The FINANCIAL — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on June 16 an expanded partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to advance girls’ education around the world.
As part of that commitment, USAID and DFID announced a new partnership of up to $180 million over five years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (£36M committed by DFID; up to $125M by USAID) that will enable girls who are not in school to access accelerated and alternative learning programs in conflict-affected areas (North and South Kivu and Katanga). This program will benefit more than 755,000 girls ages 10-18 over the next five years, according to USAID.
The joint announcement, made by First Lady Michelle Obama during her trip to London, highlights the two countries’ shared commitment to advancing adolescent girls’ education worldwide. This partnership builds upon investments made by the international community—including the United States—and the new Let Girls Learn initiative, launched by the President and First Lady in March. Let Girls Learn is a U.S. government initiative that involves the Department of State, USAID, the Peace Corps, and others to ensure adolescent girls get the education they deserve.
The Let Girls Learn program in the DRC will help enroll girls and boys in accelerated learning programs so that they can complete a primary school education; reduce barriers for adolescent students to access schools; mobilize parents and communities to support girls’ retention in schools; improve the quality of teaching and learning materials; develop solutions to enhance students’ reading skills; and identify solutions to improve school governance.
“Adolescence is a critical point that determines the pathways girls will take as they move into adulthood,” said Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment “Investing in girls’ education can have a transformational impact, and provide girls with the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and self-confidence to lead healthy and productive lives.”
USAID and DFID will also continue to collaborate on girls’ education through DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge, and new instruments including USAID’s Education in Conflict and Crisis Network that will produce research, guidance and technical support, and a shared platform for what works to increase access to quality education for children and youth, especially adolescent girls. This expanded partnership invites other organizations to collaborate and share best practices, broadening efforts to impact adolescent girls worldwide.