Girls in Malawi face pretty serious hardships. Almost half are married by age 18, and around a quarter become teenage mothers. Less than one in four girls complete elementary school, and nearly two-thirds are victims of child abuse. Plus, in a country with one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, Malawian girls are four times as likely as boys to be HIV-positive.
The UN programs working in Malawi that Girl Up helps provide education, health services, leadership roles and positive messages to the country’s girls. Among many initiatives, Girl Up teaches reading and writing to girls who never completed school; builds medical clinics that cater to girls’ needs; provides information on ending child marriage; and uses mentorship programs to help older girls train their younger counterparts.