Girls Education Stops Child Marriage

Girls education turns out to be far more important to the world than most people think. The World Bank recently declared that not educating girls affects population growth and costs the global economy $15 to $30 trillion.

Yes, the global economy! How more important than that can you get?

But to say not educating girls ‘affects population growth’ is an understatement. A woman in school 12 years will have four to five fewer children than a woman with little or no schooling (Brookings Institution).

When asked what should be done to protect African wildlife, philanthropist Gregory Carr says, “Girls in school” … “It’s the No. 1 thing we will do for this planet.” … New York Times

Drawdown.org claims that Girls Education is just as important as Family Planning – they both have the capability of saving 59.6 gigatons of carbon emissions and thus both affect population growth equally. In fact, Drawdown says they are so intertwined, that they were grouped together to determine the impacts and then each assigned half.

Education will enable girls to handle changes to their lives and families that may come from having to leave their village and move to another area or even to an urban area.

Brookings also says that it will cost $39 billion, over what is already being spent, to educate all girls. That is a real bargain, compared to the cost of all the other alternatives to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change. And compared to what is spent on wars.

We work on a project that educates pastoral girls in a remote area – the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) of Tanzania. The name of the project is Maasai Harmonial Development and Sustainability.

We first thought that the solution to their unsustainability problems was family planning . . .

Until we started the project, women would have to travel 70km to the nearest hospital to give birth, take a sick person for care, or – to get a family planning method. But women rarely got family planning because of the long distance to travel, and their husbands wouldn’t allow it, and they lacked sufficient knowledge about contraception.

When we equipped the local dispensary with vaccines and a delivery table and family planning equipment and supplies, and made a family planning video in the Maasai language, women showed up at the clinic.

Use of family planning methods nearly doubled from 28% to 52% between late 2016 to late 2017 — higher than the Tanzanian average of 32% — due to improvement of health clinic supplies and equipment, health care classes, family planning videos, and acquisition of family planning methods.


The fact is, without an education, a child bride is ill-equipped to say ‘no’ to sex or to seek out contraception. Married girls rarely have access to contraception, or knowledge about it, because their husbands have too much influence over their lives.

So we turned to Girls Education

We started by putting some girls into private English boarding schools, but that was too expensive to educate all girls. So we finally turned to building classrooms, but have been unsuccessful in raising the money needed for one.


Preschools near communities help advance girls education

We can do this by building preschool classrooms which teach Swahili near communities. This has dramatically increased the number of girls going into secondary school.

We use and enhance the public school system which is the least expensive alternative.

Only 10% of Tanzanians speak Swahili (the national language) as their native tongue. This barrier keeps most pastoral girls from entering secondary school.

When our partner organization built preschools near communities, children started learning Swahili prior to going to primary school.

Mission - - - - - - - - - - - -
To improve the livelihoods and health of the impoverished pastoral people of our community and to empower the girls and women of our community to control their own reproduction, their own lives, and their own bodies.


Blog - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sustainable Development Goals

Contraception: Is it cultural barriers or lack of supplies?

Cattle and Livestock

Education a Hit

Girl Brides and Mothers

Poverty

Hunger

Water

Health and Choice

Eviction & Indigenous Rights

World Heritage & Development?

Questioning FGC/FGM


Vision - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It is hoped that this mission will allow the people of our community to:

1. Receive guidance to secure successful livelihoods, good health, and a sustainable population size so that the Conservation district does not require our community's people to leave the Conservation Area.

2. Receive short-term financial help, only as needed, to secure a sustainable future for our community's people. Except in the case of education, where longer term financial help may be needed.

3. Receive external pro bono professional help that may be needed in areas of water supply/safety or building a school.

4. Become self-sufficient without destroying the culture.

5. Realize the potential of providing education for young men and women to a) improve livelihoods in the village such as animal husbandry or b) externally, such as health care worker or wild life management, so that they can provide for their family.

6. Realize the potential of empowering women to have more control over their own lives and deciding for themselves how many children they bear that would good for their own health and the health of a family - so that they can afford to provide for their basic needs.


Health education empowers women and girls

In addition, we provide health education which teaches men, women and adolescents:

-the importance of birth spacing

-that child bearing should end when a woman’s health is threatened

-the dangers of FGC (Female Genital Cutting)

-that complications of from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death to girls ages 15-19.

Adolescents learn about reproduction, reproductive rights, avoiding pregnancy, and mutual respect between male and female.

The government built a preschool classroom in the village in late 2017; a partner organization* provided the desks and we supplied the girl role models.

The 45 preschool students who started in the old preschool in 2015 went to 54 in late 2016 and in late 2017 mushroomed to 85, and then to 92 after preschool uniforms were provided.

Primary students in their new uniforms

Now another classroom is needed, and another teacher. A second volunteer teacher came forth and turned out to be a married woman: another role model for the girls.

Girls Education: Less Controversial

And the good news is that, girls education is less controversial than family planning, which often has problems getting funded.

The cost of girls education is lower than we ever imagined:

All the things we do adds up to only $39 per girl per year (over what government provides), averaged over a period of 20 years. For high school students it is only $200 a year.

Girls Education and Climate Change

Africa will double in population to 2.4 billion by 2050, doubling Africa’s carbon emissions from 1314 gigatons (GT) in 2015 to 2600GT in 2050.

However, per capita carbon tripled in least developed countries 1960-2014 and India’s Increased 6-fold. Thus Africa’s emissions could reach 5200 – 10,440GT by 2050, compared to U.S. emissions of 5411GT in 2015.

Drought is a problem . . . .

In 1997, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2016, and 2017, drought led to low food supply in the project area. We had to buy maize for 305 women in 2017, taking away from our budget to educate girls.

Climate change can increase child marriages . .

30% to 40% of child marriages in Malawi are due to poverty caused by flooding and droughts due to climate change.

A combination of poverty and patriarchal tradition subjects girls to increasing climate change risks. 1.3 billion people in low- and middle-income countries live below the poverty line, and 70% are female.

Girls educated in boarding school leads to fewer child marriages . . .

When girls attend boarding schools, they are fed at government expense, lightening the burden of poverty that causes parents to marry off their daughter.

Education helps girls handle climate change impacts . .

Girls and women play an active and significant role in maintaining the survival of their families and communities in times of crisis and uncertainty.

With education, girls can add their voice, experience and solutions to assist their communities in times of drought or flooding. Educated girls are more likely to enact their future choices, find paid work and support their children’s education.

Girls education significantly lowers population growth With no reduction in child marriage, high fertility rates alone will raise the global number of women married as children to 1.2 billion by 2050.

It is imperative that we quickly proceed to educate as many girls as possible by using the most cost-effective strategy.

* Our partner organization is Weston Turville Wells for Tanzania.