Seventeen million girls worldwide struggle to receive an education as a result of displacement and conflict. It is estimated that 35 percent of women have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives, and women account for two thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.
To address these alarming statistics and increasingly difficult challenges women and girls face every day, HP Inc partnered with Girl Rising, a nonprofit organization working to change the way the world values and invests in girls, to launch the first-ever Girl Rising Creative Challenge, Powered by HP, on International Women’s Day 2018.
HP and Girl Rising put out a call-to-action inviting girls everywhere to tell their stories, which coincided with the release of a short film HP created about a young girl passionate for storytelling, “Paro". Leading submissions communicated issues impacting women and girls worldwide through mediums such as photography, art, poetry and video. Each submission was unique and shined a light on how the individual or group’s work is making lasting, positive change for girls around the world.
The strategy behind the Girl Rising Creative Challenge – providing a platform for people to tell their inspiring own stories so that others will be inspired to make a difference in their own communities, as well – is unique and innovative in its simplicity. People tell stories every day and, with that in mind, HP and Girl Rising created a platform for people all over the world to tell their stories and share their experiences to demonstrate how they are impacting change. The essence of the challenge was to share a personal story using technology – whether that is a pen and paper, a photograph, a video or audio recording – to elevate stories and voices of people around the world advocating for equality.
To inspire change and help foster a world where all have access to education and economic prosperity, HP and Girl Rising had an ambitious goal of attracting at least 200 submissions. The challenge, launched on International Women’s Day in 2018 and running from April through June 2018, served as a call-to-action for women and girls all over the world to fearlessly pursue their dreams through a story-driven program designed to elevate voices and advocate for equality. Everything starts with a story and these community-driven projects serve as a catalyst for impact and long-term social change.
The challenge culminated in an event on International Day of the Girl 2018 honoring the 12 winners selected by an esteemed panel of judges including: Actor David Oyelowo; Actress Landry Bender; Journalist and Activist Isha Sesay; YouTuber Sejal Kumar; Kat Gordon, Founder, The 3% Conference; Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient; Andrew Robertson, President & CEO, BBDO; and Madonna Badger, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Badger & Winters.
The Creative Challenge gave people everywhere the opportunity to unleash their creativity and fearlessly chase their dreams through a story-driven program designed to elevate voices and advocate for equality. By the end of the contest, over 1,000 stories had been submitted from 110 countries, and 12 winners were selected. Winning individuals and organizations shared stories that covered issues impacting women and girls globally, including All Girls Code, a project that provides access to education in conflict settings; Girl Pride Circle, a project from Safe Kicks Initiative that combats gender-based violence; Building Tomorrow, a program empowering girls through sports, Brown Girls Do Ballet, a nonprofit working to increase representation of underrepresented groups in ballet and Days for Girls, which educates communities on sexual and reproductive health.
The winners, who came from Lebanon, the United States, Nigeria and Afghanistan, among others, were recognized on International Day of the Girl 2018. HP and Girl Rising awarded these carefully curated winners with microgrants to continue their work, as well as HP technology, including Spectre x360 laptops and HP Sprockets. The challenge was a call-to-action, and submissions included essays, art, poetry and videos.
HP and Girl Rising leveraged their owned content channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the HP Garage, to promote milestones resulting from the contest. The campaign garnered more than 598,000 social media impressions, 18,800 engagements and 11.3 million earned media impressions.
To continue amplifying the voices of women and girls around the world, HP expanded its partnership with Girl Rising, releasing a powerful film titled Brave Girl Rising alongside partners like The International Rescue Committee and Citi. The film shares the story of a young refugee woman named Nasro, who has been displaced from her home and lives in a refugee camp. The film launched a new social action campaign raising awareness of the plight of displaced girls everywhere. Education is Nasro’s lifeline and every day she must conquer formidable obstacles to basic survival and to what many consider a fundamental right: simply going to school.
There is still much work to be done to build a more gender-equal world, but authentic stories have the power to change mindsets and spark meaningful, lasting conversations and change.
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