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Let Girls Lead
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Let Girls Lead is a global movement that empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling, and strategic partnerships. Let Girls Lead has improved the education, health, and livelihoods of over 1 million girls globally, leveraging the innovative work of the Adolescent Girls Advocacy & Leadership Initiative. Recent successes include:

– Ending child marriage in Malawi at the community level by empowering girls to advocate with village chiefs to outlaw child marriage, and an ongoing national campaign to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 years of age.
– Guaranteeing legal protection for girls’ health, education, and welfare in Liberia, through passage and implementation of the national Children’s Law.
– Reducing teen pregnancy and HIV infection rates by improving youth access to comprehensive education and services in Guatemala and Honduras.
– Building a global network of over 100 leaders and organizations advocating for passage and implementation of girl-friendly laws, policies, and funding around the world.

Entries by Let Girls Lead

I Am a Liberian. I Am Not a Virus.

(15) Comments | Posted October 17, 2014 | 5:19 PM

Helping Our People Excel, Inc. (HOPE) is a grantee partner of Let Girls Lead that works to ensure the Educational, Social and Economic Empowerment of Liberians with a special focus on women and young people. Aisha Cooper Bruce is Let Girls Lead's country representative in Liberia...

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Let Girls Lead #IDG2014 -- Leading the Way for Trans* Rights

(1) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 4:46 PM

Let Girls Lead is thrilled to share this blog as the conclusion to our blog series written by amazing girl leaders around the world in celebration of International Day of the Girl. Today, read a piece by Rihanna Ferrera, co-founder of Asociación Cozumel Trans and 2013 Let Girls...

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Let Girls Lead #IDG2014 - Teenage Pregnancy in Nigeria: Facts and Truth

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 2:57 PM

Let Girls Lead is thrilled to celebrate International Day of the Girl 2014 (IDG) with a blog series written by amazing girl leaders involved in our work around the world. Today we share a piece by Somotochuku of Nigeria, who joins the discussions concerning girls in commemoration of...

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Let Girls Lead #IDG2014 - Making the Global Connection: Girls Matter Everywhere

(1) Comments | Posted October 3, 2014 | 11:37 AM

Let Girls Lead is thrilled to continue our celebration of International Day of the Girl 2014 with this new entry to our blog series written by amazing girl leaders involved in our work around the world. In this piece, Lorena Gomez-Barris of Let Girls Lead reflects on the...

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Let Girls Lead #IDG2014: Moving Girls Towards Equality Through Sports and Education

(3) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 4:34 PM

Let Girls Lead is thrilled to continue our celebration of International Day of the Girl 2014 with this new entry to our blog series written by amazing girl leaders involved in our work around the world. Today we share the perspectives of two remarkable girls, Aselef of Ethiopia...

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Let Girls Lead #IDG 2014: When I Picture a Fair World for Girls

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 1:35 PM

Let Girls Lead is thrilled to launch our celebration of International Day of the Girl 2014 with a blog series written by amazing girl leaders involved in our work around the world. Today we are sharing a piece by Gabriela del Carmen, an 11 year old girl from...

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Plight of a Malawian Girl-Child

(3) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 2:24 PM

Let Girls Lead is thrilled to launch our celebration of International Day of the Girl 2014 with a blog series written by amazing girl leaders involved in our work around the world. Today's blog is by Memory Banda, an 18 year old girl leader from Malawi, who will...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Announcing the 10 Finalist Videos

(2) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 6:33 PM

We need your help to select the winner of our Global Girls' Conversation Video Contest!

Let Girls Lead is honoring International Women's Day 2014 by announcing the 10 finalists of our Global Girls' Conversation Video contest. In September 2013, Let Girls Lead asked girls from around the world...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Hillary Mahlangu

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 7:37 PM

Hillary Mahlangu, 20

Johannesburg, South Africa


This week, the Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation Video Contest features a video submission by Hillary Mahlangu from Johannesburg, South Africa. Hillary is part of a movement for activists called V-girls. The group believes women should stand up and stand together against the violence that is directed at them in their country and around the world. She helps other girls, like herself, raise their voices and be counted in their collective struggle to change the perceptions that people have toward women as well as the laws that govern the country.

