How to make 2014 an even bigger year for girls

Building on the progress for girls in 2013 is essential if we're going to end poverty. Here are the key dates...

2013 was a big year for girls, culminating in the handover of the Girl Declaration to the UN in October.

But that doesn't guarantee more progress in 2014. Here are the key moments for making the girl effect a reality this year...

World Economic Forum

When: 22-25 January

Where: Davos, Switzerland

Who: Political leaders from the G20 countries, young global leaders, social and tech entrepreneurs and heads of international organisations such as the World Bank. 

Why it's important: The forum is committed to improving the state of the world, including addressing how to close the gender gap. It brings together key players who have the power to make the changes to policy that will economically empower girls, ensuring they can have a brighter future.

Essential reading: Economically empowered girls can transform themselves, their communities and their countries.

One Billion Rising

When: 14 February

Where: All over the world. Last year participants from 207 countries gathered in community spaces where women deserve to feel safe but often do not. Survivors of violence are encouraged to break their silence by expressing their thoughts through marches, art, dance, songs - or whatever they feel like doing in the moment.

Who:  Girls, women and men. Victims of VAGW and their loved ones, as well as other supporters. There are in-country co-ordinators who help gatherings run smoothly.

Why it's important: The day offers girls and women a platform from which to share their stories. For things to change, we need to make sure girls' and women's voices are heard.

Essential reading: Girls and women living without fear of violence are free to reach their potential.

International Women's Day

When: 8 March

Where: International

Who: Women all over the world hold events to mark and celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Why it's important: The day puts gender inequality in the spotlight and calls for action. The theme chosen by the United Nations for this year, 'inspiring change', reminds the world that women are girls first and that for change to happen, we need to start with girls.   

Essential reading: Women are girls first. Plan's Because I Am A Girl campaign works to ensure that girls can be girls, not wives or mothers.

58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women

When: 10-21 March

Where: UN headquarters, New York

Who: Representatives from UN member states and NGOs. Girl delegates.

Why it's important: As the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) draws closer, this event focuses on their success and the challenges faced when implementing them for girls and women - as well as addressing what will happen post 2015.

Essential reading: Girls were left out of the original MDGs. The Girl Declaration is making sure that won't happen again.

Afghan presidential elections 2014

When: 5 April

Where: Afghanistan

Who: Current president Hamid Karzai is not eligible to run so there will be a new leader. The sole female contender was disqualified in October 2013. 

Why it's important: Young Afghanis will play an important role in determining the outcome, including women. Education is a major concern for many, as is gender equality and tackling the issue of VAGW in a war-torn country and ending harmful practices such as early marriage. Turnout is expected to be high - it is an opportunity for young women to shape the future of their country. 

Essential reading: Girls and women in areas of conflict are particularly vulnerable, but if they have equal rights, such as being able to vote, they can help change the future and end harmful practices

Malala Day

When: 12 July

Where: Everywhere

Who: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl and activist shot by the Taliban for fighting for the right for all girls to have an education, turns 17. She is now being educated in the UK and continues her activism work.

Why it's important: As we work towards the post-2015 agenda, Malala reminds the world of the crucial role girls - and boys - can play in changing their own futures. 

Essential reading: Every girl deserves the right to an education so she can reach her potential.

FIFA World Cup

When: 12 June - 13 July

Where:  Brazil

Who: 32 nations from around the world.

Why it's important: Brazil is a developing country, and the World Cup, as well as the Olympic Games two years later, is a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the challenges faced by Brazilian girls.

Essential reading: Many girls in Brazil struggle to get a proper education. It's important their voices are heard and their needs met.

International Youth Day

When: 12 August

Where: Everywhere

Who: Organised by the UN, which encourages groups around the world to hold their own youth-centred events and activities in their communities, such as forums, public discussions, information campaigns and performances to showcase talent.

Why it's important: To raise awareness of the role the youth of the world can play in shaping their own futures - if they are given the education and skills to harness their potential. And how everyone, through partnerships with youth, can build a better world.

Essential reading: The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and they need to be nurtured, given equal opportunities and inspired.

International Day of the Girl

When: 11 October

Where: Everywhere

Who: A year on from the presentation of the Girl Declaration to UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, this day, designated by the UN, involves key players in the international development world

Why it's important: To help recognise the unique challenges facing girls around the world and promote girls' rights, the day puts the spotlight on girls to galvanize people and policy makers into action.

Essential reading: Girls need to be at the forefront of the post-2015 MDGs and the world needs to know where they are and what they are experiencing. 

G(irls)20 Summit

When: 15-16 November

Where: Brisbane, Australia

Who: Girls aged 18-20 who have participated in skills-building programmes over the year, present ideas to delegates from each G20 country.

Why it's important: The summit gives girls a rare opportunity to bring their ideas to decision makers who can implement change. For example, at the G20 summit in September last year, leaders endorsed policy guidance that addressed women's and girls' needs for financial awareness and education.

Essential reading: Girls are a powerful force for change. We must design development programmes specifically for their needs.

What are your big moments for girls for 2014? Get in touch to tell us about your programmes, initiatives and events.Tell us on Facebook and Twitter