Research the world over has shown how the key to eliminating poverty is education. Not just any education, but education for girls. So, there it is. The nexus of SDG 4 and SDG 5. Education and Gender Equality. Seems so simple and straightforward, doesn’t it?

After all, when a girl growing up in a remote village gets an education through at least grade 12, and better yet through university or college (or even vocational school) her life takes on an entirely different character.

Benefits of Girls Receiving Primary Education
  • Gets married later.
  • Marries a “better” husband.
  • Contributes meaningfully to the wellbeing of her family as an equal.
  • Has fewer children.
  • Has healthier children.
  • Makes sure that her kids are educated.
  • Makes a difference in her village and her extended community.

That’s why we adopted our SE Asia Foundation tag line of: It Takes a Girl to Raise a Village

Well, if all of this is so beneficial, why isn’t more of it happening? After all, to most of us it seems like plain common sense. But the world doesn’t work that way, does it? Let’s consider what might be getting in the way.

Barriers of Girls Receiving A Primary Education
  • Gender norms.
  • Parental resistance.
  • Tipping points.

That leads to the obvious question: What can be done about this? How can we positively impact the future for these girls?

SE Asia Foundation’s Approach

Our approach at the SE Asia Foundation is straightforward. We identify and support those locally-based, grassroots organizations with proven abilities to nurture and educate girls and women – and do so well beyond the opportunities provided by their government. We support those organizations financially, and we coach the leaders to run their organizations sustainably. Let’s face it. The people that are going to solve these problems are the ones who understand the history, the culture, the society, and what it will take to bring about meaningful change. It’s not “us”. It is “them”. Only they can make those changes happen in their society.

Read the full article about education and poverty by Bill Taylor at Global Washington.