Hillary is an advocate for L.G.B.T.I (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex), women's inclusion and rights. Her group uses poetry, performance, stroytelling and targeted campaigns such as "I post better nude" to amplify their message.

Hilary's Story:

In my country a woman no longer embraces her God-given beauty for if not western ideology governing a female's prospective appearance, she made to feel worthless and tormented with fear that even though she is gifted to bare a nation, she still becomes an object for violation.

Hi. I'm Hillary from South Africa and I am part of a movement called V-girls. It's a movement for activists who stand up against violence against women and children. And with it we have help numerous girls establish a voice of their own. We have fought against sexual violence in our country and are still fighting against those rights.

Again, I have also recently developed my own movement; it's called I Pose Better Nude. A very controversial term that we use to establish the rights that have not been established by our constitution. People still remain scrutinized in our country. People still remain objects and victims and are still seen as less worthy. I'm talking about L.G.B.T.I (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersexed) rights and sexual rights that aren't being recognized. Women are still victimized in our country and so with this movement we communicate with people on so many different platforms; in artistic forms- we communicate with people; we challenge the laws of our country. We perform and we create stories and we interact as well as write and do whatever it takes until our voices are heard.

So I say I pose better nude.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest has been an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will continue to feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Jari Taylor, Chicago

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2014 | 10:52 AM

Jari Taylor, 15 Chicago, USA


This week's Global Girls Conversation Video Contest submission comes from 15 year old Jari Taylor. Jari lives in Chicago and sees the brutal reality of the streets on a daily basis. She hears the gunshots echoing across her community at night as she tries to sleep. Her prose is powerful and she pulls us in as witnesses to her violent reality. Like many girls in the US, Jari faces community violence at a very personal level and grapples to come out the other side unscathed.

In her video, Jari reminds us that leadership is mirrored by others and learned by those who pay attention. Early in her life she was taught to stand for what she believes in, no matter what the circumstance. With this in mind, Jari participated in a new media leadership training program called Global Girl Media. The program teaches girls from under-served communities to use new media as the cornerstone of their advocacy efforts to improve girls' lives. Through this video submission to Let Girls Lead, Jari leaves a very strong impression of a powerful girl leader who has many years of successful advocacy ahead of her.

Jari's Story:
I am a leader but a leader for my own.
The leader that goes through the nights with the gunshots.
The nights that I cover my head with my bulletproof shield.
The nights that I pray to God that it is not my last night cause my first night was just like my last night, and just like last night, it could've been my last night.
But I am a leader.
The leader that watched the tears of my fallen soldiers.
The leader that never held the hand of a dying child. The leader who was afraid to open her mouth and speak the truth cause I was afraid that the truth would kill.
But I am a leader.
The leader that followed the leader.
The leader that never gave you, you, or you the chance to speak cause I didn't want to listen.
But you listen as I speak and as I speak your strength overrides your weak.
You see I was taught by a leader.
I was taught to stand for what I believe in.
The leader that cares enough to be the bulletproof cover during those nights with the gunshots.
The leader that demands that God's prayers be true cause my pillow is for napping not permanent sleep.
The leader that held the hand of a child that shall make it.
I am a leader.
The leader that will carry you and hold you up only because... I am a GlobalGirl Leader and I was taught by a Global Leader.
I am a leader.
A leader who is the bear in the snow.
A leader with the pride like the king of the jungle.
The leader who refuses to shut up and sit down cause of your alter ego and because of your alter ego, it is starting to alter my ego.
And yet you still don't understand that I am a leader.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest has received over 140 video entries from girls all around the world. The contest has been an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will continue to feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Gloria Akite

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 6:34 PM

Gloria Akite, 15 Kampala, Uganda


This week, Let Girls Lead's video blog features Gloria Akite from Uganda. At 15, Gloria is a confident, courageous, and a highly motivated self-starter who has taken her vision of being a leader to the streets of her community. In just under a year, Gloria has achieved concrete results and has helped several girls attain very specific goals. By taking targeted action, she helped several girls and young mothers finish their education and raise funds for their school fees. Gloria has started several economic empowerment programs including a cooperative farming initiative and multiple small-scale startup businesses. Gloria has found innovative ways to pay the start-up fees for these businesses and has helped to motivate and teach her community important self-reliance skills. Gloria is a visionary leader for her community and the world.

