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The Peace Corps Announces 23 New Let Girls Learn Countries Ahead of the Initiative’s First Anniversary

Agency more than doubles the number of participating countries, increasing access to educational opportunities for thousands of girls worldwide

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 2, 2016 – Ahead of the first anniversary of Let Girls Learn, the Peace Corps today announced the addition of 23 new Let Girls Learn countries, more than doubling the number of participating countries and expanding the initiative’s reach to thousands of Peace Corps volunteers and girls around the world. Launched by the President and First Lady on March 3, 2015, Let Girls Learn is a U.S. government effort that aims to address the range of challenges preventing 62 million adolescent girls from attending and completing school, and from realizing their potential as adults.

"In just one year, we've doubled the number of Peace Corps countries participating in Let Girls Learn, ensuring that even more girls around the world will have the resources and opportunities they need to succeed," First Lady Michelle Obama said. "I am so inspired by how many Peace Corps volunteers are committed to Let Girls Learn. Their efforts exemplify our resolve to help girls everywhere get the education they need and deserve."

Throughout the initiative’s second year of operation, Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn program will focus on knowledge and skills-building as the major vehicle for behavior change. The agency will hold five regional Let Girls Learn Summits in 2016—three in Africa, one in Asia and one in Latin America. Through these summits and increased training, the agency anticipates more than 1,500 volunteers participating in this cascading training model, reaching over 30,000 girls and local community leaders. 

“We are so grateful to everyone who has rallied behind Let Girls Learn in its first year—from partners across the U.S. government, to the private sector, to everyday Americans,” Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. “With this level of momentum behind us, we are thrilled to mark the initiative’s first anniversary by welcoming 23 new Peace Corps Let Girls Learn countries and in turn training thousands of volunteers to become agents of change for girls in their communities.”

Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, with the help of corporate partners and individual donors from all over the U.S., Peace Corps has funded more than 100 Let Girls Learn projects in 21 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. In addition, more than 800 Peace Corps volunteers have already received training to become catalysts for community-led change to improve girls’ access to education and empowerment.

Volunteers like Lisa Ines of North Hills, California, empower girls in their communities by working on projects that encourage strong friendships, leadership skills and critical thinking. Ines recently organized a Let Girls Learn-funded Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) Camp in Ghana.

“I feel Camp GLOW fits into the initiative of Let Girls Learn because it’s giving the girls a platform to feel that, ‘I am of value, just like a boy. I’m able to learn things just like a boy. I’m able to have opportunities, and to have different aspirations. I could be a doctor. I could be a lawyer. I can be happy with how I look. I’m just as smart and as capable as a boy,’ and I feel Camp GLOW gives that to the girls,” Ines said. “By encouraging them, it will push them, hopefully, to continue their education from junior high school to senior high school and beyond.”

Volunteers serving in Let Girls Learn countries receive additional training and support to empower girls in their communities and are able to apply for funding for grassroots, community-led projects that increase girls’ access to educational opportunities. Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn countries now include: Albania, Armenia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, The Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Jamaica, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Vanuatu and Zambia.

To support Peace Corps volunteers’ Let Girls Learn projects, visit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund. One hundred percent of donations to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund directly support volunteer projects and complement the resources that local communities contribute towards these projects.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to address the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work with their community members at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions to challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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