ICRW Front and Center at the 2015 Trust Women Conference

Article Date

17 November 2015

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) President Sarah Degnan Kambou spoke at the opening plenary session of the 2015 Trust Women Conference held in London, UK, November 17 – 18. The session focused on education, including looking at cutting edge initiatives aimed at keeping girls in school.

“With 41,000 girls marrying every day, there are 15 million girls each year that will have little or no access to education opportunities, not to mention will face a myriad of other vulnerabilities such as health risks, violence, and poverty,” said Kambou. “Our findings indicate that solutions to challenges like girls schooling and child marriage must be aimed at dismantling the gendered barriers that hold girls back.”

Moderated by Mabel Van Oranje, the session featured high profile speakers including: Fiona Mahvinga, founding member, Camfed Association; Josephine Kulea, founder and executive director, Samburu Girls Foundation (Kenya); Shabana Basij-Rasikh, co-founder and president, SOLA-School of Leadership Afghanistan; and Habiba Mohamed, co-director and team leader, Center for Girls’ Education (Nigeria).

Kambou highlighted recent ICRW findings from an evaluation of a conditional cash transfer program implemented in the northern India state of Haryana to increase the value of girls. The findings, Kambou explained, were both compelling and complex, and expanded the evidence base around whether and how interventions may or may not achieve this goal. Such information helps refine and improve programs aimed to keep girls in school and to promote alternatives to child marriage.

The annual two-day conference brings together pioneers and innovators in the field of women’s rights, global corporations, lawyers and academics to take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women worldwide.

“There is no quick and easy solution to end child marriage or keep girls in school,” said Kambou. “Both are complex and multi-faceted issues and thus, require sustained, multi-sectoral interventions that change attitudes and aspirations of and for girls,” she added.

*Photo courtesy of Sara Cerrell/Global Change Network. Left to right: Mabel Van Oranje, Josephine Kulea, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Fiona Mahvinga, Habiba Mohamed, and Sarah Degnan Kambou.