Posts Tagged ‘Nigerian Schoolgirls’

Seventeen days ago, and two weeks into the ordeal of what we now know to be nearly 300 young female Nigerian scholars, Al Jazeera America began publicizing the Twitter hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls.   I had not seen any other news outlet acknowledge the story at that point.  Plenty of time and money had been spent for weeks on the missing airliner and the sunken ferry, but it seemed at the time that no one was particularly concerned about thugs invading a girls’ dormitory on the eve of final exams and abducting them for doing exactly what they were there to do: studying.

First and foremost, at that time,  the story needed publicity – a higher profile – and the hashtag campaign seemed exactly what was needed so I came here, posted about it, and tweeted the post with the hashtag.  Reactions to that post indicated what I had predicted.  A lot of people did not know about this situation.  I continued posting and tweeting and as the days went by the hashtag campaign did what it was meant to do.  It went viral.  Big names picked it up and the media could no longer ignore the story.

The whole point of the campaign was to raise public awareness, and it worked.  Now it is a story.  Now it gets coverage.  People know.  The global hashtag campaign forced the hand of the Nigerian government which had done nothing to help the girls or their families.  Now on the evening news we see the girls, their faces sad and surrounded by veils.  We see the abductors, cocky and jeering.

The girls are not home yet.  We are not even sure where they are.  We have heard the stories of a few who escaped, and at least one says that she cannot return to school.  Mission accomplished, Boko Haram!  At least one young woman will not be studying Darwin,  or be looking online at powerful telescopic photos near the moment of the Big Bang, or grow up to find ways to build a greener future for her country – the leading oil producing nation on the continent.

The supremely ironic, crazy attack by right-wing media on the hashtag campaign and on Hillary Clinton (I predicted that here) should come as no surprise and is no coincidence.

Rush Limbaugh Claims Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama ‘Sympathize With Boko Haram

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Why Education Matters

The kidnapping of over 300 teenage girls at Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in Nigeria has captivated attention and headlines across the world, inspiring outrage, compassion, and calls to action.  The girls were taken by Boko Haram, whose very name declares that education is sinful.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the girls, their families and those working to bring them home safely.

These devastating acts reflect a much larger problem – girls are being targeted and threatened with violence, kidnapping and more just for seeking an education.

That’s why the global community must stay committed to helping protect and promote girls’ education around the world so that every girl has the opportunity to live up to her full potential.

The numbers tell a hopeful story about progress in girls’ access to education over the past two decades.   Here are some important facts and statistics about girls’ education in Nigeria and across the globe, and why protecting schools like Chibok is vital to girls, women, and the world.

FACTS: Why Education Matters

  1. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2013 shows that where the gender gap is closest to being closed in a range of areas—including access to education, health survivability, economic participation, and political participation—countries and economies are more competitive and prosperous.
  2. Half of the reductions of child mortality between 1970 and 1990 can be attributed to increased education for women of reproductive age.*
  3. A 2011 World Bank report found that investing in girls’ education and opportunities in Nigeria and 13 other developing nations could increase a country’s gross domestic product by 1.2% in a single year.
  4. A 2002 study on the effect of education on average wages estimates that primary school education increases girls’ earnings by 5 to 15 % over their lifetimes.

FACTS: The Gaps that Remain 

  1. Girls and women continue to make up the largest share of the world’s illiterate population (61.3%), and literacy rates in Nigeria hover around 50 to 60%.
  2. Gender gaps are especially wide in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, where 40.1 % of girls and 33.1 % of boys are not enrolled in secondary schools like Chibok. This translates into 11.8 million girls in the region not accessing the education they need to attend university, find work, achieve financial independence, and contribute to a growing economy.**
  3. Girls also face early marriage as barrier to education, and should the girls from Chibok be sold into slavery or forced marriages, their chances of achieving their dreams will be all but dashed. In a study conducted in Kenya, researchers found that a marriage partner is associated with a 78 % increased risk of termination of secondary schooling.
  4. Globally, there are 37.4 million girls not enrolled in lower secondary school compared to 34.2 million boys, a gap of 3.2 million.***

​ It’s an unfortunate reality that it takes an act of courage to seek an education in places like Nigeria. But the girls at Chibok, despite the threats, pursued an education because they and their families understood just how valuable it is. Their resolve will set an example for generations to come and exemplifies the importance of working for the advancement of girls and women across the world so that every girl has a chance to go to school, fulfill her dreams, and break the ceilings and barriers she encounters.

