Tesco launches campaign for female education in Senegal

30 Jul 2013

  • Around 500 million women around the world cannot read or write
  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five
  • 60% of girls around the world do not know about menstruation before they reach that life stage

Thousands of young women in Senegal will be offered the opportunity to be part of a literacy program, thanks to the strong partnership between leading feminine care brand Always and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Through an exclusive Tesco campaign, we are aiming to raise funds for 8 million lessons to teach girls and women basic skills such as reading and writing. This collaboration between Always and UNESCO is an almost “natural” fit as both parties share the same purpose of “girls’ and women’s empowerment”.  As part of Tesco's commitment to use its scale for good, the retailer intends to create millions of opportunities for young people, wherever they operate.

Around 500 million adult women around the world were lacking basic literacy skills in 2011, and in Senegal more than four out of ten primary school girls dropped out from school before reaching the last grade in 2010. Yet, there is compelling evidence that education and specifically literacy leads to an uplift of economic, social and health indicators. For example, a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5 and one extra year of schooling increases an individual's earnings by up to 10%.

This campaign creates a movement that enables women and girls from around the world to come together and support each other. Tesco shoppers will be able to get involved - for any UNESCO marked-pack of Always Pads & Liners bought at Tesco, Always will donate 1 lesson towards empowering young women through literacy programs. 1 Pack = 1 Lesson!* For a limited time donations will also be made for each facebook like that the campaign receives.**

The exclusive Tesco campaign will run for the next 8 months, with activities in store, in the Tesco magazine and on Tesco.com. Updates will be posted about our achievements; interviews with Senegalese girls will describe how literacy programs can help them achieve their dreams, and shoppers will be encouraged to share their thoughts to strengthen their sense of belonging to a global movement.

One of those stories is that of Kéwé Ndiaye from Dakar, Senegal, who was enrolled in one of UNESCO’s literacy programmes to learn to read and write. She expresses her thankfulness to the girls who are supporting the cause and asks them to continue: “I really thank them. They helped me overcome a barrier to finally take my life in my own hands so that I can realize my dream of becoming a fashion designer.”

Steve Bishop, Group President Global Feminine Care, stated: “As leaders in Feminine Care, we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that girls are given every opportunity to succeed in life. Staying in school is a fundamental factor of success. Today, we reach 20 million girls around the world every year with Always Puberty education programmes. And our partnership with UNESCO is enabling us to broaden the significant difference we are making in the lives of girls today – the women of tomorrow.”

Rebecca Shelley, Group Corporate Affairs Director at Tesco, said: “As one of the world's leading retailers, we want to use our scale for good. We already create great jobs and careers for young people in our business and across our supply chain, but we want to go further by creating millions more opportunities for young people across the world, helping them to succeed wherever they are.  We hope our work with UNESCO and Always will make a real difference to the lives of thousands of young women in Senegal.”


The power of education

  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls eventual wages by 10-20%[1]
  • An extra year of secondary school education boost girls eventual wages by 15-25 %
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families[2]
  • HIV and AIDS spreads twice as fast among uneducated girls as among girls with even some schooling3

Illiteracy in Senegal

  • Senegal made cuts in education spending by more than 20%in 2009, leaving more children out of school[3] and without the proper resources to learn
  • Less than half (44%) of Senegalese girls are literate
  • Children coming from a rural home in Senegal are less than half as likely to complete school3
  • The Senegal school life expectancy for girls was just 8.2 years in 20103;  about the time when young girls are expected to begin or are experiencing puberty

* For each UNESCO marked pack purchased, Always donates $0.03 to UNESCO for its education programme in Senegal.  With the combination of traditional classes and education via new technologies, this amount funds a lesson of 45 to 60 minutes.

**For each like, Always donates $0.03 to UNESCO for its education programme in Senegal.  With the combination of traditional classes and education via new technologies, this amount funds a lesson of 45 to 60 minutes

[1] George Psacharopoulos and Harry Anthony Patrinos, “Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update”, Policy Research Working Paper 2881 [Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002]; Accessed on GirlEffect.org

[2] Chris Fortson, “Women’s Rights Vital for Developing World”, Yale News Daily 2003; Accessed on GirlEffect.org, http://girleffect.org/uploads/documents/1/Girl_Effect_Fact_Sheet.pdf

3 UNESCO (2011)

[3] UNESCO (2012)

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

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