Recent reports from various news sources point to one of the latest policy changes made on behalf of the Trump administration. The reports indicate that “Let Girls Learn,” a signature girls education program founded and lead by former first lady, Michelle Obama, is to be dismantled.
The decision to end “Let Girls Learn,” which began in 2015 as a “holistic approach” to change perceptions of the importance of education for young girls across the globe according to its website, has been met with much opposition and criticism from a variety of members involved with the initiative, as well as among public opinion.
“Moving forward, we will not continue to use the ‘Let Girls Learn’ brand or maintain a stand-alone program,” wrote Sheila Crowley, the agency’s acting director, in an email sent to Peace Corps employees.
According to a White House statement, there would be aspects of the initiative that would continue, despite international documents obtained by new sources hours earlier that advised administrative employees that the education initiative would not continue. Kelly Love, a White House spokeswoman told reporters, “There have been no changes to the program.”
However, according to internal sources, many of the administration’s employees received emails that indicated that the name “Let Girls Learn” and many of its advancements as a stand-alone program would end.
The White House refused to comment with regards to the future of “Let Girls Learn” and its status as a stand-alone program. The White House also did not directly speak about the memo. Representatives of first lady Melania Trump declined to comment.
The memo detailing the end of “Let Girls Learn” was released just hours after Sonny Perdue, the administration’s agricultural secretary, announced changes to healthy school lunch initiatives that were also implemented by the former first lady.
“The Peace Corps continues to prioritize girls’ education and empowerment programming,” said a spokesman at the Peace Corps and United States Agency for International Development, which ran the program. “Girls’ education and empowerment has been a hallmark of our work over the past 56 years and we look forward to continuing those efforts with our inter-agency partners. We remain dedicated to the passionate work of our volunteers and staff to empower and educate girls in their communities.”
According to a 2013 UNESCO Education for All monitoring report, investing in education for girls would mean an average of 12.2 million children in some of the world’s most impoverished developing nations would avoid stunted development and would be 50 percent more likely to surpass the age of five if they had a literate mother. The report also indicates that 64 percent fewer child marriages for girls between the ages of 12 and 15 would occur and 59 percent fewer girls would become pregnant before the age of 17.