As part of the Mannheim & ESSEC executive MBA program, the cohort students (students who work through a curriculum together to achieve the same academic degree) have had to implement a social project which is a way for them to engage with a non-profit organization and give back while learning and applying the skills learned from the MBA program. By supporting local actions of Action Education’s initiative worldwide, the group contributes to ESSEC’s strategic goal to strengthen ties with change-makers in our local environment and contribute to fighting social injustice.

Women and girls are half of the world’s population and half of its potential. Therefore, investing in women and girls is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. Empowerment through education enriches the lives of girls and women, which positively affects society and creates stability within their communities. Raising their status by giving them access to education, literacy, and training is crucial for a sustainable world. 

In January 2021, Action Education launched the “Education for Women Now” campaign, the association’s first global philanthropic campaign to improve access to quality education for marginalized girls and women in Africa, Asia, and Europe. The program attracts supporters; leaders and professionals from around the world that would like to build a better world through education and women empowerment.

For SANJEEV KOTNALA, Campaign Committee Member founder of INTRADIA World, a brand, marketing and communication firm in India. “I believe that women are the house, are the center, and the tipping point. You change them, you change their attitude, help them raise a new life and you’ll do a lot of work for the coming generations. She’s the center, you change her, you change the family, you change the family, you change the society, you change the society, you change the nation and the change will go glowing. That’s why Education For Women Now is so important!”

For STEPHENIE FOSTER, Campaign Committee Member Partner in a consulting firm called “Smash Strategies” in the USA “Making sure that girls have access to education is fundamental and very important, that’s why I support this campaign because I really believe that it all starts with the ability of girls to make decisions about their own lives and how they want to participate in their communities within their country.”

Girls are the first ones to stay home and support their family in times of crisis. Increased dropout rates disproportionately affect adolescent girls, which further entrench gender gaps in education and lead to increased risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancy, and early and forced marriage. At the moment, 23.8 million children and youth, 11 million girls, are at risk of dropping out of school due to interruptions to their education, making them vulnerable to violence and early marriage (UNESCO). To  fight those inequalities, Education for Women Now is actively involved in numerous educational projects around the world. Furthermore, with the COVID crisis dramatically increasing poverty and gender inequalities, Action Education is more than ever focused on every front and can count on its multiple success stories to keep the motivation and the focus high on its mission.

In Laos, with the support of L’oreal Fund for women (a charitable endowment fund created by the L’Oréal Group), Action Education launched an innovative solution and position education as one of the answer to female empowerment. They created a leadership and entrepreneurial project for young ethnic minority women. After participating in the program, Onglao, 23-year-old, launched her own business with others from her village. This is something that she never could have imagined having the confidence to do or the opportunity. Married at the age of 15, she hopes for a different future for the future generation.Most girls here dropout of school early to get married, to go to work at one of the factories in Vientiane, or to farm – I used to be one of those girls,” said Onglao.

In India, 23 year old Saturpa is now a small business owner that was able to open her own car repair garage with the help of the NGO. She is now empowering other people and training marginalized youth from nearby villages in repair and car service.

In Senegal, Action Education with the support of L’oreal Fund for women, developed the SCOFILLES, a two-year project that will support 300 girls vulnerable academically from rural areas to attend school and be able to learn, grow and reach higher grade levels.  The project is coming on time,” said a professor from the Middle School of Dialambéré. “Keeping girls in school, especially college, is a major challenge. By addressing them, you have targeted the vulnerable category of the education system. For a number of reasons, our girls are leaving school prematurely and family spending up to that point is falling apart“. He concludes on the importance of male involvement: “It is important to work with male parents, because they are the ones who give their daughters in marriage. “

The global Education for Women Now campaign will ensure that an additional 3 million women and girls in Africa, Asia, and Europe can unlock their potential and have access to quality education by 2025. Women and girls, who represent half of the world, should not be left behind in obtaining an education. Today, most of the world’s 773 million illiterate adults are women (UNESCO). Twice as many girls as boys still will never start school. In difficult times what’s needed most is action, help, and support

By Naoual Dehak and Jonelle Hanson

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