By Jessica Bousquette, Policy Advisor for Child Protection for World Vision
and Shannon Sowell, formerly Senior Project Coordinator for World Vision

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Education is power, a key to unlocking doors to a future that is otherwise out of reach. It increases the opportunities for an individual, improves the health of communities, and leads to a more prosperous economy. In past years, partnerships with developing countries have built stronger education systems and drastically decreased the number of children not in school around the world. Still, there are 62 million adolescents out of school around the world. Half of them are girls.

Global Goal 4 ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all, regardless of race, gender, ability, or disability. Its aim is that all girls and boys are on track to complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful vehicles for sustainable development.

Recently, World Vision has endorsed and advocated for the READ Act. This legislation builds upon current U.S. efforts to ensure equal access to quality education for children throughout the world. In doing so, it works to reach the 120 million children and youth around the world who remain out of school, improves the quality of education for those already enrolled, and builds sustainability and country independence. World Vision has also invested in achieving inclusive and quality education through working on projects like Improving Girls Access through Transforming Education, which aims to reduce school dropout rates and helps young girls discover their potential. In addition, World Vision focuses on ensuring that kids can read, write, and do math upon graduating elementary education.

Addressing the barriers to education for all requires a multi-sectoral response and involvement of influential relationships the children’s lives, including governments, schools, religious and community leaders, community members, peers, and the children’s families. While we have taken several encouraging steps in the past years, there is more we can and must do to forge a brighter future for all vulnerable children.


By Jessica Bousquette, Policy Advisor for Child Protection for World Vision
and Shannon Sowell, formerly Senior Project Coordinator for World Vision

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Inequalities in access to education, paid employment, gaps between men and women in the labor market, violence and exploitation, the division of domestic work, and discrimination in public decision-making, to name a few, all remain huge barriers to sustainable development. Across the world, gender differences impact the set of economic, political, social, and cultural opportunities available to men and women. Gender refers to the roles males and females play within their society and the social and cultural expectations of male and females.

One of the keys to sustainable development is recognizing the costs of gender discrimination and the advantages that fairness, or gender equity, has on society. Global Goal 5, Gender Equality, recognizes that because relationships between males and females are learned behaviors, they can be changed over time to achieve fairness in opportunities and greater balance. Ensuring greater gender equity can lead to gender equality in the long-run.

World Vision works with women, girls, men, and boys to transform relationships and systems. For example, World Vision hosts men’s and women’s groups focusing on open dialogue to encourage change in their views about the practice of gender-based violence, women’s participation in household decision-making, and women’s access to household and community assets, changing lives around the world.

Another way World Vision has tackled this issue is using its curriculum, Channels of Hope, to make these issues visible to community leaders and families. Through Channels of Hope, World Vision partners with local churches and faith-based organizations in changing deeply held cultural beliefs about inequitable gender roles. Thus, by empowering women to influence their own futures, girls have improved opportunities to attend school and churches become centers for justice against gender-based violence.


By Zoey Wilson, Advocacy Communications Associate for World Vision

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

There are many types of inequality – inequality between countries, gender inequality, economic inequality, and the list goes on. But we don’t have to settle for the fact that millions of people live in inequality every day, wondering if they will have enough money to buy food, if they are being treated differently because of their gender, or if they will be able to receive a good education.

When this Goal was adopted, it was looking at deeply rooted systems of inequality – gender; caste; ethnic/religious identity – in many parts and regions of the world. It was also looking at the unequal distribution of economic and other resources – concentration of this in the hands of the powerful few and the absence in the less powerful many.

One result of inequality in the world is that millions of people are still living in extreme poverty (defined as living on less than $1.90 (USD) a day). But we have seen progress: extreme poverty was cut in half between 1990 and 2015 and the numbers keep getting smaller. To continue this work, however, more must be done.

At World Vision, we believe that to solve inequality and poverty, you must tackle the root problem. When considering education, that may include having a feeding program so that kids aren’t hungry while sitting in class. For water, that might mean providing a well and educating community members on how to maintain it. For families who need economic help, the solution may be a savings group or job training. In many cases, a community or family may need all the above. But whatever the key problems are, the solution must be short- and long-term. This means that we don’t just provide a handout, but rather provide a hand-up so that individuals and communities feel supported and empowered on the road out of poverty.

Without reducing inequalities, none of the goals can be achieved. So, while focusing on inequalities separately is important, it is also important to use tackling inequality as the lens through which the other Goals are addressed.

Photo: Children play games, color, skip rope, and play football soccer in a Child Friendly Space started by World Vision and staffed with volunteers trained by World Vision at Pagai IDP Camp, in Twic County, South Sudan. © 2015 World Vision/ photo by Jon Warren

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