Gloria's Story:

Hi, my name is Akite, Gloria. I'm a Ugandan by nationality, found in the northern part of Uganda. I'm 15 years old. I decided to participate in leadership in my community because it was lacking a person with the vision in young female leadership skill. My vision was to guide young children to be educated; I guided 10 child mothers who dropped out of school to continue in their studies. Also I encouraged 30 women to participate in income-generation like farming, forming groups to motivate their self-reliance.


Problems which I've faced: As a girl leader I had to give them capital for a start-up business and to pay school fees for child mothers who dropped out from school. The solution to my problem: I advise agricultural group leaders to give farmers sunflower seeds. My leadership is based on courage; I have the courage to motivate the development of others. I also have confidence which helps me to meet any challenges that come my way. I also have a vision for future programs. The results of my leadership after one year include: 10 child mothers who had dropped out of school are continuing their education, 20 women have a very effective business, 10 women have formed group savings.


The reason why my story should be made into a film is to keep the record about girl leadership in the community. That is what I can say about girl leadership in my community. Have a good time.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest has been an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will continue to feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Citlalli Liliana Salas Juárez

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 7:02 PM

Citlalli Liliana Salas Juárez, 13

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is a magnificent center of culture and history and it is also one of the most polluted cities in the world. As residents of this city, 13-year-old Citalalli Alas Juarez and her friends decided it was up to them to enact change. They launched an environmental awareness campaign in 2009 and since then have continued to find innovative and easy ways to engage girls in their conservation efforts.

This week's Let Girls Lead video blog highlights the video they submitted to document their amazing projects. One of their first campaigns Ponme las pilas, y te Damos una Semilla (Give me the batteries and we'll give you a seed) taught the importance of separating batteries from other common waste and was successful in gathering 40,000 batteries.

The girls did not stop there. They decided to take their message to girls in schools around Mexico City. They now lead workshops to teach other girls how to get involved in the movement. They believe that every girl has the power for change in their own hands. From planting over a hundred thousand trees and endemic plants in Iztapalapa to writing books about environmental conservation, Citalli and her friends are doing their part to make lasting and big change.

Citlalli Liliana Salas Juárez's story:

Our city is extraordinary beautiful, has a rich history, and is very culturally diverse. Yes, the Federal District is all of this, but due to its rapid population growth it is also the city that generates the most pollution. It is amazing how the place where we live is deteriorating faster and faster. And to end it, we decided to get down to work!

We took the initiative to work to change everything we do not like. We started our project on my street evergreen garden. With the help of some friends we invited the neighbors to plant trees and adopt. We still had many obstacles, as authorities did not listen to us because we were kids. With this project we planted over a hundred thousand trees endemic plants in Iztapalapa.

Our next project was, "Ponme las pilas, y te Damos una Semilla (Give me the batteries and we'll give you a seed)" which looked to our community population and city delegates to understood the importance of separating batteries from other common waste. Citlalli came up with the idea to give seeds in exchange for used batteries. We collected twenty thousand to forty thousand batteries then.

In 2009 we started working with a new idea. We met children in different places and through lectures and workshops, we encouraged them to take the initiative to transform their environment. We went to public and private schools in order to teach children that they have the ability in their hands to undertake these initiatives.

Soon, we partnered up with various organizations that supported us to achieve a greater social impact. In 2010, I published my first book, called "El Mundo es mi Sueño (The World is my Dream)," and without thinking I got to be the first girl to have its certificate of copyright law in Mexico, but I'm more proud to report that other children have already published their books. Remember that any small action can generate a big change!!!

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest has been an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with the Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will continue to feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will be announced on International Women's Day and receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Wismide Simms, Haiti

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 6:12 PM

Wismide Simms, 17 Port-au-Prince, Haiti


The 2010 earthquake in Haiti was catastrophic on all fronts. Now, three years later, the people of Haiti are still trying to pick up the pieces and are dealing with the tragic environmental and social impacts of the disaster. This week's Let Girls Lead video blog comes from 17-year-old Wismide Simms, a girl resident of Port-au-Prince. Wismide shares her experience of living close to one of the many refugee camps that has sheltered people since the earthquake. In her video blog, Wismide explains that she and her friends were scared to go outside after the earthquake because girls were being raped. Girls in Haiti have been facing extreme cases of sexual violence and abuse due to the deterioration of infrastructure and economy since 2010.

