UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign Announces New Initiative to Support Adolescent Refugee Girls in Uganda

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Girl Up to support UNHCR’s work to provide refugee girls with quality education

Girl Up is supporting UNHCR's work in Uganda to help ensure refugee girls have the same chance at an education as their male counterparts

Today on World Refugee Day, the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign announced that it is expanding its support of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to include programming aimed at educating refugee girls in Uganda. This move makes Uganda the sixth focus country where Girl Up supports UN initiatives aimed at advancing the lives of adolescent girls. The other countries are Guatemala, Ethiopia, India, Liberia, and Malawi.

“As the world comes together today to honor the millions of refugees who have fled their homes in search of a better and safer future, I am excited to announce that Girl Up is expanding our partnership with UNHCR to support its work ensuring refugee girls in Uganda receive a quality education,” said Melissa Hillebrenner Kilby, Director of Girl Up. “Access to education is a basic human right, and all girls should have the chance to go to school. Girl Up is supporting UNHCR’s work in Uganda to help ensure refugee girls have the same chance at an education as their male counterparts. With our partners at the UN – and our community of passionate girl advocates – we are aiming to break the cycle of generational poverty for some of the most vulnerable girls in Uganda.”

Since 2010, Girl Up has supported UNHCR’s work in Ethiopia to create safe schools and provide an education for displaced Somali girls. Today’s announcement expands this partnership to Uganda, a country that is home to more than 400,000 displaced people, 27% of whom are girls under the age of 18. These girls come from a number of countries, with many coming from the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and South Sudan. Lack of quality teachers, poor infrastructure, inadequate safe-learning environments, and insufficient awareness about the importance of education have led to severely low school enrollment rates for adolescent refugee girls across Uganda.

Girl Up, aided by funding provided by the Caterpillar Foundation, will support UNHCR programming that targets the enrollment and retention of refugee girls in school. Program highlights include: infrastructure improvements, payment of school fees and the provision of uniforms for enrolling students, the employment and training of additional teachers, and expanding access to textbooks and reading materials.

Girls who complete primary and secondary education are likely to earn more income, have fewer unwanted pregnancies, and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. In fact, an extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by an estimated 10-20%, while an extra year of secondary school boosts them by 15-25%.


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 1200 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 https://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 philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: http://www.unfoundation.org.

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Jonelle Kelly
United Nations Foundation
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