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20 November 2012 International Children’s Day: "Every Child in School"

  • What is the Girl Child Education Fund? The Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF) supports the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 in developing countries whose nurse parent or parents have died, paying for fees, uniforms, shoes and books. We work in partnership with member national nurses associations to ensure that the money goes directly to education costs. Learn more...
  • Why is the GCEF concentrating on girls?

Currently there are 62 million girls out of school worldwide. Many will not be able to go to school unless we can help.  The education of girls has a significant impact on every area of a woman’s life.  According to UNICEF, “educating girls for six years or more drastically and consistently improves their prenatal care, postnatal care and childbirth survival rates.  Read more...

Educating mothers also greatly cuts the death rate of children under five. Educated girls have higher self-esteem, are more likely to avoid HIV infection, violence and exploitation, and to spread good health and sanitation practices to their families and throughout their communities. And an educated mother is more likely to send her children to school.”[1]  An educated woman also has a better chance of earning an income herself, which has a positive effect on her family, and therefore on society as a whole.  

Educating girls means better health

  • Improved family planning
  • Lower infant mortality: every day over 2700 children under the age of five will die needlessly because their mothers were denied an education earlier in life
  • Fewer maternal deaths in childbirth
  • Lower HIV/AIDS infection rates: rates are doubled among young people who do not finish primary school

 Educating girls means better futures

  • Greater participation in the work force and increased family incomes: for each additional year a girl is in school, her wages as an adult rise by approximately 15 percent
  • Greater chance that their own children will be educated: children whose mothers have no education are more than twice as likely to be out of school as children whose mothers have some education

What do the girls have to say? 

ICN has received many letters from the girls who have graduated from GCEF programme. Here are a few excerpts:

“Besides providing education, [the GCEF] gives parental comfort to the orphan girls and gives them hope to face another day in their lives and also wipe away their tears.” – Uganda

“Completing school has helped me have a sense of direction in my life. It has helped me realize that I can be an important person to the society.” - Zambia

“Finally I feel guilty no more; I use the school facilities at peace. There is nothing as liberating as free conscience. This programme has opened up countless opportunities for me like participating in the Science Congress competitions, exhibiting my poetic powers at the festivals and above all has inspired me to be the academic giant I wished for.” – Kenya

“Personally, the GCEF has come to my recue.  When my mother died I thought my life had come to an end since she was the only one responsible for bringing me up, including my education.  But the existence of the GCEF has come to make my future brighter since I have now completed my high school education and am now pursuing my studies in financial accounting.” - Swaziland

ICN position statements on

ICN fact sheets on


Last Updated on Monday, 19 November 2012 11:40