One day Wismide met a group of girls that changed her life and attitude about her future. The girls were holding creative workshops only for girls in an effort to create a safe learning space for them and their peers. Wismide joined their collective, Jeune Ofeda, which offers reading, writing, poetry and dance workshops to girls in camps to facilitate their continued growth even in the most desperate of times. The workshops are geared towards improving girls' self-esteem, teaching girls about their rights, and giving them access to education they would not otherwise get.

Since joining Jeune Ofenda, Wismide has a safe place to go and she is able to talk about her experiences living in post-earthquake Haiti. She encourages other girls to join the group as well and is an active leader in her community. She feels happy and lucky to have this group and wants to share it with other girls.

Wismide's Story:

Bonsoir. My name is Wismide. I am 17 years old. I live close to the camp. After the earthquake I was afraid to go outside because so many girls in my neighborhood were being raped and violated by different men. I was scared and very unhappy when I heard girls talk about what happened to them. I did not risk to go outside because I did not want to be one of them. Because I live close to the camp, some of the girls from Jeune Ofeda asked me to join them, and not to be afraid. They told me how the group helped them. So I joined.


They have helped me to learn to read and to write. Also, we had different activities like dancing. Being a member I have a different mindset. I am around other teenage girls like myself. I am able to talk with them and share some of my stories without being judged. Even though sometimes we have our differences, we are able to work it out. It has been a great decision. I am very happy. That's why I will encourage others to join a group like ours or with us. Thank you.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will continue to feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short...

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Grace Mwase, Malawi

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 6:32 PM

Grace Mwase, 15 - Chiradzulo, Malawi

Harmful cultural traditional practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual cleansing are still of grave concern for many girls around the world. This week Let Girls Lead highlights a short yet powerful video submitted by Grace Mwase who is raising her voice to one of the most harmful traditional practices still present in Malawi. Grace is 15 and lives in a rural part of Malawi. Every year, like most girls her age, she is sent off to a camp to participate in a rite of passage ceremony. These ceremonies are used to initiate girls into adulthood. In Grace's village of Godeni, the ceremony includes a practice called kusasa fumbi. The traditional practice forces girls to have sex with an older man in order to "cleanse" them and prepare them for adulthood. When Grace was confronted with this prospect she bravely refused. She knew that she was too young to have sex and that this difficult practice was a barrier to her future. Girls her age are often forced to drop out of school due to early pregnancy. She decided to change her life and the lives of girls in her village so she stood up and said no. Now, Grace visits the camp every year and advises the new inductees of the camp of their right to refuse as well. She believes that by taking the future into their own hands, girls have the power to stop such harmful traditional practices.

Grace's Story: My name is Grace Mwase, I come from Godeni village, T.A (Traditional Authority) Chitera in Chiradzulu district. I am 15 years old. In my community, once a girl reaches puberty, she is sent to initiation camps to undergo initiation ceremony where she is initiated into adulthood. So when I reached puberty, my parents also sent me for the initiation ceremony. Whilst at the initiation camp we were taught various cultural practices which symbolized our transition into adulthood. Once a girl is initiated, she is perceived to be an adult.

One of the cultural practices that is prominent during the initiation ceremony is kusasa fumbi, a sexual cleansing practice where a man is hired to have sex with a girl. When I heard that a man had to sleep with me, I made a decision and refused, because I felt it wasn't right and I am still too young to have sex. From that time, every year I go to the initiation camp, where I advise new initiates to refuse this practice because it is harmful for us and is a barrier to our future. I believe that we girls have the power and ability to stop these harmful cultural practices.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment and training to create their own short films.

There is still time to be part of our contest! Be sure to submit your video before the extended deadline on January 15, 2013. You can find the official entry guidelines and a submission form on our website www.letgirlslead.org....