This Mother’s Day, let’s remember the mothers who are missing their daughters, in Nigeria and around the world.

* Emmanuela Gakidou et al., “Increased Educational Attainment and Its Effect on Child Mortality in 175 Countries between 1970 and 2009: A Systematic Analysis,” The Lancet 376, no. 9745 (September 2010): 959–74. Although economic growth was also significantly associated with reductions in child mortality, the magnitude of the association was much smaller than that of increased education. 21 regions, approximately 4 million out of the 8 million children whose lives were saved can be attributed to education for women.
** Shelley Clark and Rohini Mathur, “Dating, Sex, and Schooling in Urban Kenya,” Studies in Family Planning 43, no. 3 (September 2012): 161–74.
*** UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global Education Digest 2011: Comparing Education Statistics across the World (Montreal, Quebec: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011).

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles as she walks on stage during the Philanthropy New York’s annual meeting, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at the Ford Foundation in New York. Clinton was interviewed by television journalist Robin Roberts during the event. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, left, introduces former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, and television journalist Robin Roberts to the stage during a talk at the Philanthropy New York’s annual meeting, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, held at the Ford Foundation in New York. Clinton was interviewed by Roberts during the event. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, is interviewed by television journalist Robin Roberts during the Philanthropy New York’s annual meeting, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at the Ford Foundation in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during the Philanthropy New York’s annual meeting, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at the Ford Foundation in New York. Clinton was interviewed by television journalist Robin Roberts during the event. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Hillary Clinton: Nigerian capture an ‘act of terror’

Hillary Clinton called the capture of nearly 300 Nigerian school girls by extremists an “act of terrorism” Wednesday and said the government there needed to accept global offers of help, including from the United States.

It was the first time Clinton has spoken out about the capture of the girls, who were seized from a Nigerian school in mid-April. More than 300 were initially kidnapped, but some escaped. At least 276 are reported to still be held captive by the Islamist militia Boko Haram, which has threatened to sell them.


Here is the link to the full video thanks to PYW!  It is not imbeddable.




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Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism.

Cross-posted at The Department of Homegirl Security.

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Literacy is Rooted in Love

One of the sweetest, most memorable, experiences for a parent or caretaker is sitting down in a chair, putting your arm around your child, and reading books together. That simple activity of discovering stories with each other, one on one, strengthens your bond and sets your child up for a lifetime of loving books.

Only half of all toddlers – and even fewer babies – are read to regularly by parents or family members, according to the nonprofit literacy group, Reading is Fundamental, which recommends reading at least 30 minutes a day to help prepare a child to learn.

Long before a child learns to read, she is absorbing sounds and patterns of language by listening to you and other caregivers talk. The more you engage her brain by reading with her as part of a regular routine, the better equipped she’ll be for both speaking and reading – and the more she’ll learn to associate books with enjoyment.  That can be a big advantage later in school, when reading is sometimes perceived as more work than fun.

You can lay a good foundation for early literacy by celebrating books and reading in your household. Visit the local library with your preschooler and let them check out new (or favorite!) books. Let your child discover you reading on the couch for relaxation. With an infant who’s just starting to babble, you can point to pictures in a board book, and vary your tone of voice as you narrate a story. And when your child learns to read, you can encourage her to read aloud with you.

Reading with your child will greatly expand vocabulary and actually help with other subjects like math. And a child who has fun exploring books at home as a very young child is likely to go on and enjoy reading once she reaches school, and beyond.


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In The News:


Mom Jennifer Cooper reads a bedtime story to her two children and says reading together enhances their vocabulary and their math skills. >>


These parents clearly love and miss their daughters.  I am sure they have fond memories of reading to their little girls.  They have worked hard and sacrificed to finance a good education for them,  and now they want their kidnapped daughters back. There needs to be more attention brought to their plight.

Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls: #BringBackOurGirls @BringGirlsBack

We hope these marches in major cities help alert news organizations.

#BringBackOurGirls: Who knows? Who cares? Who will march? Who will report it?

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