21-year-old Best Ayiorworth is from Nebbi in northern Uganda. She noticed that girl children are disadvantaged under her country’s education system because they were more unlikely than boys to become educated. Rather than accept that fate or use one of the common excuses that stop most people from taking action, Best decided to do something about the problem.
She started an organization to help support the businesses of mothers in her community with the hope that they will in turn invest in the education of their girl children. Today, more than 400 women in her community have become empowered by her program.
The Girls’ Power Micro Lending Organisation (GIPOMO) provides micro loans or credit to support the small businesses of mothers. Its motto reads: “To help a mother, is to help a girl child”.
By giving women small loans to boost their existing businesses, these mothers are able to support their daughters with school fees, books and other materials that will ensure they get a good education. Her ‘little’ program has the potential to revolutionalise girls’ education and change her country.
During the awards ceremony, she was aptly described as an ‘advocate for education’ and received the Grand Prize of $25,000 to support her life-changing initiative.
Lesson to learn…
Best’s example perfectly illustrates the power of starting small. Education is a huge political and economic problem in many parts of Africa. Politicians, policy makers and academics with all their knowledge, money and experience often cannot do enough to solve this nagging problem.
Here comes a 21-year-old with a simple plan to educate girl children by empowering their moms. I think it’s ingenious! She may have only affected 400 women in her country but what do you think will happen if this brilliant program is copied and spread across Africa? Your guess is as good as mine!