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A look back: highlights from Malala Fund’s work in 2019

McKinley Tretler

Courtesy of Malin Fezehai for Malala Fund

McKinley Tretler

McKinley Tretler is communications manager at Malala Fund. She works to develop and execute Malala Fund’s messaging and media strategies.

This year, Malala Fund continued to lead the fight for education and equality around the world. We invested in locally-led initiatives that are helping get girls in school and learning. We secured more overseas aid for girls’ education from world leaders. And we provided girl activists with the tools and platforms they need to create change. Here is a look at some of Malala Fund’s accomplishments of 2019:

  • Malala Fund grew our network of Malala Fund Champions to include 40 local education advocates in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. With training and investment from Malala Fund, these local leaders are breaking down the barriers that keep girls from learning.
    • In Afghanistan, Champion Zarmina S. worked with the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs to disseminate sermons and materials that promote girls' education to nearly 5,000 mosques across the country.
    • In Nigeria, Champion Habiba Mohammed provided 418 out-of-school girls with classes in literacy, numeracy and life skills, which helped 86% of them enrol in full-time public school. As a result of her success, Habiba is now working to help replicate the model at a girls' centre in Niger.
    • In Pakistan, Champion Qamar Naseem's advocacy work led to the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa allocating 70% of its budget towards girls' education. This was the single largest allocation for girls' education in the province's history and will go towards reconstruction, establishment and rehabilitation of girls' schools in the area.
  • Malala and Champion Frances Uchenna Igwilo travelled to Paris to ask G7 leaders to double their aid to girls’ education in the Sahel region of North Africa, where 11 million children are out of school. As a result, the U.K. government announced its commitment of $110 million to support education in emergencies and earmarked one-third of the funds for the Sahel. During the 2019 United Nations General Assembly, Malala Fund helped secure an additional $111 million from governments for education in emergencies.
  • In our new “Where We Work” YouTube series, Malala Fund showcased how our Champions’ approaches to getting girls in school vary depending on their community and context. Deema Hiram shared about her work in Afghanistan to re-enrol girls who were out of school because of the Taliban’s ban on education. In northern Nigeria, Munira Yerima discussed leading a group of local leaders, parents and school officials in educating families on the value of girls’ education. 
  • Malala’s released her latest book, "We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World." More than 68.5 million people are currently living as refugees or internally displaced people — most are girls. The book introduces audiences to girls behind the numbers who share stories of their struggles and triumphs. Proceeds from the book sales go toward Malala Fund’s work supporting girls’ education in conflict.
  • To raise awareness about the link between girls’ education and economic development, Malala Fund created the Full Force pledge where organisations and individuals can commit to taking action for girls’ education. The pledge was available in 11 languages. From the Philippines to South Africa to Afghanistan, girls from around the world pledged their support; companies like Starbucks and leaders at Pluralsight, the IMF and Avon Foundation for Women also committed to do more for women and girls.
  • Malala Fund launched “Roll Call,” an eight-episode YouTube series following girls from Brazil, India, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. Filmed by the girls themselves, each episode takes viewers into their daily lives — their aspirations, struggles, fears, friendships and families — all in their own words. 
  • Ziauddin Yousafzai and Malala Fund Champions Pamela Okoroigwe and Hiba Hamzi joined Malala Fund staff at the Women Deliver conference in Canada where they launched a new paper, "Financing at Full Force. The report details how increased financial resources to poorer countries and support of national education sector plans can help ensure all girls learn and earn at full force.
  • Assembly continued to provide a platform for girls to share their stories and to discover ideas and inspiration from their peers around the world. Fast Company selected Assembly as a finalist in its 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards Competition. Assembly featured work by and about girls and women from more than 90 countries, translated content in 12 languages and reached hundreds of thousands of readers. Some stories from this year include: a short graphic novel about escaping Boko Haram by 15-year old Nigerian student Aisha Mustapha, an essay by Yazidi refugee Nibras Khudaida and a Q&A with Malala by menstrual activist Amika George.
  • Malala travelled to Ethiopia this July to learn directly from girls and local education advocates about their lives, threats to girls’ education and the changes they want to see in their country. While Ethiopia is making progress towards gender equality, more than 5 million girls remain out of school and the country has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. 
  • For International Day of the Girl, Malala Fund launched the #WatchHerShine campaign, where female YouTube creators — including Monika Gobaira, Ebony, Kati Morton, Gita Savitri Devi, Danielle Bainbridge and Karen Polinesia — created original videos focused challenging expectations of girls and women and raising money for girls’ education.
  • In December, Teen Vogue featured Malala on the cover of their final issue of the decade about youth activism and Malala’s role in inspiring a generation of students to speak out. Malala also appeared as a guest on the new talk show, "A Little Late with Lilly Singh" and wrote an op-ed for Fortune magazine

Malala Fund is proud of all we’ve accomplished so far and look forward to helping even more girls learn and lead in 2020. Donate today to help Malala Fund build a brighter future for girls — and our world.

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