We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
By Alison Muscato
Across the globe, young girls struggle for equality in their homes, schools, and communities. On Oct. 11, 2014, the United Nations marks the International Day of the Girl Child.
The International Day of the Girl Child was created in order to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world. This year, the theme of the day is, “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence,” to acknowledge the importance of investing in and empowering adolescent girls as well as preventing and eliminating various forms of violence young girls face today. The UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, the Education for All movement, and the global movement to end child marriage are all initiatives designed to support, protect, and empower young girls.
Education plays a major role in ending the cycle of violence. One of our partners, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), is dedicated to improving educational opportunities and access for women and young girls. FAWE seeks to accomplish these goals by offering professional development initiatives for teachers, tuition assistance for orphans and students in need, and campaigns to promote education equity in local schools. Margaret Lamb, a student at Villanova, volunteered at FAWE for her Summer Service Internship placement during the summer of 2014. She worked on communications for FAWE, especially by managing their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Additionally, she worked on FAWE’s initiative, Women in STEM which aims to increase women’s interest and skill in science-related fields. Read more about Margaret’s experience here.
“Educating girls, while it may seem to be a simple development initiative, is one that involves complex understandings of the cultures and societies that are affected. There are a myriad of potential roadblocks, both practical and ideological, that must be counteracted.”
– Excerpt from Margaret Lamb’s Pre-Departure Blog Post
UN initiatives and global movements underscore the importance of recognizing girls’ rights and the challenge they face daily. Alongside these campaigns, FAWE is working hard to provide girls with more opportunities and resources in order to achieve a more equitable and peaceful society. AUA is looking for more unofficial ambassadors to work with FAWE’s Zanzibar branch in 2015. To learn more about the placement and other service options in Zanzibar, follow this link.