Global Health Seminar Series: Education, Ebola and Empowering Girls in The Gambia

Education is a way for girls in The Gambia to overcome health and social barriers they face.

Education is key to helping girls in The Gambia face social and health challenges.
Education is key to helping girls in The Gambia face social and health challenges.Adrienne White from University Health Services, left, helped train girls to become health advocates.

When 20 Gambian girls learned about teaching female reproductive health, they planned to share their knowledge in their communities as peer health educators. Faced with an Ebola outbreak, they realized they were prepared, proactive and ready to serve—and used their education and cultural knowledge to fight the disease. Mam-Yassin Sarr will discuss the importance of educating girls to advance global health. A reception follows the talk.

Sarr founded Starfish International with the goal of providing education for Gambian girls from pre-school through graduate school. Teen-age girls in The Gambia face a host of social and health issues and challenges, including  early marriage, teen pregnancy, violence against women and building their confidence and financial independence.

A doctoral student at Syracuse University in New York, Sarr is a native of The Gambia, West Africa. She grew up in a society where the average family subsists on about $1 a day, and she knew she wanted to help. “I believe that especially the poorest students need the highest and best-designed standards to go by in order to move out of their current state of economic exclusion,” she writes on her blog. “I also believe that with modest financial support and mentors that are very visionary in their approach to education, they can attain the highest levels of education.”

Yassin Sarr GHI poster