Press release

Discovery Communications teams up with UK government to give girls an education

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK to match-fund Discovery Communications' £12.3 million investment in girls' education

Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel, has teamed up with the Department for International Development (DFID) to improve the life chances of marginalised girls living in Africa, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced today on International Day of the Girl.

Discovery Communications is investing £12.3 million into girls’ education in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, which will be match-funded by the Department for International Development. The non-profit Discovery Learning Alliance will be the initiative’s implementing partner. DFID is also funding another 20 smaller innovative projects delivering girls’ education in Asia and West Africa. The funding forms part of the government’s Girls’ Education Challenge which is helping up to one million of the world’s poorest girls gain access to education to transform their lives.

The theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl is Innovating for Girls’ Education. Globally 65 million girls of primary school and lower secondary school age have never been to school. This increases the likelihood they will undergo early or forced marriage, early or unwanted pregnancies, violence and sexual abuse. Investing in girls’ education not only improves literacy and educational outcomes, it is key in improving livelihoods and eradicating poverty. Girls with an education have less likelihood of suffering maternal mortality, disease and other symptoms of poverty.

Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, said:

Investing in girls is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Education is vital if girls are to reach their full potential and contribute to society. Girls with an education marry later, have fewer and healthier children, and when she can earn extra income, a woman will reinvest 90% of it in her family and community. By using the skills and expertise of Discovery Communications and others, we are giving more girls the opportunity to transform their lives through education.

David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications said:

Discovery is pleased to partner with the UK Department for International Development to provide marginalised girls in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria with important resources to help them thrive. As the world’s number one non-fiction media company, education has always been a vital part of Discovery’s mission and through our global efforts, we have seen the power of media to improve lives and support community development.

In order to get more girls in school and ensure quality education, Discovery Communications’ programme will reach over 1.2 million marginalised girls, and achieve a wider impact for boys and members of their families and communities in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria by:

  • Establishing 1,000 Learning Centres in schools, providing sustainable technology, exciting video programming, and training to 8,000 teachers on using media to improve teaching and learning, as well as implementing community outreach strategies.

  • Collaborating with girls and experts to develop nationally broadcast television discussion shows where issues of gender can be woven into the public dialogue.

  • Training and supporting communities on how to develop and implement their own action plans to address gender marginalisation issues, including supporting self-formed girls clubs for in and out-of-school girls to encourage them to attend, stay and succeed in school.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK government has prioritised girls’ education as one of the four pillars of the Women and Girls Strategy. In September 2011, the Deputy Prime Minister announced the £355 million Girls’ Education Challenge – the largest ever global fund dedicated to girls’ education – calling on NGOs, charities and the private sector to find better ways of getting girls in school and ensuring they receive a quality of education to transform their future.

  2. The Girls’ Education Challenge in total will help up to one million of the world’s poorest girls to have an opportunity to improve their lives through education in 22 focus countries, leverage additional resources for girls’ education from the private sector and develop new knowledge on cost effective programming.

  3. Discovery Communications has been awarded funding through the Strategic Partnerships Window for the most innovative, effective and well evaluated pilot projects that support marginalised girls to succeed in their education. These are the first partnerships of their kind between DFID and the private sector and bring DFID and global business together to deliver education solutions for marginalised girls.

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