We’re four months into 2012, and spring has arrived a bit early in Washington, D.C. With the new season and warmer temperatures, the Girl Up team is excited to continue working toward our goals for the campaign. We are refining our long-term goals for Girl Up, and while we will still support our UN programs on the ground and hopefully expand in the coming years, the campaign will also focus on mobilizing one million American teen girls by engaging, motivating and training them to become global leaders and advocates for the United Nations. We are currently building out a plan to reach this ambitious goal and we need your help. Stay tuned for ways you can help us build the largest American teen girl movement in history!
April will bring us to Atlanta, GA for our Unite for Girls Tour and some exciting fundraising events. Looking forward to May we will focus on engaging mothers and daughters at events in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Our Girl Up Clubs have grown to nearly 100 – all across the United States and in eight additional countries. We have started teaching our girls about advocacy and how they can use their voices locally to influence support and U.S. policy to help adolescent girls worldwide. And wow, have they started running with these ideas!
The Girl Up campaign team is excited to build on the successes of our first year and is looking forward to educating even more American teen girls on the issues facing their adolescent girl counterparts around the world. We will be looking to all of our partners and supporters to help us spread the world about this growing movement, and we thank you in advance for joining us!
November: SAN FRANCISCO UNITE FOR GIRLS TOUR
Girl Up, in collaboration with Levi Strauss & Co., hosted the first Unite for Girls Tour stop in San Francisco. Our multimedia and experiential tour provided an opportunity for teen girls to virtually “travel” the world with a passport in hand and to learn how it feels to be a girl in a developing country. Attendees also learned from
the experts; we had our very own Emily Courey Pryor, (UN Foundation’s Director of Women & Girl Initiatives), Denise Dunning (Director of AGALI), Tamsin Smith (Founder of SlipStreamStrategy.com) and Teen Advisor Rocio Ortega. There were nearly 200 guests including friends from Levi and HP, as well as Olivia Somerlyn, Alexandra Daddario and Project Girls Performance Collective.
March: WASHINGTON, D.C. SUMMITS
We held the second in-person meeting for the 2011-2012 Class of Teen Advisors the weekend of March 9-11. That same weekend the Teen Advisors joined us for our first annual Partner Summit and Girl Up Leadership Summit, and they also spent time advocating on Capitol Hill and enjoying all that D.C. has to offer – from monuments to Shake Shack! To learn more about the events, read Eliora’s great blog and check out photos on Flickr!
Here are some highlights:
· Capitol Hill Visits: On March 9, the Girl Up Teen Advisors took D.C. by storm and made their voices heard on Capitol Hill. The group had five meetings with Congressional offices where they were able to talk to staffers about the Child Marriage Bill (S.414) and other key issues affecting adolescent girls.
· Partner Summit: Also on March 9, we hosted a meeting for us and our partners to discuss our individual strategies and future collaboration. The Teen Advisors joined us in the afternoon and shared highlights from their year – many of them having to do with the work of partner organizations. Afterwards, the girls and partners separated into small groups to discuss campaign strategy. Our partners were intrigued and impressed by the experiences and insight the Teen Advisors shared.
· Girl Up Leadership Summit: The Teen Advisors led our first-ever Girl Up Leadership Summit that convened nearly 100 Girl Up supporters from across the country. Highlights of the day included a live Skype chat with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, tips from a panel of executive women various industries on leadership and inspirational words from Monique Coleman. Attendees also rotated through six hands-on workshops ranging from Club activities to fundraising, and from to communications and advocacy.
Teen Advisors: The second Teen Advisor class, which recently gathered in Washington, D.C., has been busy all year spreading the word about Girl Up – from contributing to theHuffington Post to advocating on key issues such as child marriage on Capitol Hill. The Teen Advisors have also been reaching out to their local media and hosting events in their own communities. To date, they have raised more than $30,000 from mother-daughter teas, movie screenings, bake sales and more. To find out more, you can catch up with the Girl Up Teen Advisors on our blog.
Pictured left: Teen Advisors with actress and Girl Up supporter Monique Coleman.
Do you know a girl entering 7th-12th grade this fall who is interested in global issues, inspired to make a difference, and ready to be a Girl Up Teen Advisor? Nominations for the 2012-2013 Teen Advisor class, a year-long commitment that commences in September, will open on May 1 atGirlUp.org. You can learn more about the Girl Up Teen Advisor program here.
Girl Up Clubs: We are excited to report that our network has grown to nearly 100 clubs from across the country and around the world since we officially launched this program last fall! Throughout the year, Girl Up Clubs commit to participate in five Girl Up activities throughout the academic year. This year, clubs have done everything from conducting letter-writing campaigns and starting school-wide petitions to hosting big events like pep rallies and fashion shows. Read the Club Starter Guide to learn more or visit www.GirlUp.org/clubs to register a club.
Over the holidays, Girl Up supporters met their fundraising goal to support Somali refugee girls in Ethiopia. Thanks to your support, 400 refugee girls will receive solar lamps to study, and 2,000 girls will benefit from school materials, school clubs, and safe learning environments.
Girls in Ethiopia face many challenges such as lack of access to education, harmful practices such as child marriage, and health risks including high maternal death rates and HIV infection. In rural areas, girls spend up to eight hours a day fetching water, leaving no time for school or homework.
Refugee adolescent girls are some of the most marginalized girls in the world. Refugee families living in Ethiopia are not allowed to work, resulting in poverty that often means girls are unable to go to school. Many families cannot afford the costs of school uniforms and are unable to send their children to school. They prioritize essential needs such as food and shelter, as well as sending boys to school and over girls.
Girl Up is supporting UNHCR’s efforts to make sure that Somali refugee girls living in Ethiopia are healthy, safe and educated.
