First Lady Michelle Obama will begin a new international campaign dedicated to assisting young girls around the world in receiving an education and providing better economic opportunities.
The program, titled ‘Let Girls Learn’, will focus efforts in 11 countries: Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo and Uganda. If the program is a success and can receive the funding it needs to continue, then other countries will be added to the list in the future.
The First Lady wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal with more details on the campaign.
“These new investments – along with previous investments by countries like the United Kingdom – reflect a growing global consensus that when 62 million girls world-wide are not in school, that is not only a tragic waste of human potential. It is also a serious public-health challenge, a drag on national economies and global prosperity, and a threat to the security of countries around the world, including our own,” Mrs. Obama wrote.
Assisting Obama will be the wife of Japan’s Prime Minister, Akie Abe, and the United States Peace Corps. Currently, the U.S. Peace Corps has “thousands” of volunteers working in over 60 nations across the globe.
The First Lady will begin promoting her campaign in Japan from March 18-20 and then in Cambodia from March 21-22. Cambodia’s leaders may not be as welcoming as other nations; Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held the position since 1985, is known for his “ruthlessness.”
In order for the project to begin, Congress needs to vote on partially funding the campaign. While the White House has stated resources will be reallocated from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Peace Corps, there will still need to be a vote by members of Congress. The project will cost approximately $250 million.
Mrs. Obama’s first major initiative, the Let’s Move! campaign, received much criticism from both political parties and was considered unsuccessful by many, due to the poor choices for school lunches and lack of exercise students were receiving in school.
You can read the First Lady’s op-ed in its entirety below, at the Wall Street Journal link.
Photo Credit: Ernest Adams/ Flickr, international.ucla.edu