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UK Government joins forces with Global Citizen, CHIME FOR CHANGE, VSO to announce £100 million of funding and bring global attention to girls’ education

The UK Government Joins Forces with Global Citizen + CHIME FOR CHANGE + VSO to announce £100 million of funding and Bring Global Attention to the Issue of Girls’ Education

Girls Education Forum 2016

London, Thursday 7th July 2016, Global Citizen + CHIME FOR CHANGE + VSO and the Department for International Development (DFID) will host the Girls’ Education Forum (GEF) at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre today at which the Secretary of State Justine Greening will announce £100 million of funding to support disadvantaged girls across the developing world. The day will culminate with an evening of intimate music and inspiring speakers headlined by Tom Odell and Laura Mvula at Live at The View from The Shard in London.

New research published by VSO to coincide with the GEF, uncovers shockingly negative attitudes to girls’ education held by families and even teachers in northern Uganda. In the Karamoja region, families often stop girls going to school, as it is claimed they do not fetch as high a ‘bride price’ or dowry as those who prepare for a traditional marriage, often while still a child, at home. Girls who trade traditional dress and domestic duties for a school uniform and textbooks are seen as lazy and immoral and even labelled ‘prostitutes’ who invite assault, early pregnancy and HIV. Currently just 13% of girls are reported as completing primary education in district of Moroto in Karamoja, while the average for girls in Uganda is 41%.

The GEF is the culmination of Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE'S #SheWill campaign - which aims to break down the barriers currently preventing 63 million girls across the world from going to, and staying in, school. The GEF will be followed by a unique, exclusive music event - open only to Global Citizens who have supported campaigning efforts in recent weeks to put pressure on leaders to prioritise the issue of girls’ education - being held at The View from The Shard. Headlined by Tom Odell and supported by Laura Mvula, the event is the first of its kind to be held on the top decks of one of London’s most iconic buildings.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said:

“Education doesn’t just shape individuals, it shapes countries – but right now too many young girls are deprived of an education simply because of their gender. Today’s event is about putting a spotlight on that, and focusing on what education can do to unlock prospects for girls around the world.”

“The UK is leading the fight for gender equality and has already helped 5.3 million girls in developing countries receive a quality education. I am proud that the UK will now be helping a further 175,000 of the most vulnerable and marginalised girls in the world to get the education they need to have choice and control over their futures.”

Amy Agnew, Europe Director at Global Citizen said:

"Today the UK has taken an important step to ensure that all girls are able to go to school and learn. Tens of thousands of Global Citizens have taken action to support this financial commitment, but there is still so much more to be done. Globally, funding for education has been woefully neglected and still, millions of girls remain out of school. Global Citizen supports Britain's long standing commitment to the poorest people in the world and we call on all world leaders to step up and prioritise investment in the future of girls."

Led by the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans, The GEF is convening governments, business leaders and pioneers in girls education to agree to a concrete action plan - and the first steps towards its implementation - that will ensure no girl is left behind, and that girls not only go to school, but also that they stay the course and get a quality education.

Attendees to the GEF on the day include former Australian Prime Minister and chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard, Maria Eitel, as well as education ministers from Afghanistan and South Sudan, and the Deputy Foreign Minister from Norway. Also in attendance will be 150 young UK overseas volunteers and six volunteers from Ghana, Nepal, Malawi and Tanzania. They will be sharing their experiences having taken part in education and girls empowerment projects in the developing world, funded by the UK government’s International Citizen Service program that is managed by leading international development organisation Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

Worldwide 63 million girls are out of school, two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women. A girl who attends secondary school is six times less likely to marry as a child and worldwide twice as many girls as boys will never start school.

New financial commitments announced today will support girls’ learning, ensuring that even the poorest and most marginalised girls have the opportunity to learn, and help girls get a secondary education. The UK has helped 11 million children get an education in the last 5 years, training 177,000 teachers, building classrooms and ensuring the poorest girls and boys have school bursaries and textbooks. This work will continue with a commitment to help 11 million girls and boys gain an education by 2020.

According to UN figures, less than half of the girls (46%) in South Asia complete primary and lower secondary education, with just over a third (36%) doing so in Sub-Saharan Africa. Boys, on average, complete nearly 2 years more education compared to girls on the continent.