Throughout this first year, 2,000 adolescent girls have benefited from program interventions including the provision of school materials, solar lamps to study at night and scholarships to attend school. To make sure that their learning environments are safe and healthy, the UN is helping building toilets and access to water at the schools. Once girls are in school, girls clubs for social support and studying are a key way to keep girls in school. Families with girls that would otherwise be too poor to send their daughters to school will receive business training and microloans for income-generating activities.
Hamdah is 12 years old, originally from Somalia, and has been living in a UNHCR refugee camp called Aw Barre located in eastern Ethiopia. Hamdah is a leader in an elementary school club that studies together and goes from house to house in the refugee camp, looking for girls who are not in school. When Hamdah finds a girl who is not going to school, the club gets together and tells her parents all the reasons why girls deserve an education. And they do not stop talking to those parents until the girl starts going to school.
Hamdah told us that girls in the refugee camps don’t get to go to school because of chores, early marriage and the cost of school fees and supplies. Girl Up is supporting UNHCR and local partners to try to break down those barriers to make sure that all girls have the opportunity to go to school. Hamdah is making the most of her opportunity – she is in the 2nd grade now, but already thinking about college. She plans to be a doctor.
Huffington Post – Impact Blog
Girl Up Teens Make a Difference: Exclusive Interview with Annie Gersh
January 9, 2012
Annie Gersh (pictured left), a Teen Advisor for Girl Up, met Tabby Biddle, a contributer to the Huffington Post, while speaking on a panel. Afterward, Biddle conducted an exclusive interview with Gersh on leadership, girls’ empowerment, and the Girl Up campaign. The interview ran on Huffington Post on January 9, 2012 and was picked up by Teen Voices, an online and print magazine, EthioSun and The Goddess Diaries.
ABC News Now
Ivanka Trump interview with Phillip Bloch’s “Cause Celeb”
February 2, 2012
Girl Up Champion Ivanka Trump was featured on Phillip Bloch’s “Cause Celeb” series. Ivanka talked about the potential American girls have on solving global problems and empowering their peers around the world. The segment aired on ABC News Now. In addition to being shared on Girl Up’s online properties, the video was posted on the Phillip Bloch News Channel and Phillip Bloch’s Facebook page and blog.
Wall Street Journal
Ivanka’s Vision, Now on the Racks
March 30, 2012
The Girl Up campaign took part in the launch of the Ivanka Trump Ready-to-Wear collection at the Lord & Taylor flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. As the line celebrated the launch of its spring 2012 ready-to-wear fashion, 10 percent of sales during the evening went to Girl Up. This event, and mention of Girl Up, was featured in the Wall Street Journal, both online and on page A21 of the U.S. print edition.
Pictured left: Gina Reiss-Wilchins, Director of Girl Up, with Ivanka Trump
We want to thank Levi Strauss & Co., for supporting our Unite for Girls tour stop in San Francisco last November!
Also thanks to WNBA Cares for hosting us at the NBA All Star Jam Session in Orlando, FL in February. Girl Up was able to spread the word of our mission and work to more than one thousand new fans.
This past week on March 28, Ivanka Trump, a long-time Girl Up Champion, launched Ivanka Trump Ready-to-Wear clothing line. During the clothing launch she continued to promote Girl Up as her favorite charity! 10 percent of the proceeds from the night were donated to Girl Up – thank you Ivanka for your continued support and congratulations on a beautiful fashion line!
We also want to shout out all partners who joined us in D.C. in early May for our first-ever Partner Summit! Three cheers for Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of NYC, Girls Up, NCGS, 10×10 and Nickelodeon.
Global Twitter Party with Villages in Action
Girl Up hosted its first-ever Twitter Party connecting girls in the Kikuube Village of Uganda (pictured left) with hundreds of Tweeters from around the world. The hour-long conversation was like a modern-day pen-pal program, with pen and paper being replaced by laptops and smart phones. This groundbreaking event was facilitated through a partnership with Teddy Ruge, Word Bank Lead Social Media Strategist and founder of Villages in Action. With help from Girl Up Champion Ivanka Trump, the party reached more than 1.5 million people worldwide. Click here to read more.
International Women’s Day
This year’s International Women’s Day theme of empowering rural aligns with Girl Up’s mission to address the needs of adolescent girls in developing countries, particularly those living in rural areas. We had the exciting opportunity to meet Kumbukani – or Kumba, as her friends call her – a Girl Guide from Malawi who came to attend the Commission on the Status of Women. Kumba is a trainer for peer educators in a joint UN program that Girl Up supports.
The peer educators are older girl mentors who work at girls clubs. In this program and with Kumba’s help, more than 180 peer educators have been trained reaching more than 16 primary schools and 40 villages. Over the next three years, the program will impact more than 550,000 adolescent girls between the ages of 10-19. Read more.
All month we recognized inspiring women from heads of state to everyday “sheros” in our phenomenal women blog series. Teen Advisor Lucy Lohrmann wrote about her admiration for Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Annie Kiyonaga wrote about the comedic genius of Tina Fey.
· Unite for Girls Tour – Atlanta: Our next tour stop will be in Atlanta on April 30 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Atlanta Girls’ School. There will be a special performance by teen pop stars Megan & Liz, a keynote from Spelman University President Dr. Beverly Tatum and a panel about child marriage engaging 10×10, CARE and a policy expert from the Child Marriage Coalition. Sponsors include Atlanta Girls School and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Will you be in the area? Have a friend or family member who will be? Register online today.
· May Mother-Daughter Events: There will be mother-daughter events in
o May 4 – Tribeca, NY
o May 6 – Winnetka, Chicago
o May 12 – Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
o May 17 – Washington, D.C.