Voluntary Sector: Save the Children lobbies UN over girls' education

Save the Children is preparing a Girls' Education awareness fortnight to highlight the plight of 'the 65 million girls across the globe who are denied their right to education'.

The charity is calling on the UN and G8 countries to address the issue.

The initiative - which has been running since it was launched on International Women's Day on 8 March - will culminate in the two weeks from 5-16 September, during which women will deliver messages to Downing Street asking the Government to take action.

Save the Children has signed Germaine Greer, Helen Fielding, Meera Syal, Katie Melua and professionals including lawyers, doctors and magazine editors to back the cause.

The awareness fortnight has also been timed to coincide with the UN's annual summit on 6-8 September. The charity will highlight the fact that UN member countries have failed to achieve their target of 'eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education'. The countries pledged in 2000 to meet the target 'at all levels' by 2015 with improvements made by 2005.

Save the Children PR manager Rosie Jordan said a media relations campaign would target consumer, national and regional media.

An email campaign will also encourage people to send messages of support by highlighting the 'unprecedented position' of Britain as chair of the G8 and president of the EU.

The Save the Children letters are addressed to Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is also an IMF committee chair. They ask him to ensure that both the UK and the IMF 'provide more and better aid to allow poor countries to provide teachers and schools', and 'increase economic flexibility to release funds for public spending on education'.

UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has said the education of girls helps to raise economic productivity.

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