Sixty-two million girls around the world -- half of whom are adolescent -- are not in school. These girls have diminished economic opportunities and are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, early and forced marriage, and other forms of violence.
"In too many parts of the world, girls are valued more for their bodies than for their minds." —President Obama #LetGirlsLearn
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 3, 2015
Today, the Obama Administration announced that it is expanding its efforts to help adolescent girls worldwide attend and complete school through an initiative called Let Girls Learn. Building on investments we have made and successes we have achieved in global primary school education, this new effort will expand them to help adolescent girls complete their education and pursue their broader aspirations. At an event at the White House, President Obama said, "...Every girl on this planet deserves to be treated with dignity and equality. And that includes the chance to develop her mind and her talents, and to live a life of her own choosing, to chart her own destiny. That may be obvious to us, but we know it’s not obvious to everyone. Sixty-two million girls around the world who should be in school are not. That’s not by accident. It’s the direct result of barriers, large and small, that stand in the way of girls who want to learn."
First Lady Michelle Obama said, "...I’ve traveled the world over the past six years, I’ve seen time and again how our young people -- particularly our girls -- are so often pushed to the very bottom of their societies. Everywhere I go, I meet these girls, and they are so fiercely intelligent, and hungry to make something of themselves. These girls are our change-makers -- our future doctors and teachers and entrepreneurs. They’re our dreamers and our visionaries who could change the world as we know it. "
When a girl receives a quality education, she is more likely to earn a decent living, raise a healthy, educated family, and improve the quality of life for herself, her family, and her community. When girls are educated they are more likely to delay marriage and childbearing, and they are more likely to be healthy and better nourished. A World Bank study found that every year of secondary school education is correlated with an 18 percent increase in a girl’s future earning power.
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) March 3, 2015
This new effort will build on the Let Girls Learn public engagement campaign launched last summer by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Let Girls Learn will elevate existing programs, including in areas of conflict and crisis, and leverage public and private sector partners. It will also look to build more partnerships and challenge other organizations and governments to commit resources to lift up adolescent girls across the globe.
A key part of Let Girls Learn will be to encourage and support community-led solutions to reduce barriers that prevent adolescent girls from completing their education. Through the efforts of the First Lady -- working with the Peace Corps -- this new initiative will support community-generated and community-led girls’ education projects worldwide.
The First Lady said, "...Through this effort, Peace Corps will be supporting hundreds of new community projects to help girls go to school and stay in school...everything from after-school mentoring to girls’ leadership camps, to entrepreneurial projects...And I want to emphasize that these programs will be community-generated and community-led. They’ll be based on solutions devised by local leaders, families and, yes, even the girls themselves."
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