Photo: Watch Me Go founder, Katie, with four of the first girls accepted into the program. This shot was taken seconds after the girls were informed they would be featured on the website to have funds raised for their school fees.
When I first decided to go into the field of international development, I never thought I would end up starting my own nonprofit. During my graduate studies, I learned theories, equations and policies that could be implemented by governments to improve their countries’ economies, and I believed this approach was the best way to impact the most people and ultimately end poverty. It seemed like a fail-proof plan, afterall, the government is the heart of a country and what it does largely determines the well-being of its people.
Naïve and ready to change the world, I was ready to get to work and was lucky enough to get to work at the World Bank, a place filled with the most brilliant development practitioners in the world. If any institution could end poverty, I thought it would be them, and I was reminded of that belief as I arrived at work everyday and saw their bold vision in the entryway–“A world free of poverty”. What I didn’t really comprehend until working there was how long these brilliant teams of Harvard-trained economists had been working with developing country governments on implementing these solutions, how often these attempts fail, and how long this approach can take to reach the neediest populations even when they are successful.
The problem of global poverty is more enormous, complex, and overwhelming than I ever imagined. Despite all of the great work being done at the World Bank, most of the people I have met in the developing world are still waiting for programs or policies or any kind of help to “trickle-down” to them, and until then, they are stuck. Frustrated by this dose of reality, I decided to try a different approach—to help as many people in need as I can right now. So I started Watch Me Go, and I have put the framework in place for people to be able to come together and change the lives of adolescent girls by helping them go to high school and break free from poverty today. This is one problem, one group of people, who we can help now. And these girls will then have the power to help bring change to their families, their communities, and their countries.
Thanks to all who contribute to helping as many people as we can now until we achieve “A World Free of Poverty”.