Malala Fund taps into analytics to predict impact of climate change on girls' education

An index developed by Malala Fund and SAS has found girls in sub-Saharan Africa are most likely to be impacted by climate change.

Not-for-profit organisation co-founded by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund, has used analytics to identify countries where girls' education is most likely to be impacted due to climate change over the next five years.

Teaming up with analytics firm SAS, Malala Fund developed the Girls' Education and Climate Challenges Index [PDF] to predict, by year, where girls' education is most at risk based on data including grade-level completion rates and environment factors, such as likelihood of flooding, tsunamis, and earthquakes, in countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

The analytics technique, which was underpinned by SAS Visual Analytics, predicted the region that is likely to be most affected is in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the region contributing the least to climate change. Some of the specific countries included Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya.

Countries in other regions, including the Philippines, Mongolia, and Kiribati, are also being affected, the index showed.

The index also estimates that some four million girls living in low- and lower-middle income countries will be prevented from completing their education in 2021 due to climate-related events, and if current trends continue into 2025, at least 12.5 million girls globally will be impacted.

"We continue to witness the impact of climate change on our environment, whether in the form of drought, shifting ecosystems, severity of storms or the devastation caused by forest fires that are double or triple in size of those we've experienced in the past," SAS brand director Susan Ellis said.

"Industries are also attempting to calculate the risks associated with climate change. Climate change will affect the most vulnerable populations first. We want to do everything we can to support organisations like Malala Fund to ensure that the education of girls remains a priority."

Malala Fund expects to present the results in the index at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in November.

"Our new report confirms that girls' education is one of the most powerful strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change," Malala Fund research officer Naomi Nyamweya said. "But as this data project with SAS shows, climate-related events are keeping millions of girls from learning. To create a greener, fairer future for us all, we need leaders to take urgent climate action and support girls' education."

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