Malala Yousafzai, the co-founder of the Malala Fund and United Nations Messenger of Peace, together with U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, hosted a special event called “Addressing a Decade of Work for Girls’ Education” at U.N. House on Wednesday, July 12th, 2023, in honour of Malala Day. The event marked ten years after Malala’s impactful speech at the U.N. General Assembly when she was just 16. The focus of the event was on the transformative power of educating girls.
Over the years, Malala has been an inspiring force, meeting with activists, business and government leaders, educators, and girls worldwide. Her organisation, Malala Fund, has invested over $25.8 million in girls’ education programs and initiatives, positively impacting more than 18 million students globally. Through collaborative efforts, Malala has advocated for raising the global standard for education from nine to twelve years and has secured over $3 billion in G7 funding commitments for education.
On this Malala Day, she once again took the podium to address the pressing issue of the 129 million girls who remain out of school. She emphasised the need for collective action to ensure that the next generation of girls can learn and lead without fear. She also reflected on the lessons she has learned throughout the past decade.
The event, attended by Nigerian government leaders, civil society representatives, and young women activists, focused on global progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The achievements of women- and girl-led movements were celebrated, and leaders were held accountable for their commitments to making long-term investments in girls’ education.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, U.N. Resident Coordinator Matthias Schmale, and Tamilore Omojola, a Malala Fund Girl Fellow, also took the stage, expressing admiration for Malala’s influential work and the need to make education a reality for everyone.
In addition to the event, Malala and U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed visited secondary schools in Borno state, meeting with young women, activists, and educators supported by Malala Fund. They also engaged with key government leaders who play a crucial role in driving progress for girls’ education in Nigeria. Malala’s father and Malala Fund co-founder, Ziauddin Yousafzai, accompanied the visit.
Malala Fund has invested over $6.1 million since 2014 in partner organisations and their programs across Nigeria. These partners advocate for amendments to education legislation, specifically aiming for 12 years of safe, free, and quality education under the Universal Basic Education Act. They also train girls and activists, lead data-driven advocacy campaigns, and work within communities to change perceptions and raise awareness about the value of girls’ education.
Reflecting on the importance of education, Ziauddin Yousafzai highlighted the need to encourage all children to pursue their dreams, emphasising that education is key to a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous future for all. He expressed his hope that Malala Day serves as a reminder of our shared responsibility to take action and ensure that millions more girls have access to education.
The full event can be watched on UN Web TV, providing further insights into the remarkable work being done to advance girls’ education and empower young women globally.