The first of our 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa: educating girls can have big, societal-level impacts. What if girls not only got an education but also developed self-confidence, self-awareness, and a voice—then what would happen to their families, their communities, and the economy?
Girls + Education
The Best Investment Ever
We could start and stop the whole list here. Investing in girls in Africa (anywhere, actually) is so important and can have the biggest impact.
Education for girls is not a new idea, but combining education with contextualized leadership development and mentoring could be a catalyst for big, societal-level advancements.
The first thing you notice is that Muluberhan’s eyes sparkle. Maybe it’s her name, which in Amharic means “the complete light.” Maybe it’s her henna-dyed hands that make her eyes pop, or maybe it’s something more, an untapped possibility, curiosity, and potential.
At 12 years old, she’s on the verge of a life-changing decision that will not involve her. Depending on her family’s situation, she will either stay in school for a few more years or be taken out to help with work at home. If she stays in school her future health, household economics, and ability to make decisions will be greatly different.
If she can get not only an education, but also a supportive female role model to mentor her, she will go even further. In combination, education, leadership development, and mentoring of girls have huge economic and societal implications.
When 10% more girls go to school, it increases a country’s GDP by 3%. What if girls not only got an education but also developed self-confidence, self-awareness, and a voice—then what would happen to their families, their communities, and the economy?
Coming soon: more leadership lessons we’ve learned in East Africa. Stay tuned!
Questions for Further Reflection:
- Think about a time that you had to make a major decision which had a significant impact on your life. If you had made another decision, how might your life look different?
- What kind of investments have you placed in someone, or have been placed into you?
Tell us your big ideas in the comments.
This series, 20 Leadership Lessons Learned in East Africa, was brought to you by CCL’s Ethiopia office and Leadership Beyond Boundaries, an initiative by the Center for Creative Leadership to democratize leadership development and unlock the power of human potential around the globe.
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