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The Launch of the World Bank's Adolescent Girls Initiative
Joyce and her fellow delegate from Liberia
Cherie, Phenapha and her Ugandan friend
Ngozi, Cherie and the young participants
"Today, 1.5 billion people are ages 12-24 worldwide, nine out of ten of these young people live in developing countries, the most ever in history. Of these, approximately 625 million are girls and young women, ages 10-24. This is the next generation of economic and social actors.
Adolescence is a critical time to intervene to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, by helping girls stay in school, build capital assets, resist early pregnancy and marriage and a future of low earnings. Furthermore, investing in adolescent girls' economic opportunities can have a large development impact with long term benefits to economic growth." The World Bank
On 10th October 2008 a group of remarkable adolescent girls attended the launch of the World's Bank Adolescent Girls Initiative ("AGI") at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington.
The girls who come from all around the world including Laos, Guatemala, Liberia and Uganda, spoke movingly of their lives. This is the first time that the Bank has hosted a day where the girls themselves took centre stage rather than just being talked about in their absence and the girls' presence made a real difference to the content and tone of the debate. The AGI was set up as a public/private partnership by the World Bank to promote the economic empowerment of girls and young women aged between 14 and 24 years in low income and post conflict countries over an initial three year period.
The AGI is being piloted in Liberia with by a partnership described by Danny Leipziger, a Bank Vice president as a "culture clash" between the Bank and its two partner governments of Liberia and Demark and the Nike Foundation. The presence of both Bob Zoelick the President of the Bank and Mark Parker the CEO of Nike Inc., showed that both cultures found the collaboration invigorating.