United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign Announces New Funding Initiative to Support Adolescent Girls in India

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Funding will help UNFPA reach 7,500 girls a year in the Rajasthan region to protect their rights, ensure their education and prevent child marriage and early pregnancy

Today the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign announced that the campaign is expanding its fundraising efforts to help protect the rights of adolescent girls in India. This announcement – the first new program support country added since Girl Up began almost five years ago – kicks off a Mother’s Day fundraising campaign aimed at supporting adolescent girls in the Rajasthan region of India.

“For the past five years Girl Up has supported the advancement of adolescent girls in Guatemala, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Malawi. As we continue to work to improve the lives of the hardest to reach girls living in the places where it’s hardest to be a girl, I am excited that Girl Up is expanding the campaign to India,” said Melissa Hillebrenner, Director of Girl Up. “Since 2010 we have created safe schools, improved access to health services, and worked to ensure girls are counted. Now – alongside our partners at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and our community of passionate girl advocates in 66 countries – we will strengthen and deepen our impact, expanding our reach to help empower girls in India and provide them with more opportunities.”

India has one of the fastest growing youth populations in the world, with one-fourth of that population made up of adolescent girls. Within the family, however, girls often receive less health care, education and fewer opportunities than boys, as they are often forced to drop out of school, marry, and have children at a young age. Seventy percent of girls ages 6 to 16 drop out of school. One-third of women alive today who were married before 18 years old reside in India.

With this new initiative, Girl Up will support UNFPA’s Action for Adolescent Girls initiative in the Rajasthan region of India. The program seeks to protect adolescent girls’ rights and help girls delay marriage and wait to have children until they are ready. The program educates girls and women on important health issues and makes them more aware of public services available to them. It also aims to educate girls – both those in school and those who are not – as well as provide them with vocational skills so they are able to one day earn an income.

Highlights of the program include:

  •     Offering youth-friendly health and nutrition information
  •     Creating a network of adolescent peer educators for girls to meet and learn from one another
  •     Connecting girls with mentors
  •     Training basic life skills, including home-based and vocational skills, to help girls earn an income and play a greater role in their communities
  •     Supporting enrollment in formal and non-formal educational institutions
  •     Giving girls information and access to public services available to them
  •     Educating married adolescent girls on sexual and reproductive health issues

The announcement was made today by Girl Up Teen Advisor Ruhy Patel at Moms +SocialGood, a one-day event dedicated to the power of mothers and families to create a better future for their communities. It kicked off a fundraising campaign that – building on an initial gift provided by the Caterpillar Foundation – will increase the participation of girls in India in UNFPA’s program. Visit GirlUp.org to learn more, donate, and help girls in India build brighter futures.

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About Girl Up
Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, supports the empowerment of girls everywhere. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has funded UN programs that promote the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and built a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates – including Girl Up Global Advocates Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Latin American business leader Angélica Fuentes. Our youth leaders, representing more than 850 Girl Up Clubs in 66 countries, stand up, speak up, and rise up to support the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl. Learn more at GirlUp.org.

About The United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.

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Jonelle Kelly
Girl Up
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