Let Girls Learn

  • Amanda Silva posted an article
    Mission Partners are the reason why girls like mine continue to be empowered. see more

    By Amanda Silva (Indonesia 2013-2015)

    Two years ago, I was preparing for the first girls and boys empowerment camp in my district in Indonesia. Today, I'm stateside helping Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) get more funding for their own primary and secondary projects in water and sanitation or girls education and empowerment.

    I made the decision in June 2016 to become a Mission Partner at the Shriver Circle level ($1,000) because I remember how much that camp affected 1) the sixty students who participated, 2) the twelve counselors who mentored, and 3) the Indonesian committee who empowered them all through their hard work and facilitation. As the Community Fund and Partnerships Coordinator at National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), I'm faced with the task of sifting through grant proposals from PCVs or emails from RPCVs returning to their host communities to build upon past projects. All the donations given to Water and Sanitation or Girls Education and Empowerment directly benefit host country communities. The more Mission Partners can contribute funds, the more projects can be completed. 

    I'm proud to be a Mission Partner, so that I can enable other PCVs to empower students just like mine.

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    With global girls education in the news, read about development efforts past, present and future. see more

    The Peace Corps has a long and proud history of advancing opportunities for girls and women around the world, especially through education. That has also been an important component of National Peace Corps Association, many of our affiliate groups and other strategic partners.

    Earlier this week, news reports cast the ongoing commitment into some doubt, especially in its current form. CNN, citing internal agency communications it obtained, reported that while work on these programs would continue, they would no longer be done under the "Let Girls Learn" (LGL) initiative launched two years ago by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Soon after these reports began circulating, the White House, State Department and USAID (another key partner in the initiative) indicated there would be no changes.  "There have been no changes to the #LetGirlsLearn program," read a State Department tweet. "We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world."  

    Addressing a Critical Need

    The need to support girls' and women's education and empowerment has been a global concern for many years. Today, an estimated 62 million girls around the world are not in school. Half of them are adolescents. Countries with more girls in secondary school tend to have lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of HIV/AIDS and better child nutrition. Too often, a girl who could change her world for the better is locked out of that future by the circumstances of her birth or the customs of her community.

    Launched in March 2015, and championed by the First Lady, Let Girls Learn was established with a goal of amplifying existing programs while also investing in new efforts to expand educational opportunities for girls, including in areas of conflict and crisis. In its 2015 - 2016 progress report, the agency noted that "The Peace Corps Let Girls Learn program builds on the Peace Corps' 55 years of experience of working with girls and communities." The report notes that "over 300 Peace Corps staff members, nearly 5,000 Volunteers and over 1,800 counterparts have participated in Peace Corps Let Girls Learn training events." 

    The Peace Corps Community in Action

    The progress report also highlighted the efforts of National Peace Corps Association.  "[NPCA] on its own initiative...played a critical role in working with the greater returned Peace Corps Volunteer community, which has actively supported the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Program." A $200,000 partnership pledge with the RPCV-founded non-governmental organization Water Charity was part of the $2.5 million in private funds pledged to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund as of September 30, 2016. The Atlanta Area RPCVs were highlighted in the report as one of many NPCA affiliate groups and individuals that organized or supported Let Girls Learn. Meanwhile, many country-of-service groups have longstanding girls education programs that date years before the launch of LGL.

    Moving Forward

    "The development community has long known that investing in girls and women yields the highest returns," said NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "Because of this, we are heartened by the administration statements re-emphasizing its commitment to empowering women and girls around the world." At the same time, Blumhorst noted that such a commitment includes the need to fully fund the Peace Corps, providing no less than stable funding of $410 million, when President Trump releases his full budget later this month.

     

    Visit and donate to NPCA's #ProtectPeaceCorps campaign and be part of a growing list of leaders who are ensuring the future of a strong and well-resourced Peace Corps.

    Give to NPCA's Community Fund Girls' Empowerment and Education Campaign and ensure that these projects continue to be funded.

     

     

  • Raisa Siddique posted an article
    The Community Fund: Dancing for Safer Streets in Gagauzia see more

    National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), through the Girls Education and Empowerment Fund, provide Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) the opportunity to complete projects in their host communities through small grants. As a private sector partner to the White House on Let Girls Learn, NPCA is proud to help support PCVs through the Peace Corps Partnership Program and Let Girls Learn grants. 

    Members of the Peace Corps community believe in supporting past and present host communities — not only in immediate necessities such as food, water and shelter, but also through initiatives like the arts. We know that Volunteers' dedication to long-term community building results in lasting relationships and impact. 

    Aaron Ratz, currently serving in Moldova, is a Volunteer who exemplifies this dedication; he is working to renovate a Soviet-era arts center in Ceadir-Lunga, a city of roughly 20,000.

    The community has six coed schools, a vocational college, but only one arts center that serves over 400 children in a given week. As the only forum for children to participate in after-school activities, it offers classes in drawing, musical instruments, dance, singing, costume design, and many more. It is not only beloved, but is also an essential part of the community.  

    Because the building hasn't been remodeled for more than 30 years, the arts center is in significant disrepair. One of its most popular features, the dance studio, is used by over 75 people per week, but is dilapidated to the point that it's dangerous for children to use. To remodel the space, it will require replacing the floor, refinishing the walls and ceiling, and much more work.

    Aaron and his host community have received a Let Girls Learn grant and need your help with the last bit of funding! Please give to the Girls Education and Empowerment fund today to empower girls and support an entire community in Moldova.

  • Megan Patrick posted an article
    Supporting Girls' Education Globally see more

    Blog post | Alan Ruiz Terol

    98 Million adolescent girls are denied educational opportunities worldwide, according to UNESCO. The World Bank also reports that they continue to lag substantially behind boys in secondary school completion rates.

    To address this crisis, the White House announced on October 11, 2016 more than 5 million dollars in private donations will go towards the Let Girls Learn program, aimed at improving education for girls in the developing world. These funds include $200,000 from the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) in partnership with key partner, Water Charity.

    Let Girls Learn has not only received significant support from NPCA, but also from its affiliate groups. Last year, 53 groups gave a combined $123,000 to Peace Corps Volunteers projects, of which nearly $15,000 were aimed exclusively at Let Girls Learn initiatives.

    To further support the cause, this week the White House released an eight-page fact sheet outlining the national security benefits of promoting adolescent girls’ education overseas, making the case for the need to maintain the program under the next administration. Secondly, the film We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World premiered October 12, 2016 on CNN. The movie focuses on a group of girls from Liberia and Morocco, ­­­­a number of which are connected to Peace Corps programs, overcoming incredible odds to achieve their educations.

    Keep the momentum to Let Girls Learn by donating to the program here.