To friends and followers of Girl Effect,

We’re nearing the end of one of the most turbulent years in our world history. Research shows that the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting girls and young women, wiping out 25 years of increasing gender equality in just 25 weeks. We’ve seen the heightened burden of family care placed on women, disrupted access to life-saving vaccines, and up to 47 million girls and women set to lose access to contraceptives and other health care. It is also estimated that 20 million secondary school girls have been forced out of the classroom, leaving them at greater risk of never returning to education, with early marriage, pregnancy, malnutrition, and violence in their futures.

So as I reflect on the progress Girl Effect has made this year, I am reminded that tackling the often invisible barriers faced by girls – when it comes to their health, bodies, education and futures – has never been more urgent. For this generation – and the next – we simply must be stronger than all of these challenges.

Despite the disruption to our work,  Girl Effect is  reaching millions of girls in 20 countries across Africa and Asia creating content that is helping girls make life-changing choices. Acting as a lifeline of information, support and community, we have seen:

  • 10 million people tune into our TV drama in Ethiopia with storylines tackling relationships, menstruation, puberty, vaccinations and gender-based violence.
  • 13 million views of our content about sexual reproductive health in India in less than 18 months.
  • 1.2 million messages about sex and relationships sent to our ‘Big Sister’ chatbot in both India and South Africa.

But our content is not just popular, it is inspiring girls to see and view themselves differently as well. Regular consumers of our content are:

  • 60% more likely to have high self-confidence (Rwanda)
  • 84% more likely to agree that girls are just as smart as boys (Malawi)

And through innovative partnerships with organizations like Gavi – the Vaccine Alliance, Nutrition International and Vodafone Foundation, we are driving new behaviours and supporting girls in making life-changing choices for themselves. Regular consumers of our content are:

  • 32% more likely to get their first dose of the HPV vaccine (Malawi)
  • 32% more likely to report intention to make healthy food choices (Indonesia)

In 2021 we will be accelerating our work to ensure millions more girls understand and value their bodies, health, education and ability to earn a living.

We will continue our focus on using innovative tech solutions to expand our reach. We endeavour to play our part in ensuring this generation of girls has the confidence, information, and support they need to thrive. Because if they do, everyone wins. And I hope you will join us on that mission.

Jess Posner Odede 

Chief Executive Officer