I am not going to tell you that the world can be a dangerous place for a girl. You already know that. The problems have been well-documented: child marriage, teen pregnancy, violence, unequal education.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to your support, the International Women’s Health Coalition is making a crucial, even life-saving difference in girls’ lives in places where the dangers are greatest.

We fund and train local women’s groups in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East to give girls the information, skills, and support they need to become healthy, strong, and empowered women. In Nigeria, we help launch innovative outreach programs like those of Girls’ Power Initiative that educate young girls about their bodies and their rights, and promote self confidence.

Here’s what 10-year-old Emilia from the city of Calabar said about Girls’ Power Initiative:

“I was surprised to learn that female circumcision was actually harmful to girls… I learned that I had rights as a girl child. It was the right information at the right time and I will be forever grateful.”

In Pakistan, we helped bring a life-skills and sexuality education curriculum into public schools—a major and unprecedented breakthrough that reaches hundreds of thousands of girls. We give courageous local groups like Aahung the tools they need to overcome opposition and expand efforts to teach girls and boys that they are equal and that violence is never acceptable. 

Muniba, age 14, in Karachi related what she learned through the curriculum:

“If a girl is going out to study and boys are teasing her, then the parents should be involved in the discussion. If this is not done, then the girl’s right to education is violated. She should fight for her rights.”

We not only work locally in communities, we also keep pressure on world leaders. We are a strong voice at the U.S. State Department as we push for American influence to end child marriage around the world. We are active at the United Nations to make sure governments do the right thing for women and girls.

We have made progress many thought was not possible and we must not let up, for the sake of girls like Emilia and Muniba. Please make a generous contribution today to support our efforts. Without IWHC, brave women leaders in countries like Nigeria or Pakistan would get little or no support.

Thank you.

Françoise Girard

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