Because I am a Girl Campaign to Protect Girls’ Rights

Poverty, lack of education, child labor, early marriage, HIV/AIDs-- these are intricately interrelated spheres. Poverty is a leading cause of school dropout for girls, which often leads directly to child labor. The lack of education leaves a girl unaware of how to protect herself from HIV and vulnerable to child marriage. Furthermore, a girl who is forced into early marriage with an older, more sexually experienced male faces an increased likelihood of contracting HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls between the ages of 15-19 are 2-6 times more likely to contract HIV than boys.1 Complex problems require a complex approach, and these issues must all be addressed in order to truly effect a change for the world’s girls.

Plan International USA works side by side with communities around the world to end the cycle of poverty for children, reaching more than 83 million children in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Plan promises a better future for children and their communities by involving them in identifying and designing sustainable solutions and equipping them with the tools they need to create lasting change.

Poverty acutely affects all children. However, a girl child experiences vulnerability to a degree far greater than her brothers. Because she is a girl, she is twice as likely as a boy to live in poverty, to drop out of school, and to become infected with HIV.2 Because she is a girl, she faces discrimination in her own home. Because she is a girl, she has limited access to a doctor and to primary education. The impact of discrimination against girls that fundamentally hinders their development and growth is a loss to the family, community and nation at large.

Because I am a Girl is a global initiative of Plan International that creates sustainable projects in developing countries to give girls access to the most basic of human rights: clean water, food, health care, education, financial security, and protection from violence and exploitation. We reach out to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations of girls around the world, working alongside them, equipping them with the tools and resources to achieve their hopes and dreams, and rigorously measuring our impact every step of the way.

Because I am a Girl supports projects across the globe in countries such as India, Nepal, Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso. We utilize a comprehensive approach that addresses poverty in its various iterations, by supporting education, working to end child labor and early marriage, and promoting the rights of girls everywhere.

In India, Because I am a Girl works to prevent child labor and keep girls in school. The approach includes identifying families with girls out of school, conducting trainings to promote awareness of the importance of girls’ education, and supporting families to send their daughters to school and vocational training. This, in effect, will delay marriage, fight poverty, and strengthen girls’ abilities to protect themselves from violence and HIV infection.

In addition to grassroots projects, Because I am a Girl seeks to raise awareness among policymakers, leaders and the general public about girls’ rights. We have partnered with 10x10 to promote their extraordinary film Girl Rising, which tells the stories of nine girls around the world who face daunting barriers to education. We have also welcomed global ambassadors Freida Pinto and Kate Nash, whose influential voices can reach wide audiences to spread the word about the transformative power of investing in girls.

To Do More...

Visit the Because I Am A Girl and Protect a Girl websites to fundraise and spread the word
Visit 10x10’s website to attend or schedule a viewing of Girl Rising

1 International Center for Research on Women.  
2 United Nations Women.