In just a few weeks, the Global Citizen’s + CHIME FOR CHANGE  #SheWill campaign has mobilised tens of thousands of Global Citizens who have to take nearly 100,000 actions, who have spoken out in defence of all girls, and put pressure on key leaders to prioritise the issue of girls' education. Supporters of the campaign have had the chance to win tickets to Live at The View from the Shard - a night of intimate music from artists Tom Odell and Laura Mvula, and inspiring speakers from across the world. Global Citizen Ambassador Rahkee Thakrar will be compering. At this spectacular evening, Global Citizens will have the chance to celebrate the impact of their efforts and honour the campaigners and world leaders fighting for the right of all girls to learn.

Tom Odell said:

“Today is hugely important for girls everywhere. Every girl, wherever they are born, deserves the right to access education. I'm honoured to stand by that principle and excited to perform for Global Citizen + CHIME FOR CHANGE Live at the View from The Shard with Laura Mvula - a unique way of using the power of music for a great cause.  #SheWill be a leader of tomorrow – but only if we invest in her now.”

Laura Mvula said:

“It's unacceptable that in 2016 63 million girls still do not have access to education. I'm standing with Global Citizen and CHIME FOR CHANGE to both celebrate the steps that have been taken to address the issue and to call on world leaders to focus on ending it. It's always great when music can act as a vessel for action so I'm honoured to be performing at The View from The Shard this evening”

Bonavitha Gahaihi, a 26 year old VSO International Citizen Service education project worker from Tanzania, who is speaking at the GEF said:

“On several occasions people came to me, encouraging me to drop out of school and instead get married to a rich man. Some came to me saying that staying in school would make me poorer in the long run, and I should leave. I shared these challenges with my family and my teachers, and, luckily, they supported me tirelessly.”

“Two cousins of mine who were at school with me dropped out early and married very young. They have hard lives and their children are not in education because of a lack of support. When a girl is denied access to education, it impacts her whole life and her family. When a girl gets an education, her family becomes educated. Through my work I now help communities understand the importance of educating girls and help them claim their self-esteem, dignity and rights.”

Notes to Editors:

Media Handouts:

View & download pictures from the Girls Education Forum from here.

View & download VSO TV package and pictures from northern Uganda, girls education, June 2016.  

View & download VSO research published today: From the Ground Up - The Challenge of Girl Child Education in Karamoja in 2015

Press Contacts:

Gabriela Franchina, - (0)20 7233 6425  

Ros Clarence-Smith, - (0)20 7233 6425

Hratche Koundarjian, Global Media Manager VSO, - (0)7905 911 039

Louise Sheridan, Media Officer ICS / VSO, - (0)7535 717 739


Our vision is a world without extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizen works in partnership with and supports organisations working to end extreme poverty. Committed to providing effective actions and powerful campaigns, Global Citizen aims to unlock the power of every individual to play his or her part in the movement to end extreme poverty in the next 15 years. We believe that when an organised, critical mass of individuals in society aspire to the values of Global Citizen, and when they are equipped to take meaningful action, we can change the policies and practices that contribute to keeping people in extreme poverty.


CHIME FOR CHANGE, founded by Gucci in 2013, is a global campaign to convene, unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women around the world.  In 2015, CHIME announced a long-term partnership with Global Citizen, a movement to end extreme poverty by 2030.  Together CHIME FOR CHANGE and Global Citizen are joining forces to promote gender equality. CHIME FOR CHANGE Co-Founders Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Salma Hayek Pinault continue to lead the campaign with its coalition of partner organizations. Founding Partners include the Kering Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook, Hearst Magazines and Catapult. CHIME is powered by crowdfunding partners GlobalGiving and CrowdRise. Through the power of crowdfunding, CHIME FOR CHANGE has funded more than 420 projects in 88 countries through 153 non-profit partners reaching hundreds of thousands of girls and women around the world.


The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. We're ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.


VSO is the world’s leading international development organisation that uses volunteers to fight poverty and reduce inequality. Our vision is simple: a world without poverty. Our approach is unique: sending skilled volunteers from sectors such as health, education and business to work with partners who have requested our help. VSO enables a two-way exchange that benefits the volunteer and the community they serve far beyond the life of the placement. In Africa and Asia VSO - whose work is supported through public donations as well as support through DFID - is working with volunteers, the state, local organisations and private sector to help realise VSO’s vision of every child having access to a decent education which is culturally appropriate and relevant to their lives.