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Hellen Ziribagwa

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 9:11 AM

Hellen Ziribagwa, 24
Kampala, Uganda

Uganda is currently facing many economic and social challenges. Girls, in particular, face further obstacles accessing education and finding well-paying jobs. This lack of opportunity is stifling and contributes to a large unemployment rate that continues to plague young people in Uganda. Hellen Ziribagwa wants to change this reality for girls. In her video submission to Let Girls Lead, Hellen highlights her work offering girls a way out. Her organization, National Youth Empowerment Network, empowers girls to become entrepreneurs. Their mission is to mentor young people in Uganda to become job creators and to find self-sustaining ways of supporting themselves. Her organization has also started a school that provides youth in the community direct and easy access to education. Simultaneously, Hellen's organization is establishing a vocational school to provide girls with the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills to start their own businesses. With the help of Hellen's leadership, girls in Uganda are realizing their full potentials.

Ziribagwa 's Story: My name is Ziribagwa, Hellen. I am 24 years from Uganda. l train young girls between ages of 14 to 30 years in central and western part of Uganda under National Youth Empowerment Network, a youth led organization mainly focusing on empowering the youths in entrepreneurship development. The challenges we have been able to address are high levels unemployment and education. We have been able to train young girls entrepreneurship under Wangari project which has enabled young girls to start up self-sustaining projects like craft making. We have also set up good hope primary school which enables the children in the community to access education, a training program where we have extended life skills and also we are in a process of establishing a vocational school which is a platform for the young girls to be able to acquire skills which will enable them to start up small scale businesses.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than three million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment, and training to create their own short films. For more information, please visit

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Jasmine Barbers

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 5:50 PM

Jasmine Babers, 18
Rock Island, U.S.A.

Over 50 videos have been submitted from girl leaders around the world to Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation Video Contest. Each entry has helped to highlight the many challenges girls face, and has showcased the innovative solutions that girls and their allies have been put into place worldwide to help them move towards a future with better opportunities.

This contest has amplified the voices of girls around the world, giving them a platform to share their experiences. Jasmine Barbers has the same vision for girls. As she explains in her video submission, she founded Love, Girls Magazine with the intention of giving girls a space to voice their opinions about issues directly affecting them. Described as a self-esteem magazine for girls, Love, Girls Magazine is written by girls for girls, and covers topics such as bullying and body image. Jasmine and her fellow publishers collect donations to fund the magazine and distribute it to their communities. By giving girls a positive outlet and space to write about the real issues facing them, Jasmine has empowered girls to stand up and be leaders.

There is still time to be part of our contest! Be sure to submit your video before the extended deadline on January 15, 2013. You can find the official entry guidelines and a submission form on our website www.letgirlslead.org.

Jasmine Barers' story: Hi, my name is Jasmine Babers, and I founded Love, Girls Magazine after my close personal friends told me how they thought they weren't good enough. The magazine is a self-esteem magazine for girls by girls published four times a year in both the Quad Cities and in Memphis. The girls write about topics that are important to them and their communities such as bullying, body image and more. And, they get to do all the writing and photography. With donations and advertising, we were able to fund a magazine that has become precious to more than five thousand girls. The objective of the magazine is to help boost self-esteem by telling girls' stories and showcasing their successes. If you want to learn more you can visit lovegirlsmagazine.com.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than three million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment, and training to create their own short films. For more information, please visit

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Maricela Lopez Catarina Tum

(0) Comments | Posted December 20, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Maricela Lopez Catarina Tum, 18

Santa Catarina, Guatemala


Girl leaders around the world are advocating for their right to education. As we have seen from Malala Yousafzai's struggle and leadership, girls still face many obstacles to simply attend school. In this week's video blog, Let Girls Lead showcases a video submitted by indigenous girl leader, Maricela Lopez Catarina Tum. Because her town has high unemployment and a high level of poverty, Maricela was forced to leave her family to be able to have an education. A nearby group home in the city offered her room and board and helped pay her school fees. Though she knew she would miss her family and her community, Maricela made the brave decision to seize the opportunity -- it was her only chance to get the education she deserves. Today, Maricela is serious about her studies and has become a dedicated student and strong leader in her new community. She focuses her efforts on fundraising for her new home, continues to work hard at being an excellent student, and is a competitive athlete. Maricela uses every chance she gets to lead by example and hopes that other indigenous girls from her community will have the same opportunity as she did, to go to school.

