Photo Courtesy of Liverpool FC & Standard Chartered.
On January 18, 2011 youth activist Asmaa Mahfouz posted a video on Facebook urging Egyptians to demand their human rights and stand up against the military regime. A week later huge groups of protesters joined one another in the streets of Egypt. Many of the youth in Egypt organized demonstrations through social media, using Facebook to set up private groups and message one another to coordinate. So crucial was technology to the revolution that the government shut down the internet on the second day of those protests.
President Hosni Mubarak eventually stepped down and handed power over to the military. A year later the first democratic elections were held in Egypt. Asmaa, by simply uploading a video, sparked the protests that paved the way for a more democratic Egypt and spurred the entire Arab Spring.
Social media has become a powerful tool to spread information — to amplify the voice of those using it. Because the Egyptian youth were able to stand together and raise their collective voice, Mubarak decided to listen and abdicate his power; it was due to the strength of the youth movement that the regime cracked.
Businesses shoulder incredible political weight — weight they can use to call attention to challenges in our world and shift public dialogue. When businesses speak, powerful people listen. Sometimes, though, the business voice isn’t enough. Sometimes, in order to create a profound impact, businesses need the help of youth especially for issues that pertain to youth, such as education.
One business that understands the power of the youth voice is Standard Chartered. The company is committed to empowering girls and women, to promoting gender equality, and to unlocking economic growth in the low-income countries where the multinational bank operates through local partners. To date, more than 145,000 girls across 24 countries have benefitted from its program, Goal. The program works to equip girls with knowledge in four main areas: financial literacy, communication skills, health and hygiene, and confidence and life skills, integrating sports and games to make lessons more fun.
Today, Standard Chartered is launching their #ThisGirlsGoal campaign, a social media and advocacy campaign designed to create and facilitate a conversation about the challenges adolescent girls face around the world. Through dialogue, the company hopes to shatter stereotypes and norms that prevent girls from fulfilling their potential. The campaign has invited youth leaders to participate, and youth have responded positively. This is significant because today’s youth are key stakeholders in education and companies can leverage the voice of youth to amplify their own in support of education.
A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors are joining the campaign by using creative ways to spread the message about #ThisGirlsGoals and the barriers girls face when trying to achieve an education. Youth leaders will discuss challenges that girls face with the need to break stereotypes and smash the glass ceiling. The youth are encouraged to hold art shows, write blogs, host sports events — anything they feel will create the most visibility for #ThisGirlsGoals and generate a meaningful conversation about the challenges faced by adolescent girls. Whoever creates the most creative and impactful campaign will win a signed Liverpool FC jersey by players from the Liverpool Ladies team, including 2015 World Cup Players Fara Williams and Asisat Oshoala. Who knows, maybe #ThisGirlsGoals will inspire the next youth-led revolution.