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Smashing Barriers To Education

We can never achieve global gender equality if millions of girls around the world are barred from the educations they seek and deserve. Importantly, GEC does not impose Western values on our partners. Rather, we link arms with local change-makers, supporting their initiatives centered on educating girls. Through collaboration and allyship, GEC offers assets to help achieve a local vision for the future.

Vision Statement

To achieve a gender-equal world where all girls have agency to attend school and are no longer barred from receiving a quality, safe, and life-equipping education simply because they are girls.

Mission Statement

To bring global social change through the transformational power of girls education. We link arms in allyship with local change agents in rural, underserved regions in developing economies, where high rates of gender inequality and economic poverty persist.

We help girls transform their own lives through education.



We maintain the highest ethical standards.


We are transparent and forthright.


We are open-minded, creative, and continuous learners.


We create and support connections — collaboration is the key to how we do our work.


We are resourceful and adaptive. We respond to opportunities with deliberate pace and action.

Cultural Sensitivity

We are empathetic and value diversity in all forms.

Our Story

We believe in a simple premise — girls deserve to go to school. 

Girls Education Collaborative grew out of a group of committed, thoughtful people from Buffalo, NY, who saw an opportunity to test a proof of concept: could we make a transformative difference by partnering with a locally-led effort in an underserved area of Tanzania to provide safe, quality education for girls? If it worked there, we wanted to scale the effort to exponentially more partners and smash the barriers preventing girls from getting an education.

Opportunity in Global Girls' Education

Led by Anne Robinson Wadsworth — who has a background and expertise in global girls’ education — and informed by the work of the Buffalo Tanzania Education Project (BTEP, a university-community initiative of the University at Buffalo), a group of individuals sought to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (IHSA) in Tanzania. The IHSA sisters were at that time seeking a partner to help their vision — the Kitenga Girls Secondary School  (KGSS) — come true.  First conceptualized by this community of Tanzanian nuns over 20 years ago, KGSS was a vision on how to transform a community through the power of girls’ education. And that vision dovetailed remarkably close to the global change being sought by the founding group.

BTEP became a “thinking group,” to determine how it could add value to the emerging field of global girls’ education. Though there was a compelling wave of data coming out on the impact of educating girls, relatively few organizations were working directly with communities and taking their lead to support the creation or strengthening of educational opportunities for girls. BTEP explored the need, options, and logistics, and it became clear there were huge spaces to be filled in supporting the education of girls. That group launched GEC as a nonprofit corporation in January 2012, with Wadsworth at the helm.

Developing an Innovative Partnership Model

We believed that we could make a difference by taking an innovative approach. We intentionally chose to do our work by joining hands with locally-led initiatives seeking partnerships and allies to help their own community-identified priorities find a pathway to fruition. Our model was always to work with community-driven initiatives in underserved geographies that other organizations and investors had ignored and where girls were facing the greatest obstacles and barriers.

With this in mind, we engaged thoughtfully and deeply with the IHSA, whose goal was to lift up a community of women living in generational poverty and facing endemic destructive cultural traditions by creating the Kitenga Girls Secondary School. Our discovery efforts around the Sisters convinced us that their initiative had enormous opportunity. We also recognized that no other members of the international development community were stepping up to provide otherwise unattainable resources and support.

In its first year, GEC leveraged a seed grant from the Peter C. Cornell Trust Fund in Buffalo and raised almost $150,000 toward the Kitenga Girls Secondary School.

When the IHSA asked us to not only be a funder but also to project manage a good part of the capital projects necessary to open the school, we welcomed the invitation and linked arms to become true partners in collaboration. This type of invitation has continued, and GEC has played a pivotal role in helping fulfill this local vision, building an extraordinary school for marginalized girls.

Realizing a Vision in Rural Tanzania

Fast forward a dozen years, and GEC has played a pivotal role in helping fulfill a local vision in rural Tanzania: building an extraordinary school for marginalized girls. By securing more than $2 million in financial support — as well as program management and thought partnership, when needed — GEC became an integral part of KGSS’ trajectory, and a crucial part of the narrative of that first transformative cohort of girls. KGSS is now in its eighth year and providing a residential education for 230 students. When the school is fully built-out, enrollment will climb toward 350 students.

Looking Toward the Future

Today, GEC is a US-based 501(c)3 not-for-profit that supports and promotes the efforts of local change-makers working to create gender equity through the power of education in their communities.

Meet our Circle of Advisors

Click here to learn more about our first cohort of these very important advisors.

Our Team

The power of GEC lies within the collective efforts of everyone who has rolled up their sleeves to support our mission.

Anne Robinson Wadsworth

Executive Director

Judy Caraotta

Office Manager

Guillemette Dejean

Programs & Partnerships

Fatoumata Jaiteh

Communications & Fundraising Intern

Robert Berger

Board Member

Christine Brown, DO

Secretary, Board of Directors

Georgia Dachille

Board Chair, Board of Directors

Ryan Knowles

Treasurer, Board of Directors

Robynn Rich

Board Member

Brianne Szopinski

Vice-Chair, Board of Directors

Brianna R. Cornelius

Board Member

Kari Bonaro

Board Member

Toni L. Vazquez

Board Member

Join the Movement

Together, we can show the world that there’s nothing a girl can’t do.