In 2007, the Girls Gotta Run Foundation was started in Washington D.C. with a mission to empower girls in Ethiopia, helping them become changemakers in their communities, and helping them succeed through education and athletics. Since then, the organization has changed and evolved, seeing success they never imagined, and is currently working with 255 girls, impacting over 1,000 people. We spoke with Executive Director, Kayla Nolan, to get a deeper history of the organization and an update on where they are now.
Girls Gotta Run is the first and only organization that’s investing in girls education and athletic empowerment. But what does that mean? And how do they measure success? In Ethiopia, less than 10% of women graduate from high school, and less than 4% go on to college. The organization saw an opportunity for intervention, giving girls the chance to go to college, changing their lives and the lives of their families. Since it’s common for girls to drop out of school and get married around the age of 14, GGR starts working with girls ages 12-13, getting them into the program, working with their families, and helping them stay in school.
In 2014, the scholarship program was started, and has been what’s lead to the best results the organization has seen. Once girls join this program, there are four major investments Girls Gotta Run makes:
- Education – Girls receive a full scholarship that reduces the challenges of attending school. This includes books, food, hygiene supplies, medical services, and education support.
- Run – This program gives girls sports gear, shoes, snacks, and water to help them train, as well as help them develop leadership skills.
- Life Skills – This focuses on developing safe spaces, helping them to build empowered lives, with weekly life skills workshops.
- Entrepreneurship for Mother – For each incoming class of girls, there is a 5-day workshop for their mothers, where they collectively save and gain access to seed capital, helping them to build their own businesses. The mothers learn about finances, savings, and how to run a business.
When the program ends for each girl, their families are in a much better financial place to support members of the family and their communities. This year, the first class of students graduated into college, and 100% of the girls in the program went on to college.
In 2015, shortly after the scholarship program was started, Allegro began donating to Girls Gotta Run as part of our yearly Making Coffee Matter program. Kayla kindly added, “Allegro has been so integral in investing, and these results wouldn’t be possible without their partnership, because Allegro has been a part of it for so many consecutive years.” We are so proud to help this amazing organization grow, with the release of our Girls Gotta Run coffee, we are donating $10k to the organization. If you’re interested in helping, you can sign up for their monthly giving program. $50 a month supports a girl and her mother in the program for a full year, but you can give at any amount.
Live in Denver? This March, for the first time ever, a documentary about the organization, highlighting the 100 mile ultra-relay (the first relay for and by girls in Ethiopia) will be premiering in the No Man’s Land Film Festival.