2021 virtual conference
Celebrating 15 years supporting girls’ education
The coronavirus pandemic pushed us to find an innovative way to celebrate our 15 years supporting girl’s education. And, we did!
Our virtual conference this year was a retrospective of the last decade and a half. Wanda Bedard, our president and founder, described the organic development of 60 million girls, from a small foundation of a handful of women to a group of 20 women – and men – who all volunteer to enable the Foundation to achieve its work.
In the webinar, Wanda talked about our fitness challenge that began in early February. The 60 million step Challenge followed an itinerary through 22 countries in Central America, Africa and Asia. Begun in Montreal, Quebec, we virtually travelled to these countries where we “visited” each of the 33 projects we have supported during the past 15 years.
We have invested $3,650,000 supporting more than 70,000 children, through school construction, teacher training, providing supplies, fees or equipment, supporting activities that will increase girls’ access to school (water projects, daycares, adolescent classes), community support programs, to name just a few. Photos and videos sent by our partners illustrated the impact of these projects and spoke volumes for the relationship we have built with Canadian organizations over the years.
Of course, Wanda talked about our Mobile Learning Lab (MLL), an initiative developed by the Foundation’s R&D team. The MLL is especially useful in remote communities where there are few teaching resources, as well as a lack of electricity or Internet. It offers a digital library of content – quality learning materials, videos and tutorials – to any offline community. It can be customized to adapt to the individual needs of the community and can be updated by connecting to the Internet. This innovation is being used, not only by our partners, but also by other organizations worldwide.
Wanda also presented the projects that we are supporting this year in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. We know that adolescent girls in developing nations have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, and it is estimated that 20 million may never return to the classroom. Earlier this year, we created the Adolescent Girls’ Education Fund to help alleviate the most pressing needs in the field. Our 2021 projects specifically target girls who have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic.
Thank you to all who participated in the webinar. We hope that you enjoyed it.
However, if you missed it, you can watch it here.