I was so moved by The Girl Effect (video). I wish everyone would watch it. Here’s a transcript for those unable to view it. Note there is no speech during the video only music. The following words display briefly on the screen one or a few at a time. Where the words interact to create an effect, I’ve attempted to describe the animation to convey the message. Enjoy.

The world is a mess. Poverty. AIDS. Hunger. War.

So what else is new?

What if there were an unexpected solution that could turn this sinking ship around?

Would you even know it if you saw it?

It’s not the internet.  It’s not science. It’s not the government. It’s not money.

It’s (dramatic pause) a girl.

Imagine a girl living in poverty. No. Go ahead. Really. Imagine her.

Description: The word “girl” in large orange letters with the small, black words “flies” flying around like flies. “Baby” small and in front of her. The word “husband,” much larger than “girl” falls into the scene and looks to weigh heavily on her. “Hunger” pops up from below, pushing up “husband,” “girl” and “baby.” “HIV” pushes up from below.

[Back to words displaying on the screen one or a few at a time]

Pretend that you can fix this picture.

Description: The stack of husband, girl, baby, hunger, hiv appears. All of the words fall away except “girl.”

Ok. Now she has a chance.

Let’s put her in a school uniform and see her get a loan to buy a cow and use her profits from the milk to help her family.

Pretty soon, her cow becomes a heard. And she becomes the business owner who brings clean water to the village, which makes the men respect her good sense and invite her to the village council where she convinces everyone that all girls are valuable.

Soon, more girls have a chance and the village is thriving.

Description: A stack forms with the following words: Village, Food, Peace, Lower HIV, Healthier babies, Education, Commerce, Sanitation, Stability. The stack becomes so large that the top words have been pushed off of the screen. Stability flashes again briefly.

Which means the economy of the entire country improves and the whole world is better off.

Are you following what’s happening here?

Girl -> School -> Cows -> $ -> Business -> Clean H20 -> Social change -> Stronger economy -> Better world

It’s called the girl effect.

Multiply that by 600 million girls in the developing world and you’ve just changed the course of history.

4 Replies to “The Girl Effect”

  1. Hey Wendy, thanks for the transcript. I remember watching the video a while back and being very impressed by it – especially in the light of studies that seem to show how microloans to women are orders of magnitude more likely to benefit communities in the developing world. this white male approves.

    On a side note, you may want to s/heard/herd/ in the 14th paragraph.

  2. Bought Kristof/WuDunn’s book Half the Sky. Best way to effect change in a developing world society (e.g. Afghanistan) is to allow girls to go to school. Girls and the teachers are brave and risk death but I believe this brings better conditions than using a fleet of bombers. Resistance from traditional fundamentalists is overwhelming, but would melt away as time goes on and they see their society hasn’t disintegrated. They’ll get used to it and enjoy the contribution women make to any society.

    I plan to be at the Seattle Developers/Designers meeting in Feb. We are generally Silverlight and Flash centric. I’m documenting a Silverlight Media Player (smf.codeplex.com) that will have Accessibility for next version. Hope to learn more about accessible video stds and practices.

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