The ExxonMobil Foundation has announced that it will award $5 million in grants to organizations dedicated to improving education and opportunities for women and girls in developing countries.
Awarded through the foundation's Educating Women and Girls Initiative, the grants will fund efforts to reduce barriers that prevent girls from attending school and train women to start or improve businesses and nonprofit organizations. Studies conducted by the World Bank have found that programs to educate women and girls yield a higher rate of return than any other community investment available in the developing world and contribute to improved sanitation, lower rates of HIV/AIDS infection, and higher household incomes.
"Given ExxonMobil's long history in Africa, we understand the value of expanding education and training of women and girls," said Roberta Luxbacher, the energy giant' director of Europe Gas and Power Marketing. "As one of the largest direct foreign investors in Africa, ExxonMobil understands it makes sense to foster economic growth and improve health on the continent — it is good for our employees, our neighbors, and our customers."