Meet Three Inspiring Girls Behind the Girl Declaration

Ending poverty starts with girls like Hannatu, Joanna and Andressa. And 250 million others…

Response to the Girl Declaration since it launched on Tuesday has been overwhelmingly supportive. Thousands of people have read the Declaration and shown their support on Twitter using #GirlDeclaration.

Twenty-five development organisations came together to write it, and high-profile individuals and organisations have signed it - including Kofi Annan, Barbara Bush, Jennifer Buffett, Richard Branson, Queen Rania of Jordan and Malala Yousafzai, as well as Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, USAID and the World Bank.

But it's the stories of the girls who shaped the Declaration that are really resonating.

More than 500 adolescent girls were consulted across 14 countries. The challenges we heard from many of them were summed up by three girls - Hannatu, Joanna and Andressa - whose stories have been made into short films that illustrate the five goals at the heart of the Girl Declaration.


Hannatu, a 12-year-old girl from Nigeria, talks in her film about there being no hospital near where her family live and transportation to the nearest one being too expensive, which makes it difficult for her to get medical attention.

Most of her sisters and brothers are born at home and therefore aren't 'recorded'. That means they don't have birth certificates because her family can't afford to buy them. Without a birth certificate they're not allowed to enroll in school.

It was the stories of girls like Hannatu that shaped goals 1 and 5 in the Declaration, which outline targets on  health and  citizenship.


Joanna's story is a great example of why goal 4 of the Girl Declaration - economic security - is so important. 

As a young girl she was sold by her family because they needed extra money. They saw her as a burden on their finances.

But when Joanna ran away from the people who bought her, and when she was given the chance to learn new skills that would enable her to look after herself - such as growing food that she can sell - she prospered and became a bright, self-sufficent young lady who will be able to contribute to the growth of her community's economy in years to come. 

"It's important for women in Liberia to have their own business," she says in her film. "Because when you have your own business, nobody can give you a hard time."


Like many of the girls who inputted into the Girl Declaration, 16-year-old Andressa from Brazil talked about the risks of violence she faces as a girl. "Assaults, shootings," she says. "I won't lie that a lot of things happen here."

That's why goal 3 of the Declaration is about ensuring girls' safety, so they can live free from the fear of violence and harassment.

Andressa also talks about her determination to get an education so she can create a better life for herself and her family. That determination that was echoed by all the girls consulted, which is why goal 2 of the Declaration focuses on improving girls' access to schools and the quality of education they receive.


If these five goals are achieved then girls like Joanna, Hannatu and Andressa - and the 250 million other girls living in poverty who they represent - will be empowered to end poverty for their communities, their countries and the world.

But that will only happen if the world listens.

On 11 October (International Day of the Girl) the Girl Declaration will be handed over to the UN - calling on the international community to make girls a priority in their efforts to end poverty post-2015.

We need you make this happen. Read it, believe it and support it - this is the moment to make Joanna, Hannatu and Andressa become impossible to ignore.

Watch Joanna's, Hannatu's and Andressa's short films

Read all the hopes and ambitions of the 508 girls who consulted on the Girl Declaration

Read the Girl Declaration in full