Launching "Let Girls Learn," A Global Education Initiative, Obama Says "Every Girl On This Planet Has Value"
On Tuesday, the White House launched the "Let Girls Learn" initiative that would increase efforts to help young girls across the world attend and complete school. In what White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett called a great way to welcome International Women's Day on March 8, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama took to the podium to announce the program together at a press conference on Tuesday.
Speaking first, the president said that while girls' education was close to his heart, being a father to two girls, Sasha and Malia, it was also a foreign policy issue.
First Lady Michelle then took her turn at the microphone to detail the program — 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers in over 60 countries will work with local community leaders to identify the obstacles in attending and finishing school that girls in these countries face. She also announced that her trip to Cambodia and Japan in March will be aimed at promoting the program.
A White House statement released before the speech said:
Launched last summer through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the program will provide new training for members of the Peace Corps for placement in 11 countries in its first year — Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo and Uganda.
Jarrett reiterated on MSNBC Tuesday morning ahead of the launch that girls who finish school have a higher chance of earning a decent wage and improve the lives of their families. Jarrett added:
Girls' education in developing countries has been a prevalent issue in recent years, gaining a surge of attention on the world stage when a Pakistani teenager, Malala Yousafzai, made headlines for standing up to the Taliban to champion girls' right to education. The First Lady had also pointed to Yousafzai — the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate — in her speech as an example of young girls themselves advocating for their own education.
Image: Whitehouse.gov (2); Getty Images