Access to education isn’t just about equity - it’s about liberation.
Educated girls become empowered women who have better access to employment opportunities, are able to make their own choices about family planning, and can break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage by affording to send their children to school.
Empowerment also leads to greater confidence which enhances motivation and the desire to lead and create better outcomes for their families, communities and future generations. Women are important and extraordinary agents of positive change and are a critical part of the solution to regenerate our communities and our planet.
Why is this important?
Today, more than 263 million children are out of school and 130 million of them are girls.
There is an essential link between female empowerment and regeneration. Project Drawdown found that when combining the positive impacts of empowering girls and women with access to education and voluntary family planning, these solutions together rank as the #1 most effective climate solution. By giving girls access to education and family planning, we can slow global population growth and reduce an estimated 105 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions by 2050. Further to that, when women are empowered it unlocks women’s leadership for policy change that benefits everyone.
It’s important that we work to ensure that not only do all children have access to education - but that we foster a new era of conservation and leadership that is driven by the voices and actions of girls and women.
How are others approaching this?
There are many ways that people around the world are working to educate girls and empower women. Below is a small sample. If you have any further examples that you think should be on this list, please get in touch.
In Burkina Faso, building “girl-friendly” schools in rural areas closer to where students live, and providing separate bathroom facilities and school meals, has seen the enrollment of girls skyrocket.
Access to education
The Family Grant (Bolsa Familia) program in Brazil pays parents a stipend in return for sending their kids to school. It has been incredibly successful not just in getting children to go to school but also in expanding basic health immunisations.
In Bangladesh, a girls’ scholarship program nearly quadrupled the number of girls enrolled in secondary school. During the pandemic, Bangladesh not only kept girls in school but improved their lives on multiple levels with a simple, low-cost stipend program.
As countries around the world struggle to bring students back into schools, the success of Brazil and Bangladesh keeping girls enrolled can provide useful insights to educators and policymakers.
The Campaign for Female Education
CAMFED is a pan-African movement revolutionising how girls’ education is delivered. They have created a model that radically improves girls’ prospects of becoming independent, influential women.
The model sees girls’ education as the starting point for social change and shows that partnering with communities to unlock the leadership potential of groups of girls and women at the margins of society creates a multiplier effect like no other with regards to positive outcomes and systemic change.
Since 1993, CAMFED has supported over 5.5 million children to go to school and over 200,000 women leaders in the CAMFED Association - a powerful network of leaders educated with CAMFED support.
Women-led social enterprise
The Sustainable Fish Farming Initiative is a social enterprise run by rural women in Nepal. It provides a self-sustaining, income generating food source through sustainable aquaculture practices and micro finance. Utilising available unused local ponds, the organisation trains rural women to create small commercial fish-farming collectives in rural villages, through which they earn revenue, create infrastructure with a portion of the proceeds, and diversify local food sources. This program has helped fight gender inequality, unemployment, and malnutrition in Nepal.
Social enterprises like this have a tremendous potential to help rural women gain economic independence and break the cycle of their poverty for themselves, their family, and their community.
Women leading conservation
Women from three Solomon Islands communities have united to help rangers protect turtles and play a new role in conservation education and ecotourism. The special nesting area they are helping to protect is called The Arnavons and is the largest hawksbill sea turtle rookery in the South Pacific.
The KAWAKI women’s network is developing the country’s first women’s-led ecotourism venture offering women and girls training opportunities. The network has also created a conservation awareness program that the present in schools and villages to educate and encourage community advocacy of the protection of the turtles.
Women on Country
Indigenous female rangers at Fish River Station in the Northern Territory of Australia are creating employment opportunities by connecting women to Country - providing opportunities for them to spend time on their Country, caring for both Country and culture.
The program supports the role of women and girls in land management, community leadership, and decision making, and is helping to maintain and pass along Traditional Knowledge of certain bush foods, plants and cultural practices to the next generation.
Regenerative actions you can take on
We believe every one of us has a role to play in Regeneration. If you are interested in getting involved, here are some actions we have identified that you could take on in your life.