Liberia: USAID throws money at girls education
The US government agency responsible for administering civilian foreign aid has decided to dedicate up to US $27 million to directly support the Let Girls Learn initiative in Liberia.
On 27 June, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced new programmes in Liberia to help remove the barriers preventing girls from obtaining an education. Through these programmes, it hopes to help improve the future for adolescent girls in the country. The new commitments build on more than US $20 million in existing contributions made by a variety of organisations to the Let Girls Learn initiative and announced by the US First Lady, Michelle Obama, during the United State of Women Summit held on 14 June in Washington, DC, USA.
The new programmes in Liberia include:
· New quality education activities focusing on increasing enrolment and safe access to education, as well as addressing school-related gender-based violence.
· Launch of the “Let Girls Learn Challenge” for Liberia; inviting external partners to participate in a process to co-create, co-design, and co-invest in the research, development, piloting, and testing of innovative, practical and cost-effective interventions to advance adolescent girls’ education.
· Increasing support for out-of-school girls and youth to improve access to basic education and training in work readiness, technical skills and leadership development.
· Providing support for the education of girls with disabilities.
The National Teachers' Association of Liberia (NTAL), affiliated to Education International (EI), welcomed this contribution to broaden access to education for girls. However, the education union continues to be vocal in its opposition to governmental plans to outsource the entire national primary and pre-primary school system to private providers, emphasising that the prime responsibility for ensuring quality education for all in any country, including Liberia, lies with the Government, and urged the current Administration to allocate the appropriate funding to reach this goal.
Let Girls Learn was launched in March 2015 by the US President and First Lady. It is a US Government initiative aimed at ensuring adolescent girls across the world obtain quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential. The initiative brings together the US Department of State, USAID, and other agencies to address the range of challenges – both within and outside of the classroom – that make it difficult for over 62 million girls worldwide to access the education they deserve.