And the prize goes to... The Girl Effect.
Last week the Norwegian Nobel Committee recognized the world-changing accomplishments of three women. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman in recognition of their efforts "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work". In essence, The Nobel Committee has awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize to The Girl Effect. What? Really? Well, yes. The accomplishments of these three outstanding women, and all that support them, started with the seed of education being planted into fertile ground of possibility when they were girls. The Girl Effect is the effect on a girl, her health, her family, her village, her country, and our world when the life of girl is given a chance to flourish, simply by starting her off with education. It's the seed that grows and starts a chain reaction of good things like choosing when (or if) she marries, has children, her impact on her community and eventually things that warrant The Nobel Peace Prize. All by getting a fair shot at going to school. What? Really? Well, yes.
So the Nobel Committee understands this little ditty of an equation: It's the equation for The Butterfly Effect: the sensitive dependence on initial conditions; where a small change at one place in a system can result in large differences to a later state (source: New York Academy of Sciences; thanks). The main difference between these two effects is that we can predict, with radically greater probability, the effect of educating a girl: an elegant revolution with the highest possible return on investment.
A revolution changes the course of our orbit, our world. It is the simple, initial condition of education. It is the work honored by The Nobel Peace Prize. It is the right thing. It is time. We do this by helping girls. While we're not all Nobel Laureates, we all do have the power of butterflies.
The beauty of the Nobel Peace Prize is the light it suddenly shines a light on incredible efforts that most of us were in the dark about. That too is the beauty of The Girl Effect campaign. Fortunately what comes next doesn't require fancy equations. It's really just love. And action. But mostly love.
Let's educate girls.