Not often does one come across a girl who is interested in chasing a career in agriculture. Paradoxically, research shows that more than 60 per cent of women worldwide are responsible for putting food on the table. In that case, why aren’t more people, notably young women taking up a profession in agriculture?
Engaging in sports intrinsically makes you more mindful about your body. You may start speculating how to be healthier – a good entry point for inquiring about your general well-being. For adolescent girls in marginalised communities, these questions can lead to discussions about more sensitive topics, particularly sexual and reproductive health.
“My name is Salimatu, I am 20 years old and an ELA member of the Kukubana club in Rokupr. I really do not know how I contracted the virus. One day, my aunt saw that I was bleeding, and I had a high fever. Knowing too well these are symptoms of the disease, she called the Ebola hotline (117) and they arrived later with an ambulance. I was taken to the Lakka treatment centre where I stayed for three weeks.
Everyone, from Save the Children, Plan International, and UNICEF, to BRAC, agrees that the early years are critical to a child’s overall development. How best to invest in those early years is a fertile topic for exploration and debate among academics, scientists, and policymakers. What if early childhood and adolescent development was also seen as a potential career path for women?
Ajah is nineteen, and attends Bor Secondary School in South Sudan’s remote Jonglei state. In a country with a literacy rate of just sixteen percent for women fifteen years of age and above, Ajah is an exception to the rule. And she is leading the charge to change the rules.
I wrote recently about the impressive return on investment calculated by one World Bank economist based on the per-girl cost of BRAC’s girls’ empowerment clubs, Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents. Numbers are one thing, but what really hits home are the results in terms of people’s lives – people like Olivia Kyomuhendo, age 22.
This post originally appeared on the HBR Blog Network as part of a special collection on Scaling Social Impact.
Forty years ago, British economist E.F. Schumacher, one of the fathers of the Green movement, declared that "small is beautiful" and called for "a new orientation of science and technology towards the organic, the gentle, the non-violent, the elegant and beautiful." The retort from mainstream economists was swift and scathing: "Small is stupid." Without economies of scale, they argued, developing societies would never develop the efficiencies needed to modernize.
If you want to help spur the economy and improve people’s lives over the long term in a place like Uganda – the youngest country on earth, with a median age of 14 – then you have to talk and listen to young people like Brenda Masika. That’s one of the key lessons of BRAC’s partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, which has enabled a speedy scale-up in a country facing a massive youth bulge.
Uganda celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain on October 9th, with revelry on the Kololo Airstrip in the centre of Kampala, the capital city. Dignitaries from several African countries were on hand to join Ugandans for the celebrations, which ended with a free concert by the country’s top entertainers.
Olivia Kyomuhendo, 22, walked into Entebbe airport and wanted to pinch herself. “Am I dreaming?” she asked herself. Olivia was at the main airport in Uganda with three girls from her videography program, waiting to fly to Turkey. For Olivia and her three friends, this was their first time out of the country and anticipation was great. When the voice on the loud speaker announced that their flight had arrived, Olivia jumped up with excitement. It was finally going to happen. She was going to travel outside of Uganda.
If girls had the same access to resources as their male peers, went to school regularly, led lives free of domestic violence and avoided early marriage, agricultural output would increase 4 percent and the number of malnourished men, women and children would drop 17 percent.