By Our reporter
KAMPALA, Uganda, Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with BRAC Uganda has launched a girl child training programme to benefit more than 3000 young female entrepreneurs. In a press statement issued by Ms Cynthia Mpanga, the corporate affairs manager, Standard Chartered Bank, skilling has started with US$113,000 (Shs420 million) through the goal programme.
“Last year, we launched a pilot on empowerment by adding a module on entrepreneurship where we provided 250 girls with start-up kits and financial education to out of school girls with the aim of making them financially independent. The success of this pilot is what has informed our decision to invest a further Shs420 million in supporting 250 girls in business start-ups and the up-skilling of 3,000 girl entrepreneurs with financial education,” she said in a press statement issued Tuesday, September 11th, 2018.
The fund was unveiled in Kampala by Ms Janat Mukwaya, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development. Other participants included staff and clients of the bank, BRAC management as well as the girls who have benefited from the fund since it was launched.
Goal is a sport for development programme that provides financial literacy and life skills training to adolescent girls, Ms Mpanga noted. Adding, “Through a combination of sports and life skills training, Goal aims to empower and equip adolescent girls with the confidence, knowledge, and skills they need to be integral economic leaders in their families, communities, and societies.”
She further explained, “Standard Chartered Bank’s decision to implement the goal project is as a result of the urgent need to address issues affecting adolescent girls in Uganda. We belief adolescent girls have the potential to be the most significant agents of change in their families, communities, and economies.”
Through the bank’s sustainability pillar focusing on ‘youth’, the bank is seeking to use sports like netball to create a conducive and fun learning environment to empower adolescent girls. In Uganda, the Bank is partnering with BRAC, an NGO which focuses on alleviating poverty by empowering the poor, and helping them to bring about positive changes in their lives by creating opportunities for the poor.
Country Representative BRAC Uganda, Ms. Hasina Akhter said that the intervention is necessary and timely because Uganda is witnessing increasing numbers of adolescent girls who are forced to leave school to look after their families, are married off or are compelled to engage in hazardous working environments because of the poverty their families are facing.
“There are so many secondary school-age children remaining out of school in Uganda and increasing numbers are being married before 18 years. This poses a serious threat to their lives, health and future prospects. Global statistics show that with seven years of education, a girl marries on average four years later and has 2.2 fewer children compared to their counterparts with less education. Although the vast majority of African and other countries in the world have ratified the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 16 percent of girls worldwide are involved in child labour. In the least developed countries, this figure rises to 28 percent. Girls are particularly at risk because of lower rates of education and literacy, and higher rates of early school drop-out.” she said.
Standard Chartered Bank’s CEO, Mr. Albert R. Saltson said educating girls and giving them the tools to shape their own future has an incredible multiplier effect on economic growth;
“Educated women are healthier, as are their children, who are more likely to attend school and study. Investing in girls can result in increased prosperity and diversity. We recognise that gender equality is critical to economic growth. Research has shown that countries around the world could achieve gender parity and global annual GDP could increase by as much as US$12 trillion by 2025. Gender equality is directly correlated with stronger national competitiveness. Many of the markets where we have our footprint have low levels of gender equality; we are, therefore, uniquely positioned to help facilitate gender parity and tackle some of the factors preventing women from achieving gender parity in the labour market including lack of education, disease, cultural bias, gender-based violence and poverty.” he stated.
Saltson further advised that research demonstrates one of the most impactful ways to enable women and facilitate economic equality is to ensure equal access to education. Countries with more equal education have on average a 23 per cent greater income per capita. Goal supports girls to take their first steps as leaders in their families, communities and economies.” Saltson said concluded.
Goal was first launched in 2006 as a pilot in Delhi and reached 70 girls. Since inception, the programme has expanded and is currently active in 25 countries and has reached over 400,000 girls. Our aim is to meet our 2013 Clinton Global Initiative goal (CGI) which is to reach 600,000 girls by the end of 2020.
In Uganda, we launched goal in 2014 with BRAC as our implementing partner. We have so far reached over 23,000 girls. We have been focusing on education to empower the adolescent girls through 5 modules of training.