First Lady Michelle Obama visited London on Tuesday, announcing a new partnership between the US and the UK to improve education for girls across the world as part of her Let Girls Learn initiative.
According to a press release, the two countries are set to launch “a nearly $200 million partnership to continue their collective support for adolescent girls’ education.” Their focus will be on countries where girls have little to no access to education, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will receive $180 million over five years.
Other methods of ensuring girls across the world get a decent education include enrolling students in accelerated primary school programs, reducing barriers to school access, and mobilizing parental and community support. The US and the UK will also work to improve the materials used to teach, organize, and govern schools.
Based on their work, the two countries will collect and share data amongst various organizations, including the University of Cambridge and Georgetown University through USAID’s Education in Conflict and Crisis Network. This way, they can develop best practices and improve education across the world.
Why the focus on girls? According to the press release, “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.”
“Every time I meet these girls on my travels abroad, I am blown away by their passion, intelligence, and hunger to learn – and I cannot help but see my daughters in them,” Michelle Obama wrote in an op-ed in The Financial Times. “Like my own girls, each of these young women has the spark of something extraordinary inside. The only difference is that my girls have had the opportunity to develop their promise.” Her hope is that the partnerships formed through Let Girls Learn will allow many more girls the opportunities they deserve.