The Trump administration will discontinue Let Girls Learn, an initiative launched by former first lady Michelle Obama to help address barriers to girl’s education around the world, CNN reports.
The program was an interagency effort that included work by Peace Corps volunteers in focus countries to help girls with hygiene, transportation, and financial issues that may keep them out of school. Globally, about 62 million girls are not in school, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
According to CNN:
The "Let Girls Learn" program, which she and President Barack Obama started in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries, will cease operation immediately, according to an internal document obtained by CNN. While aspects of the initiative's programming will continue, employees have been told to stop using the "Let Girls Learn" name and were told that, as a program unto itself, "Let Girls Learn" was ending. "Moving forward, we will not continue to use the 'Let Girls Learn' brand or maintain a stand-alone program," read an email sent to Peace Corps employees this week by the agency's acting director Sheila Crowley.
Peace Corps will continue to address girls education issues as part of its work, the agency tells CNN.
In a 2015 interview, Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Christina Tchen, explained how Let Girls Learn would allow U.S. teachers to partner with Peace Corps volunteers through fundraisers, teleconferencing, and specialized lesson plans. The aim was to build global awareness and empathy among U.S. students.
“One big piece, and the first lady has talked about this, is that we hope kids in the United States will get inspired to rededicate themselves to their own education as they learn about the challenges that these girls around the globe are facing,” Tchen said at the time.
“Secondly, I think this is a great way to be sure that our students grow up to be global citizens. ... That value of being connected and caring about other parts of the world is a value they will carry with them into adulthood.”
Photo: Michelle Obama hugs Sohang Vean, a high school student in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The first lady was in Cambodia in 2015 to promote Let Girls Learn, her effort to remove obstacles that keep 62 million girls around the world from attending school. --Wong Maye-E/AP-File
Related to Let Girls Learn:
- First Lady to Tap U.S. Students in Education Equity Campaign for Girls
- US State Department Tackles Gender Gap in STEM Participation
- The Legacy of Michelle Obama and the Let Girls Learn Initiative
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.