Beacon of hope for underprivileged girls across the world

Jul 19, 2013

She has become a beacon of hope for underprivileged girls across the world. Malala Yousufzai, a young Pakistani girl, has become an advocate for educating all children and has defied the odds and death threats from the Taliban.

Malala who now lives in the U.K., following attacks on her life in Pakistan, recently addressed the UN assembly.  She urged world leaders to change their strategic policies in to address issues of peace and prosperity.

She also met with Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, to promote her cause focused on women’s rights and girls’ education.

“We call upon all governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child all over the world,” she said, to the U.N. assembly. And she appealed to governments to fight against terrorism and violence and to protect children from brutality and harm.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Ms. Yousafzai, praising her courage and determination.

“Malala chose to mark her 16th birthday with the world,” Mr. Ban said, noting the strong support she has received from millions of people all over the world is a clear sign that says: “Malala, you are not alone. We are all with you, standing behind you.”

Primary education for all children has been a primary goal of the UN. In the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where Malala once lived and went to school, the UN is supporting the local government in its efforts to provide education for all children.

Universal primary education, a Millennium Development Goal, has become a priority of the Provincial Government. And over the next few months the UNDP, in partnership with other UN agencies, will closely work with the government to find ways to accelerate education plans.

UNDP continues to urge the government to give preference to the most deprived districts.


Achieve Universal Primary Education: Where We Stand: Millennium Development Target for education is universal primary enrolment. The net primary enrolment in 1990-91 was 46 percent and it has increased to 52 percent by 2004-05. The MTDF target of 77 percent looks very ambitious and there is little possibility that the target would be met. Similarly 100% target of universal net primary enrolment by 2015 seems to be quite difficult. The target that survival ratio should rise from 50 to 100 percent is even more ambitious though the survival ratio has increased from 50 to 72 percent over 1990-91 to 2004-05. The literacy rate in 2004-05 has been 53 percent and the target of 77 percent by 2010 looks unachievable and so is the MDG target of 88 percent by 2015. UNDP will continue advocating with the Government to give preference to the most deprived districts of the Province for Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework implementation.  

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