Malika is a member of Plan International USA’s Youth Advisory Board.
On April 8, the Coalition for Adolescent Girls celebrated the introduction of the Keeping Girls in School Act by hosting a panel on Capitol Hill. The bill addresses the barriers to girls’ education that keep 130 million girls out of school and works to increase access to and quality of girls’ education around the world. I was lucky enough to represent the Youth Advisory Board and Plan International USA, speaking about the importance of universal girls’ education worldwide.
The event gave me the opportunity to share firsthand what I know of the life-changing impact that education has for girls in my community in Burkina Faso, highlighting some of the young Burkinabe women who have inspired me to keep fighting for this right. What was even more incredible was learning from my peers on the panel, Amy Collins from World Vision International and Mary McVeigh Connor, executive director of Soccer Without Borders. Ms. Collins, in her extensive field work, had a lot to share about the technicalities of implementing initiatives for girls’ education, and highlighted important barriers such as lack of accommodation for and understanding of menstruation in schools. Mary McVeigh Connor has an incredible non-profit focusing on soccer and team-building for girls, and she emphasized how crucial it was that girls have spaces where they can be active and support one another in achieving their goals.
Ultimately, this event was an absolutely amazing learning experience and got me all the more excited that members of Congress are taking firm action to keep girls around the world in school.