“Let Girls Learn” Initiative Isn’t Ending, The White House Now Says
Despite having reportedly sent an internal memo stating that Michelle Obama's "Let Girls Learn" education program would be discontinued, the White House is now saying there have been no changes to it.
"There have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program," a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spokesperson said in a statement sent to Bustle. "The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school. We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so."
This was a marked difference from a previous statement, in which the sentence about "no changes to the Let Girls Learn program" was not included. Now, USAID, the Peace Corps, and the White House are issuing statements affirming a commitment to educational opportunities for girls around the world with the program, after CNN reported on a memo reportedly sent to Peace Corps employees from acting director Sheila Crowley.
Moving forward, we will not continue to use the 'Let Girls Learn' brand or maintain a stand-alone program. "Let Girls Learn" provided a platform to showcase Peace Corps' strength in community development, shining a bright light on the work of our Volunteers all over the world. ... We are so proud of what "Let Girls Learn" accomplished and we have all of you to thank for this success.
Washington Examiner reporter Sarah Westwood tweeted earlier in the day that a White House source told her the memo was sent because of internal confusion.
In the initial email, Crowley had promised that some parts of the program would remain. It is not clear whether the statements that say there have been no changes to the Let Girls Learn program mean that it will keep its branding and continue as a standalone program, or if they mean that the program will continue as part of a new or other existing program. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment.
The confusion over the initiative for girls education follows recent rumors that President Trump might cut funding for the Global Women's Issues Office, a State Department office that follows a "mandate to promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls through U.S. foreign policy," according to its website.
Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, said that the Let Girls Learn initiative already has several years of funding set for it, adding, "We were hopeful that given that, it could continue. But obviously elections have consequences, and nobody knows that better than we."