October 4 th


Girls Transforming the World


The highest leverage way to transform our planet is to invest in adolescent girls in the developing world.

The. Girl. Effect.

 Transforming the life of . . .

                    a 12-year old girl,

                              her village,

                                        our planet.


“There are 600 million adolescent girls living in poverty in the developing world. By giving one of these girls a chance, you start the girl effect. When girls have safe places to meet, education, legal protection, health care, and access to training and job skills, they can thrive. And if they thrive, everyone around them thrives, too.” – Global Giving

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This week I joined a Blogging Campaign to raise awareness about The Girl Effect. I have joined with hundreds (possibly thousands?!) of bloggers around the world to talk about this movement. If you have not yet seen it, please take 3 minutes to watch this video:

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I first heard about The Girl Effect a few years ago. But it was the blogging campaign that Tara Sophia Mohr started last year that really stirred me.

I read dozens of blog posts by amazing women, many of whom were and have become my entrepreneurial role models.

I was struck by the heart and soul of this campaign. Each post was unique. There was no formula. There were no rules. There was no customary “ask” as is the norm in the world of nonprofits and fundraising. This was a different kind of campaign. It was an authentic sharing of voices, stories, and hearts.

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When I was in law school I interviewed with The Children’s Defense Fund for a summer job. It was my dream to work for them. I loved everything about their mission and I adored founder Marian Wright Edelman. I was offered the position, but the specific work I would be doing that summer at the Ohio ACLU was more interesting, so I took a clerkship position there instead. But The Children’s Defense Fund left an imprint.

A few years later, I was living in Seattle. As an active member of The Junior League,an international women’s organization known for training community volunteers, one of my first stints was with the JLS’s (now-defunct) Child Watch Committee. It was a chance to return to work inspired by The Children’s Defense Fund! It was a year-long initiative and now, more than 15 years later, my biggest takeaway from that work was the importance of story and emotional connection. Our work that year was about telling the stories of children, taking people (decision-makers, funders and volunteers) on tours to meet real people on the ground, and engaging all of the senses.

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We capture minds and wallets only after we connect with the heart. Everything meaningful starts with a genuine emotional connection. 

The Girl Effect is just such a movement. And today, thanks to the internet, the world wide web, email, blogging, video, podcasting, Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, we can meet people, hear their stories, and make a heart connection with ease.

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Stories stir our hearts. They bring us alive.

Watch, listen and let your heart open as you engage the short videos below. Each is less then two minutes.

Kidan is from Ethiopia. Her story breaks my heart:

Addis is also from Ethiopia. Her story offers hope:

Anita, from India, is an inspiration:

And Shumi, from Bangladesh, reminds us: “In villages like this, it takes a lot of courage to do things differently.”

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When I watched these videos I was moved to tears. I was profoundly touched by the longing to learn. Learning at it’s core is about the human need to create.

What does a girl + an education yield?


Critical thinking.

Creative problem solving.

Thoughful choices.

Deliberate action.

Community building.

Changing lives.

Improving the world.

Transforming the planet.

An educated girl = leverage.

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Oh, and The Girl Effect is also based on statistics:

Learn more about the revolution and the big picture.

See how global leaders are involved here:

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From The Girl Effect’s Facebook Page:

The Girl Effect is the unique and indisputable potential of adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.

“The Girl Effect is a movement. It’s social change in action. It’s about you using your voice, your talents, and your community to help girls help themselves—and, as a result, everybody else.”

“Created by people at the Nike Foundation, the Novo Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, its purpose is to spread the word about what girls can do and to recruit other powerful girl champions, like you. Armed with the tools and the network you need to raise awareness—and a little elbow grease—you can change the world.”

“An adolescent girl has the power to stop poverty before it starts. But she needs your help. She needs information, healthcare, and education. She needs laws to change, money in her pocket, and she needs her parents, her government, and the global community to see that she is valuable. Her change can’t happen without the girl champions who each bring their own superpowers to the party.”

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The clock is ticking . . .

It starts with




What superpower will you bring to bear?

Change begins with small steps. What small steps can you take today? Here are some ideas:

1. Watch the videos above (15 minutes in all).

2. Read blog posts about The Girl Effect. Find them here.

3. Share your own feelings and stories in a journal, blog post, Facebook post. Start a conversation.

4. Spread the word. Like, comment, and share the posts you find compelling or informative.

5. Be open to the unexpected ideas and shifts that arise when we connect with our heart and with each other.

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Take action now. Click “like” if you like this post. Share it. Tweet it. Plus One it. And leave a comment below.

What did these stories stir in you? What superpower are you using or can you employ to effect change? How does your life reflect “The Girl Effect” in action? What will you do next?   




  1. What profound change we all can make, each simply doing our small part. And what a gift it is to be contributing our individual small parts all together today. Beautiful post. Mine just went up as well. This is the new world. Much Love.

  2. Laurie, my favorite part of your post is the section called “What does a girl + an education yield?” When our world is faced with challenges, why wouldn’t we want to double our reserves, increase the possibility of relevant solutions, and engage the very people who can help us turn those solutions into reality? Thank you for your thought-provoking post.

