- March 08, 2020
In honor of International Women’s Day, we caught up with Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation, to hear about all that this great organization accomplished this year with the support of Jaybird.
Girls Gotta Run Foundation is the first and only organization investing in girl changemakers through running and education in Ethiopia. The Girls Gotta Run program integrates education, athletics, life skills, and savings and entrepreneurship to support girls and women in designing a future of their choosing. GGRF was founded in 2007 as an all-volunteer organization, and we now work with 275 girls and women, impacting over 1,000 community members.
Around 1.6 million primary and secondary school-aged girls are currently not attending school in Ethiopia—that’s nearly 2 out of every 10 girls. As girls enter adolescence, they are more likely to drop out of school due to early marriage, early pregnancy, increased responsibilities at home, increased cost of school, food insecurity, and more.
Supporting girls’ education is the smartest investment one can make for community development. Each year of education a girl completes catalyzes change for her future, her family, and her community. Education for girls means income, health, and agency for them and their communities. GGRF works to provide opportunities for girls to complete their education and achieve their goals on and off the track.
GGRF takes a holistic approach in addressing the many challenges girls need to overcome in order to reach their goals and design a future of their choosing. Each aspect of our program compliments the other. Running and life skills help to provide a safe space for girls to feel seen and heard. Financial support for the girls education and entrepreneurship programming for their mothers ensures that families can build sustainable ways out of poverty and keep their children in school. Building on Ethiopia’s internationally renowned legacy of distance running, our participating families take pride in the Athletic Scholarship Program and are hopeful for the prosperous future of their own creation.
Last year, through an International Women’s Day fundraising effort, Jaybird Sport raised enough money to outfit every GGRF Athletic Scholar with running clothes. We were proud to provide quality training gear to all of our Scholars thanks to the generous support of Jaybird, and we were also proud to elevate the stories of GGRF Athletic Scholars through the RUN WILD global film series.
Over the past year we saw 100% of our graduating class go on to university. We’re really excited about these results, as only 10% of women enter university across Ethiopia. Thanks to Jaybird Sport, the GGRF Athletic Scholars have the tools they need to thrive in the classroom, track, and community.
– Kayla Nolan, Executive Director of Girls Gotta Run Foundation
If you are looking to help support and empower women and girls in developing communities, please consider donating to this incredible foundation.