by Joanna Kuebler, Director of Global Campaign for Education US

Right now, in developing nations worldwide, nearly 70 million children are denied access to education. Right now, more than half of those children are girls. Right now, hundreds of millions of women around the globe can’t read this sentence.

Investing in quality basic education in developing nations can reduce new cases of HIV/AIDS by 700,000 a year. Investing in education can increase economic growth to ensure communities can lift themselves out of poverty.

Despite these facts, right now, investing in education is not a U.S. global development priority.

This week is Global Action Week, a world-wide effort to ensure access to Education for All. From the U.S. to the U.K., from Bangladesh to Brazil, education advocates from nations around the world are speaking out for Education for All. The theme of this year’s Global Action Week is ensuring access to education for women and girls.  Check out the global campaign website.<!–more–>

The Global Campaign for Education, U.S. (GCE-US) and its partners – including 10 x 10 – are joining together to promote the global campaign.  10x10 created the video you see above in partnership with the Global Campaign for Education.  It’s being used online worldwide, has been translated into several additional languages, and is being used at live events and online around the world.

Some of the types of the events that the Global Campaign is supporting include presentations in classrooms, online, and in town halls across the nation, to show their support for ensuring access to education for every child. Nearly 1500 students participated in the GCE-US’ Blue Ribbon Campaign – a campaign to collect blue ribbons from across the nation to form a chain of support that will be delivered to the Congress and the White House later this summer.

At the Vineland K-8 Center in Miami more than 1000 students completed the Blue Ribbon campaign activity. Each student explained on their blue ribbon why education matters to them and to every child. “I want to grow up to be a doctor. Every child should be able to grow up to be what they want to be.” Hundreds of high schools students from the MAST Academy organized an assembly or, “school townhall” to talk about how investing in basic education abroad means a better world for all of us. Teopista Birungi, the founder and president of the Uganda National Teacher’s Union, who traveled from Uganda for these events, shared her personal story about how important education is to children in her country and in nations around Africa. “Access to education is the only way to both build security and fight poverty,” she said.

In Morton Grove, Illinois, right outside of Chicago, the Parkview Elementary Schools hosted a day of activities to celebrate Global Action Week and to add their voices to the growing call for Education for All. So moved by the need to ensure access to education, the school mobilized more than ten classrooms to participate in the Blue Ribbon Campaign. They brought in books for students they’ve never met, food for families they don’t know, and toys for small children they may never see – but to whom the students said they already feel akin to. “Why do girls have to stay home while boys get to go to school?” one student asked.

Events will continue in states around the country, as students, teachers, and parents continue to join the Blue Ribbon Campaign and the call for Education for All.

You can speak out, you can act, and you can help ensure access to education for every child.

Investing in education means empowering developing nations to chart their own paths out of poverty. Investing in education means ensuring a safer world for our families and for generations to come.

Right now, education is not a U.S. foreign policy priority. You can help change that. To learn more about Education for All and what you can do, watch the powerful video above and join the campaign at www.makeitrightforgirls.org .