The Girl Effect: Why Can I Write This Blog Post?

Hey, take a look at this:

I am a woman in one of the poorest countries in the world, and yet, here I am in front of a computer, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, instant messaging, Googling and much more.

The odds say I shouldn’t know how to.

I am one of the 48.6% literate women in Malawi. To put this in perspective, 72% of Malawian men are literate. I am one of the 31.4% of girls who finish primary school. I am also one of the 11.1% girls who finish secondary school. As for tertiary education - less than 10%. So, I have had about a 50/50 chance of knowing how to read at all, and the odds of increasing my education get slimmer and slimmer with every level. But here I am with 2 tertiary degrees, in the dawn of my career. Why? Why me?

Because of my mother. And because of her mother. They recognised the importance of education, especially for girls, and two generations later, the girls in my family are smart, savvy, and paving our destinies with the choices that we have been given. I can articulate everything I want to say, and communicate it clearly to you, often thinking nothing of it, when so many of my country-women have very different stories. 

Half of them cannot read, or write a letter to apply for a job. Two thirds of them do not have the skills to start a career. And nine-tenths of them do not have a secondary school certificate, which would be a prerequisite for any formal employment. Because of this they have very little power over their own destinies. Many will get married as young as 12 years old, or as soon as they can bear children. From here onwards, the probability of contracting HIV is high. 

All that is needed to break this cycle is to get one girl through school, giving her the choice to marry when she wants to, be educated enough to earn a good living, free from poverty, and be able to afford to put her own children through school. This goes on for generations afterwards, and that is the Girl Effect. 

Then put one more girl through school. You get the picture.

Be a part of the Girl Effect by visiting to find out how you can change the girl at a time.

Read posts by the other participants of the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign and 12 Amazing Girl Effect Moments 


  1. Brilliant article!
    My girls (and my son) have done me proud and I am honoured to have such understanding, committed and loving children!

  2. Hey there! I read your post just before uploading my own, then saw that you commented on mine too!

    Excellent post! You are such an inspiration for girls everywhere that yes, it CAN be done, education CAN be a priority, and women CAN achieve something great.

    On a side note, Malawi has been in my thoughts a lot lately. I read a book by William Kamkwamba - The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, (loved it) and one of my friends is in Ntagaluka, Mangochi District working with Engineers Without Borders. It's on my list of places to visit. I'll definitely let you know if I make it there, maybe we can meet in person!

  3. Great article! Makes you think... and reminds you of the importance of educating girls, especially in developing countries.

  4. Wow Corey! This globe is tiny! I met someone from EWB, but she is based in Salima (another beach-side town), her name is Genevieve...? But do visit, would love to meet you! I noticed your mum commented on your post too ;-)

    Auntie Vi, thanks! You're part of the Girl Effect too!

  5. Great post! Happy to be working on a project with you that will hopefully make it easier for girls to finish school :)


  6. It's a pleasure working with you too Loida! Couldn't have asked for a better fellow foot soldier in the fight for better standards in schools

  7. The world is really tiny... I think my friend Lisa used to live with Genevieve in Salima. Lisa just moved to Ntagaluka only a little while ago. You can read about what she's doing on her blog if you're interested :)

  8. Oh my word, I am truly amazed! We are all connected in the great Circle of Life! (I only quote Lion King when I'm super inspired)

    I will follow her blog and yours as well, you have some environmental posts that interest me :-) Next time I talk to Genevieve, I will ask about you and Lisa.

    This is incredible!

  9. Love the campaign, and great context added in your article.

    That said, the girl affect is a bit thin on the details? If you click far enough through on their website you eventually find a few projects - selected ngo projects in different countries.

    But for a broadbase change in Malawi, who needs to do what action? Malawi gov? Civil sector? or perhaps the campaign is just about increasing awareness as the first step?

    One option could be the model provided by APU school ( just outside lilongwe, where girls are given high quality education at a boarding school to try to protect them from some of the barriers mentioned. But that requires individual sponsorship per child.... so again maybe not accessible to all.

  10. Of course, awareness is part of the beginning, middle and end of making a change. Malawi Girls on the Move is definitely in line with Girl Effect goals, I am sure they could benefit from making themselves known to the Girl Effect movement! I will see if I can get in touch with them.

    Thanks K!


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