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Education + Girls = Less Poverty, More Equality

Educating girls remains the most effective tool to eradicate poverty and increase equality everywhere- full stop. That is the reason Malala Yousafsi closed her 2013 UN address with this:

“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.” 

The young Miss Yousafsi used this language - the language of struggle and war- to indicate the immense power and importance of educating girls everywhere.

But why? Why is educating a girl not only good for the child, but also benefits her family and whole community. What are the factors that underlie the truth of the statement: where there are more educated women there is more equality, prosperity and peace.

  1. Empowerment: Education empowers girls by providing them with knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue their aspirations, make informed decisions, and take control of their lives.

  2. Health and Well-being: Educated girls are more likely to have better health outcomes for themselves and their families. They are more informed about healthcare practices, sanitation, and nutrition, leading to lower maternal and child mortality rates and improved overall well-being.

  3. Economic Opportunities: Education opens up economic opportunities for girls, enabling them to secure better-paying jobs, start businesses, and contribute to household and national economies. This not only benefits the girls themselves but also helps lift their families out of poverty.

  4. Gender Equality: Education is a fundamental right and a critical tool for promoting gender equality. When girls have access to education, they are more likely to understand and contextualize gender norms, advocate for their rights, and participate in decision-making processes, ultimately contributing to more inclusive and equitable societies.

  5. Reduced Child Marriage and Fertility Rates: Education is a powerful deterrent against child marriage and early pregnancy. Educated girls are more likely to delay marriage and childbirth, allowing them to pursue their education and broaden their personal and economic potential before or instead of starting a family.

  6. Community Development: Educated girls play a significant role in community development. Educated girls and women are more likely to reinvest their income into their families and communities than their male counterparts. Thus, contributing more to poverty reduction, improved infrastructure, and social cohesion.

  7. Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Educating girls has a multiplier effect on poverty reduction. When girls are educated, they are more likely to educate their own children, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and creating a positive ripple effect for future generations.

  8. Resilience to Crises: Educated girls are better equipped to cope with and recover from crises such as conflicts, natural disasters, and health emergencies. They have the knowledge and skills to adapt to changing circumstances and contribute to rebuilding their communities.


Investing in girls' education in Sierra Leone remains the #1 priority of SGUW for all of the reasons above and many more. Although it may not be the most innovative or "cutting edge" concept- in our opinion and backed by decades of evidence- it is the most effective.

While education is the most powerful tool for poverty alleviation, it is one tool in a kit that contains other complementary ones such as healthcare access, infrastructure development, and safety and social protection. These areas are crucial for creating a conducive environment for poverty reduction efforts to succeed.

Next SGUW blog looks at updates from our ever-expanding agriculture program- WOW! have they been busy.

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