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Education champions Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize

By Anna Kramer
Oxfam is working in Pakistan to ensure that all children have access to an education, particularly girls living in rural poverty. Irina Werning/Oxfam

A young advocate for girls’ education and a leader who co-founded an organization with Oxfam share this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. 

"I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds, but our hearts and our souls.”  - Malala Yousafzai at , 2013

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be shared by two different people who fight for a common cause: the right to an education. , the 2014 prize winners are Global Campaign for Education (GCE) co-founder Kailash Satyarthi, from India, and girls' education champion Malala Yousafzai, from Pakistan.

Satyarthi co-founded the GCE with Oxfam in 1999, along with ActionAid and teachers' union leaders. is “to make sure that states act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality public education.”  The organization leads the world’s largest civil society education movement, with more than 100 international, regional, and national members.

Oxfam has long believed that education can be a powerful tool to help people lift themselves out of poverty. In Yousafzai’s home country of Pakistan, for example, . Together with local partner organizations, Oxfam renovated girls’ schools that were in poor condition or damaged by the 2010 floods, and provided others with trained teachers and new equipment. Oxfam also worked with lawmakers at the national and regional level to craft legislation guaranteeing the right to education for all children, and launched a public awareness campaign to change families’ perspectives on sending their daughters to school. Through leadership clubs organized at their schools, young girls learn understand their rights and become spokespeople for the importance of education.

“I will go to school so that I will be able to teach other young girls, so they have better lives,” said Amna Khallo Brohl, 9, a student at one of the renovated schools.

Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima said that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize highlights the importance of education as a way to fight growing inequality. "Oxfam offers its heartfelt congratulations to Malala and Kailash. Their fearless and tireless campaigning for education is legendary,” said Byanyima.

“The fight to get every child into school over the last decade has seen many millions of girls and boys get to go to school for the first time, a huge achievement,” said Byanyima. “But many millions more are still out of school, from Syria to South Sudan. The world must redouble its efforts to ensure every child gets to finish school.”