A 12-year-old girl probably doesn't strike most people as a big player in her country's development.
Most people are wrong.
Here are a few facts from the Girl Effect  website:
- When a woman is healthy, her community’s health will improve as maternal mortality and child malnutrition drop, and HIV rates decline.
- When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to men, who only reinvest 30 to 40 percent.
- Kenya would gain $27 billion in potential income per generation if its female secondary school dropouts continued their education.
- Brazil foregoes an average of $17.3 billion per year as a result of girls’ joblessness.
These are just a few facts. The ripple effect of investing in girls is immeasurable and benefits generations to come. Here is a video from the Girl Effect that demonstrates this more poignantly than words can:
The Adolescent Girls Initiative  is a joint collaboration between the World Bank and the Nike Foundation that aims at empowering girls through employment and leadership opportunities. The Youthink! team recently met with some of the young women who have benefited from this program. In this video , they open up about their experiences and their dreams for the future.
Photo: © Charlotte Kesl / World Bank