Maricela's Story: Good morning! My name is Maricela Lopez Catarina Tum. I'm from Santa Catarina, an indigenous town. It is a very nice place but the problem is that indigenous people are unemployed and therefore, there is a lot of poverty. Being a girl leader is important as I figure out my future. I am from the countryside. I had the opportunity to live in a group home that invites children to live there in order to get an education. I have the qualities of a girl leader because I had to leave my family and be independent. Being a girl leader is very important especially in Guatemala today because there is so much crime, poverty, racism, and discrimination. Women and girl leaders are an example for society because they encourage people on how to move forward. I am a girl leader in the group home, in school and when playing sports.

At home, I organize fundraisers so that we can earn more money and have more furniture. In athletics, I'm a leader by training with a group and competing in many places, like the capital. And while it's hard work, I will continue because I know that there is a future for me. At school, I am a leader because I participate with a strong moral sense because I like to learn many things and enjoy everything that I'm being taught. In the future, I wish to be an example for others to continue their education, to participate in sports and to seize every opportunity they have to live a meaningful life. Thank you!

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling, and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment, and training to create their own short films. For more information, please visit

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Obinna-Njoku Somtochukwu

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 6:30 PM

Obinna-Njoku Somtochukwu, 21
Owerri, Nigeria

Nigeria's extremely high crime rate is due to many different social and economic factors. As Obinna-Nojoku explains in her video submission, one factor that may contribute to rising crime among youth is the wide gap between education and jobs. Girls often find themselves without the relevant skills needed in order to land jobs in their chosen industries. Seeking to bridge this gap for herself, Obinna-Nojoku started an online media platform showcasing talented Nigerian youth. AmandaTvOnline is a weekly online magazine that scouts for young talented Africans and showcases them to the world. She asked her student peers to join her and by pooling resources they have been able to keep the site up and it is starting to draw a large audience.

Obinna-Nojoku is happy with the turnout and feels that the positive stories highlighted on the site inspire young people to find what they love and go after it. As she explains in her video, it is not all rosey but feels she is putting her voice to good use and spreading her message of hard, honest work. She hopes that her site will inspire other youth to lead a life that they are proud of.

Obinna-Nojoku Story: Hi, I'm Obinna-Njoku Somtochukwu. I'm from Nigeria, I'm 21years old. Well, here in Nigeria our major problem is high crime rate and this is due to the fact that a lot of youth have lost the value of hard work, diligence, and perseverance. And another reason for this high crime rate is the fact that there is a wide gap between our educational institutions and the industries such that when one graduates the person will find out that he or she doesn't have the relevant skills to be able to fit into their desired careers because of this gap. This forms a kind of problem thereby leading them to crime. So in order to solve this problem, I started Amandatvonline. Amandatvonline is an online platform that showcases talented youths, hardworking youths doing what they know how to do best and earning money legally and being a success in a very legal form. This has helped to curtail the high crime rate because a lot of youths view these stories and see that wow, it's not all rosy. It's a grass to grace story. In fact, someone walked up to me and was like "wow". After watching that story, I decided to put my voice to good use. Again, Amandatv is run entirely by students who are interested in the media. When we started we had little or no experience whatsoever in the media but a keen interest knowing that that's what we want to do when we graduate. And running Amandatv has helped to gather the relevant skills we would need in the media, for the future. So it has helped curtail the gap issue a little bit. And leadership, I showed leadership in that initially it was my vision and I was able to gather students like me. I was able to sell the vision to them and they bought the vision to the extent that they even funded Amandatv. With our own pocket money, we brought money collectively and we funded Amandatv which is not very easy to get students like you to do, considering the fact that they have little or no money. I think this should be made into a movie because a lot more students out there, a lot more youths out there need to learn the value of hard work.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling, and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment, and training to create their own short films. For more information, please visit

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Camille McGirt

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 11:36 AM

Camille McGirt, 23 Durham, North Carolina, USA


Childhood obesity is a troubling trend among adolescent girls in the U.S. This week Let Girls Lead is featuring a video blog which highlights the story of how Camille McGirt, a senior at UNC Chapel Hill, is helping to solve this alarming epidemic. Camille works with Healthy Girls Save the World, a program that provides education about nutrition and engages girls in physical activity, improving their health and their overall lifestyles. Using a curriculum from the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH, Camille facilitates workshops that empower girls to lead health lives by sharing the three essential pillars of the program: healthy minds, healthy bodies, and healthy relationships. Camille's work is improving the lives of hundreds of girl participants providing concrete ways to eradicate obesity while giving girls practical tools to gain confidence.

