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Path to Promise: Girls Making the Grade

AED Video Follows Two Ugandan Girls Defying the Odds to Complete High School

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2008— For millions of teenage girls struggling to overcome poverty in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, a high school education is too often a dream denied.

In a new video, Path to Promise: Girls Making the Grade, AED raises awareness of the benefits of girls’ secondary education in the developing world.

Through the stories of Hoctavia and Ruth, the 13-minute video provides an intimate portrait of two Ugandan teenagers who, with the help of AED and the Ambassadors’ Girls’ Scholarship Program, defy the odds faced by their peers to fulfill their dream of completing high school.

Fewer than one in five girls in all of sub-Saharan Africa complete secondary school, and there are millions more girls worldwide who will never move beyond the primary grades.


  • Family poverty--no money to pay for school fees, supplies, uniform, shoes.
  • Household responsibilities--the family cannot absorb the loss of a girl’s labor at home
  • No school nearby
  • Inadequate girl-friendly facilities --no latrines, no running water.
  • Gender bias in teaching and learning methods.
  • Attitudes and practices that favor sons over daughters, do not recognize the value of educating girls and/or promote early marriage and pregnancy.

The transformational power of girls’ secondary education is documented in a companion book, Keeping the Promise: Five Benefits of Girls’ Secondary Education by May A. Rihani, senior vice president and director of the AED Center for Gender Equity. Rihani presents conclusive data and analysis of the positive societal benefits of educating girls in addition to sharing stories from the lives of real families that she has collected for more than 30 years.

“AED sees the return on educating girls everyday in every place we work,” said Rihani. “Our approach to girls’ education includes mentoring and providing life skills about health, hygiene, and HIV/AIDS prevention.”

Under USAID’s Ambassadors’ Girls’ Scholarship Program (AGSP), a key component of President Bush's Africa Education Initiative, AED is delivering more than 85,000 scholarships over a period of four years in 15 West, Central and East African countries.

AED ( is a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, and economic opportunities, with a focus on the underserved.   




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