7 ways to make the Girl Effect a reality this January

Persistent campaigning, grassroots action and the right changes to policy mean that girls’ lives are changing for the better. Here are seven ways to make their global development go even further.

Huge numbers of people can turn small, individual actions into wide-scale, permanent change for girls. By getting behind the girl effect in your own way, you can give girls what they need to succeed. To kick off 2014, we've collected the best ways to do it…

Stop typecasting girls

Communicating issues of poverty and development must go beyond videos of Western celebrities 'saving' children in poverty. As highlighted by the Rusty Radiator awards, the language and attitudes around fundraising needs to change if it is to make a difference. Watch and share Microbanker and Jessie J's energetic, positive portrayal of girls and women in Uganda to see why tired stereotypes should be a thing of the past.

Help to end VAGW

All over the world, violence against girls and women (VAGW) is deeply engrained in everyday culture. "It's cultural, it's to do with the legal system, it's to do with lack of support: there are many layers," said activist and singer Paloma Faith during a visit to Honduras. After uniting the world to speak out against violence in 2013, One Billion Rising is once again mobilising millions to end violence against girls and women. Ahead of Valentine's Day 2014, sign up, show your support and join in.

Stop child marriage in India

"I see it as a chronic and continuingly serious problem," says Razia Ismail, from the India Alliance for Child Rights, about child marriage. With the largest number of child brides and grooms in the world, girls in India are being denied the chance to lead the full life they deserve. UNFPA's Too Young to Wed project is working to empower girls with the confidence and education to say no. Help some of the poorest girls in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to avoid child marriage by supporting FFLV’s Save Our Girls program. 

Replicate good development design

Leading by example is a powerful way to inspire change in others. Uganda has recently been commended for fighting gender-based violence with policy frameworks and structures that prevent domestic violence, trafficking and female genital mutilation (FGM). By looking to successful approaches such as these, good work can spread. To see how, download this five-point list on preventing violence against girls and women, based on successful work carried out on the Pacific island of Kiribati.

Break the cycle of HIV

Worldwide, it is the number one killer of girls and women aged 15-44 and more than 60 per cent of young people living with it are girls. To stop HIV transmission, development organisations are using peer-to-peer education, micro-credit and healthcare training. You can help their work through the simple day-to-day decisions you make: for example, innovative social enterprise L will match every condom sale in the US with one distributed in Swaziland.

Connect girls, education and technology

Despite huge strides being made in technology and education, girls and women still lag behind boys and men in these areas. By combining the two and heavily investing in girls' education through technology, the gender gap will close quickly. Join the Intel for Change community and take part in the #IntelforChange conversation on Twitter to become part of the solution.

Free up girls' time for school

It's common for girls in rural areas of developing countries to have a daily duty of collecting water for the family. Together with other household chores, time becomes precious and school is often sacrificed. The WaterWheel, a 50-litre water container that can be rolled across the ground, is the timesaver they need. Vote for it as your favourite development innovation of 2013 to give the project the attention and awareness it deserves.

If you know of any other ways to give girls what they need, let us know 

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