    • Stormy, thanks for reading and sharing the part that struck you. I am amazed by the leverage that a Girl + Education yields. It’s marvelous. And look at all that WE are doing to engage one another using the same formula! Girl + Education = Leverage = Transformation!

  3. “We capture minds and wallets only after we connect with the heart. Everything meaningful starts with a genuine emotional connection.” And in finding what is common between their story and ours: hopes, dreams, visions of a future.

    • Christie, oh YES! Finding the common threads is important! Amazing that our hopes, dreams and future visions can be so intertwined despite our external circumstances. So glad we’re sharing the blogging campaign journey together. Loved your cow connections. xoxo

  4. Anita and Shumi are so inspirational. Women are amazing when they are allowed for their natural talents, leadership and determination to shine.

    Thanks for being such a contributor to this campaign Laurie!

    • Oh yes Denise, the inspiration and light are so bright it burns my eyes. 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting and for the gifts YOU bring to the world! xoxo

  5. Great Post Laurie! I love the these women. Anita has a special place in my heart. Thanks for this!

    • Tracy thanks for your post, for joining the campaign and for popping over here to read and comment. I loved Anita’s story too and look forward to visiting India one day soon! xoxo

  6. Laura Gates says:

    Like others this part that you wrote really touched me Laurie, “We capture minds and wallets only after we connect with the heart. Everything meaningful starts with a genuine emotional connection.” Thanks for putting such eloquent words to a powerful topic and thanks for your inspiring personal experiences as well!

    • Thanks Laura! Amazing that made that connection to heart, emotional connection and story but did not share my own deeper heartfelt story. 😉 As we discussed elsewhere … perhaps in a sequel post! Loved YOUR story and so honored to be on this journey with you. xoxo

  7. Marion says:

    Hey Laurie!

    What an awesome post! Change does start with a girl in developing countries, and in the developed world it’s up to us women to bring awareness to the issue!

    Such an honor to be part of the campaign with you!

    All my best,

  8. Tanya says:

    Thanks for sharing all the videos! And I’m glad you sited there who else was part of the movement; I thought it was just Nike but was happy to see it was a collaboration of many groups!

    • Thanks Tanya! The Nike Foundation is the biggest, most memorable name, but yes it’s a collaborative effort. Aren’t the most successful efforts that way? Look at Tribal Truth?!

      Glad you enjoyed my post and so honored to be on The Girl Effect blogging journey together! What an amazing movement to be part of. I hope with our help it goes viral!

  9. Nasrine says:

    This is such a well informed post, you have empowered all of us to know that if we all decide to take a small step we can be successful at ending poverty! Now would that be the most wonderful element of doing what we do? Being able to give back in a way that is both valuable and meaningful. Thank you so much for this kicking post, it really put me in an mindset that I can actually do profound things.

    • Nasrine, thanks so much! I love learning and research so I wanted to share everything that stood out for me about this movement. Thanks for your kind feedback and I am thrilled this inspired your mindset and empowered you to take your next step to end poverty. And so deeply honored to be in your company and on the journey with you! xoxo

  10. Sue Ann says:

    Thank you Laurie for introducing me to this movement, for presenting the information so thoroughly, and for nudging me to “just write.”

    Once awareness exists, change is, indeed, possible. . .

    • Sue Ann, you are SUCH a treasure in every sense of the word! I love what you wrote and love that you’re sharing this movement with your extensive tribe! Indeed … awareness sparks change. I am humbled to be doing this work with you. xoxo

  11. Sue Ann says:

    Bear with me, I think I may need a blogging brush-up.

    I, too, loved the phrase:
    Everything meaningful starts with a genuine emotional connection.

  12. pat novak says:

    I think you have really encapsulated The Girl Effect with your post Laurie.
    There are so many aspects involved, but the main thing is to GET involved.
    You are such an inspiring voice to have people do just that !

    • Thanks Pat! You have born witness to my inner researcher, enthusiast and activator! As I think about it, this movement really gave me a way to tap into many of my top strengths. Thank you for your feedback, YOUR own GE post, for joining the movement, and for sharing this with your peeps! Deeply honored to be on this journey with you.

  13. Laurie – What a wonderful post! Even after being part of the campaign, your post struck such a chord with me. Your own journey and connection that has led you to this place, with this post and these stories. It adds another layer and depth to such an important focus. Thank you for such a heartfelt post!

    • Jennifer, thank you so much for reading and commenting on this post. I am glad my own journey added something special to these stories. Forgive me for the long delay in replying back. I was out of town when you commented and am just returning to my blog and catching up this week. Thank you again for sharing! 😉

  14. So deep. Thank you for being the leader for the Girl Effect project and sharing it with all of us and educating us who they are. Now because of you so many of us are banding together and doing our part to give to this cause. What a beautiful movement you have caused. Thank you for being you.

    Alara K. Castell

    • Alara, thank you! I am touched that so many B-Schoolers jumped on board and can’t thank you enough for your commitment to promoting this amazing cause in the blogging group that week. Forgive me for the long delay in replying back. I was out of town when you commented and am just returning to my blog and catching up this week. Your light shines bright Alara! Thanks for being you! xoxo