It’s time to stand with girls around the world! One Girl Can has launched an online silent auction and inspiring social media campaign urging people to take action as sender inequality persists as a global challenge and COVID-19 compounding the difficulties millions of girls continue to face in accessing basic human rights, like safety and education. We chatted with One Girl Can founder and CEO Lotte Davis about what we can all do to help. —Vita Daily
Hi Lotte! Please, can you tell us about One Girl Can.
One Girl Can is a Vancouver-based charitable organization breaking the cycle of poverty and working to achieve gender equality through education and mentorship. Our unique holistic model empowers a girl from the time she leaves primary school until the day she gains meaningful employment. The organization is built on a foundation of three pillars that interconnect organically to alleviate gender inequality: We Build. We Educate. We Mentor.
Why does gender inequality continue to be a global challenge/issue?
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Besides being a fundamental human right, Gender equality is essential to achieve societies with faster economic growth and sustainable development. Yet in many places, discrimination and violence against girls and women is still rampant. We know that the most powerful weapon we have in the fight for equality is the untapped potential of millions of girls—who are ready and eager to create change in their communities. We believe investing in girls will create a more prosperous future. That’s why we support girls in sub-Saharan Africa through the Cycle of Empowerment, a holistic approach that involves building schools, offering scholarships and hosting mentorship workshops in Kenya.
How has COVID-19 compounded the issue?
Evidence from past disease outbreaks in the world reveal that women and girls often face unique risks and vulnerabilities during and after global health crises. Economists predict that globally, the coronavirus pandemic will hit women and girls harder than men and boys, worsening existing inequalities. Many children’s and young adult’s education will be interrupted, protective structures disrupted and their families and communities placed under stress by health and economic challenges. With school closures around the world, girls in developing countries are left without their education but even more, they are removed from a place that provides them with safety and security. As a result, girls are more likely to experience physical and sexual violence, early marriage, and unplanned pregnancy.
You have an inspiring social media campaign in progress; can you tell us more about this, please?
For International Day of the Girl, we are asking people to share a girl hero that inspires them, using #HereForHerFuture. We want these stories to bring awareness to this important day, the many challenges girls face globally and put a spotlight on the potential they have to bring positive change to the world.
And the online silent auction: what’s the objective, and how can we participate?
The silent auction features a range of wonderful products from exclusive wines, unforgettable getaways, items from notable fashion brands and restaurants and more. We know the weather is about to change and we have items that will be perfect for the season or a great gift for someone with the holiday season approaching. The objective is to raise money for Ushirika School, located in the biggest urban slum in Africa. Building is an essential part of our cycle, it’s the beginning of everything. With no government funding for building projects, the schools of sub-Saharan Africa have no ability to finance even basic, direly needed renovations, let alone new construction. Having a safe, sanitary environment to learn in is imperative to academic success, physical safety and well-being. We are almost complete the construction of the new three-story cement building and any support to finish the project is appreciated. Over 600 students attend the school and it serves as a safe haven for the community, especially during these challenging times. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the school. You can participate online.
For both social media campaign and silent auction, what is the ultimate aim?
Ultimately, all of our work is aimed toward achieving a more gender-equal world. By educating one girl, she can make an impact in her community and the world.
Is there any item from the auction that you have your eye on?!
Loads! The local brands we’ve been so lucky to have participate have very high-value products and services and I would bid on any and all if I could … as the founder, it’s not really fair for me to compete with our donors, but I do derive a lot of enjoyment watching how enthusiastically our audience is bidding!