Camille's Story: I am Camille McGirt and I'm a senior at UNC Chapel Hill studying health policy and management in the School of Public Health. My commitment to action is Healthy Girls Save the World. Healthy Girls Save the World is a program for girls ages 8-15 in North Carolina. We provide free events where girls get to learn about nutrition, develop positive relationships with peers and mentors, and engage in physical activity. Right now the childhood obesity epidemic is a huge problem and it's something that we're trying to solve--by telling girls how to eat healthy and how to exercise, and how to develop positive relationships with their peers and role models and teachers and parents it will lead them to essentially lead an even better life. We have three pillars for the program, healthy minds, healthy bodies, and healthy relationships. During instructional events we're able to piece from curriculums that we find from the Department of Health and Human Services, the NIH, the CDC--curriculums that are about nutrition and childhood obesity and put them together to create instructional tools for our events. But I would say as far as nutrition we really try to make sure that we bring in people from the school of public health to teach about nutrition because I'm not a nutritionist but we want to make sure that we bring in subject matter experts to our program so that we can effectively instruct our girls on how to eat properly and how to exercise daily to make sure that they are leading healthy lifestyles.

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling, and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment, and training to create their own short films. For more information, please visit

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Let Girls Lead Video Contest: Emmanuela Alimlim

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2013 | 6:37 PM

Emmanuela Alimlim, 20
Archer's Post, Kenya

Emmanuela Alimlim is from Kenya. Her mother gave birth to her at age 15 and Emmanuela's sister gave birth to her first child at age 15 as well. After seeing several of her classmates drop out of school due to early pregnancies, Emmanuela decided that it was time to do something about early and forced marriage and teen pregnancy in her community. She decided to educate herself about the challenges and barriers that adolescent girls face in her community and empower those girls to lead change.

In this video entry, Emmanuela describes her role as a community leader. She started a girls' club called "Students Empowering Girls in Africa." The club raises money to buy sanitary supplies for girls and distribute them to schools in their region. The club also empowers adolescent girls to follow their dreams of education. Emmanuela is starting her own foundation called "Our Community for Better Life." Her dream is to give girls a chance for a better life, regardless of the challenging backgrounds they come from. Emmanuela believes that education is the key for long lasting change.

Emmanuela's Story: Hello everyone, my name is Emmanuela Alimlim, I am 20 years old and I am from Kenya. The most challenging things affecting girls in my community is early and forced marriages, female genital mutilation and teenage pregnancy. I will say that because my mother gave birth to me when she was only 15 years old. My sister gave birth to a baby boy when she was only 15 years old. My friends and my schoolmates, they all dropped out of school. Being the only girl who got a chance to go to the university, I said I have a role to play to help my community, to help the girls who are still growing up. And that is why I came up with a girls' club in school which is called "Students Empowering Girls in Africa." The most [important] thing we do in the club is to get funds and also empower girls. With the funds we get we buy sanitary towels, underwear, and we take and distribute it to different schools in my community. The empowerment we do is from one school to another; even if the school is located in inaccessible area, we do the empowerment there.

I am also a speaker in many functions with an organization which is called "Because I am a Girl." I walk throughout the different regions in Kenya to talk to girls about the importance of being an educated girl, even if you are coming from a very challenging background, you have to be strong in order to be a girl who will help the future. I am also now launching a foundation, my own foundation which is called "Our Community for Better Life" which will mostly focus on empowerment of girls, especially girls who dropped out of school. We want to give them another chance for them to better their lives and be better people in future. Thank you!

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling and strategic partnerships, contributing to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally.

Let Girls Lead's Global Girls' Conversation video contest highlights girls' power to create change by sharing their own solutions through short videos. The video contest is an exciting opportunity for girls, organizations working with girls and girls' allies to submit one to two-minute videos capturing girls' solutions and successes. In partnership with The Huffington Post, Let Girls Lead will feature these compelling videos on the Global Girls' Conversation interactive platform and on Huffington Post's Global Motherhood column, sharing girls' power to lead change with a global audience. Contest winners will receive $10,000 in cash, equipment, and training to create their own short films. For more information, please visit

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