delegates including Carrie at Girls for A Change! I was proud to graduate from their program last year, and am anxious to pay it forward and blog their progress, for it's inspiring and as the video you've shared reinforces, 'no big deal...just humanity at stake.' ;-)

  8. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Hey Britt! Great post even though I'm late to the party. Here's a followup

  9. I'm really late to discover the Girl Effect - I have Oprah to thank for turning me on to it! I think the video itself does a really good job of conveying its message and inspiring the viewer. However as I looked a little deeper into how the campaign as a whole is set up, I think there are some missed opportunities. I wrote more fully about it in this blog post:

  10. Thanks for sharing your post, Lucy!

  11. michal_uni@hotmail.com9:18 PM

    Considering Nike is a partner of the GE, how do you feel about their slave factories and involvement in womens right's abuses over the last 50 years ? Here is a quote from wiki

    "Nike has been criticized for contracting with factories in countries such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico. Vietnam Labour Watch, an activist group, has documented that factories contracted by Nike have violated minimum wage and overtime laws in Vietnam as late as 1996... "

    Im keen to hear your reply.

    Mik from Downunder

  12. michal_uni@hotmail.com9:22 PM

    Sorry i just noticed you have already addressed the "NIKE being a corporate arm of satan" fact.

    I dont mean to spam, but It seems that you have made a deal with the devil. Nothing good will come of that. Nike will penetrate the thirdworld countries from the back, while you feed it from the front. Im sorry but i really do not agree with corporate criminals being apart of anything good.


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