Why We Work
Why We Work
High school education in the developing world isn't free.
We help girls living in slums get the education they need to escape poverty.
In slums around the world where poverty is rampant, life is extremely difficult.
These informal settlements have no infrastructure, security, or school system. Access to basic needs including education is limited, and girls are last in line for everything.
Inside a slum, thousands of people live crammed together in tiny shacks without electricity, trash collection, running water, or toilets.
A slum is a dangerous place for a girl.
Girls are extremely vulnerable to rape or other sexual abuse and are preyed on by men of all ages, including teachers and relatives. As a result, girls are at a high risk for HIV/AIDS and early pregnancy. Many are orphans with no one who cares for their well-being. Unable to afford high school tuition, young girls become trapped in the slum. With only an 8th grade education, their options are limited to early marriage or casual labor jobs, and many are forced to turn to prostitution as a last resort.
"Investment in girls' education may well be the highest-Lawrence Summers, former Chief Economist, World Bank
return investment available in the developing world."
Girls have the power to change the world. Educating girls is the best way to help a country break the cycle of poverty. The return on investment for educated girls is higher than for boys because girls change communities. Educated girls get married later, have fewer children, and earn higher wages so that they can properly care for their children. They place a higher value on education so their children will also be educated. All it takes is one educated generation of girls to break the cycle of poverty.
Hear from one of our volunteer mentors.
Wanting to have a more direct impact on poverty, we left our jobs at the World Bank in 2012 and traveled to Africa in search of answers. Five countries and many slums later, we met an outspoken group of 7th and 8th grade girls in Kibera slum, Kenya, who inspired the idea for Watch Me Go. We learned first-hand the many challenges they faced trying to get an education and stay safe in the slum. We were awestruck by their incredible desire to learn and succeed despite being born into a place where the odds were stacked against them. They desperately wanted to get out of the slum and become something in life, and they made one thing very clear:
One girl, Rebecca, would ask us to go home at night and gather information for her on becoming a lawyer in Kenya because she didn't have access to internet or other resources to find out herself, but it was her dream to become a lawyer. It was so hard to imagine her not even getting the chance to go to high school, or even worse, being forced into early marriage or prostitution. These girls were bright and yearning for change, and they articulated their dreams with inspiring determination. After getting to know them, we were convinced that they were the solution to ending poverty. We started supporting several of them so they could go to high school, but we knew we couldn't support all of them without help, and leaving them in the slum was not an option.
In 2013, the idea for Watch Me Go won seed funding from D-Prize, a social entrepreneurship competition for distributing development solutions, like education, on a large scale. Through this platform, we hope to be able to impact the lives of thousands of girls around of the world.
Thank you to everyone who helps support our mission,
Katie and Ian
Ian with some of the girls that inspired the idea for Watch Me Go on our trip in 2012.
Katie, in 2013, telling some of the same girls that they would all be going to high school after starting Watch Me Go.
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