With almost 900 stories submitted from 110 countries, a panel of judges chose 12 stories to highlight to celebrate International Day of the Girl. Working with Girl Rising—a nonprofit that works to eradicate poverty by providing education to girls around the world—HP issued the challenge on International Women’s Day last March as a call-to-action to highlight how storytelling can positively impact change.

Candidates entered essays, videos, art and more about how they, or others in their communities, strive to improve the world for girls. Of the 12 projects selected, seven were from Africa, and one each came from Afghanistan, India, Lebanon, Nepal and the U.S. The projects tackled themes affecting girls and women globally, such as educational access in conflict zones, combating gender-based violence, technology, self-esteem, skills development, reproductive health and more.

“HP and Girl Rising believe in the power of stories to change mindsets and spark meaningful action,” said Christina Lowery, CEO, Girl Rising. “During this challenge, it has been incredibly inspiring to learn how all kinds of people—girls, boys, mothers, fathers and teachers—are working every day to change the lives of girls and bring about a more gender-equitable world. It is my sincere hope that sharing their stories will inspire others to find ways they can make a difference in their own communities.”

The original pool of entries was culled to 40 finalists and judged by a compelling panel that included actors David Oyelowo and Landry Bender, as well as journalist and activist Isha Sesay. Also part of the judging process were advertising industry leaders on the forefront of equality: Kat Gordon, founder of The 3% Movement; Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient; and Madonna Badger, co-founder and CCO of Badger & Winters.

“Gender-based discrimination keeps millions of girls and women from reaching their full potential. Today we honor these stories by spotlighting and sharing them,” said Karen Kahn, chief communications officer, HP. “We were humbled by the volume and breadth of responses and are truly inspired by the entrants from across the globe who are using the power of storytelling to help change their world.”

View all winning entries on the Girl Rising website.

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