FACT SHEET: The United States And Pakistan – Announcing New Partnership To Advance Girls Education
The two countries announce a new partnership to increase girls’ enrollment in school, as Pakistan pledges to double funding for education.
In March 2015, the United States launched a new, expanded effort to help adolescent girls worldwide attend school and complete their education through Let Girls Learn, an initiative announced by the President and First Lady. This effort builds upon investments made by the international community—including the United States—and successes that have been achieved in global primary school education.
As part of Let Girls Learn, the President and First Lady have called upon world leaders to collaborate with the United States and to renew their efforts to advance adolescent girls education, in order to provide the more than 62 million girls around the world who are out of school with the education they deserve.
Today, the United Strates and Pakistan pledged a new partnership to further adolescent girls’ education in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan, as announced by Prime Minister Sharif in Oslo in July, will double spending for education in Pakistan, from two to four percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2018 and increase girls’ enrollment in school. This will support improving girls’ access to education. The government will also increase the provision of female teachers and necessary physical factors such as boundary walls and adequate toilets in girls’ schools. In addition, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is committing $70 million and will work jointly with the Government of Pakistan and other partners to help educate and empower more than 200,000 additional adolescent girls across Pakistan by:
- Bridging the Schooling Gap in Conflict and Disaster-Affected Areas through the construction and rehabilitation of schools, and by providing access to basic education for adolescent girls in internally displaced or conflict-affected communities.
- Improving the Teaching and Learning Environment through improved reading instruction and materials and community mobilization to create a culture of reading.
- Engaging Civil Society and Communities through small grants for innovative activities to address barriers, improve equitable access to quality education, and build local capacity to improve adolescent girls’ education and empowerment.
- Building Skills for School and Beyond by providing training, scholarships, and internships for adolescent girls that create paths to higher education, entrepreneurship, and employment.
- Providing Scholarships for girls to attend a year of high school in the United States and live with a host family.
- Build a Foundation of English Language Skills for underrepresented 13- to 18-year-olds through two-year programs of after-school classes and intensive immersion activities.
- Create Economic Opportunities through skill building and training, securing income and employment for girls, and expanding the skilled labor force with public and private partners.
- Champion the Cause of Adolescent Girls’ Education and Affect Social Change by promoting public-private partnerships with public and civil society leaders in Pakistan.
- Expand Education and Career Options by bringing underprivileged Pakistani high school girls to top U.S. universities to explore a wide range of professions.
Investing in girls’ education will help the many adolescent girls in Pakistan who still face barriers to education from an early age due to poverty, cultural norms, violence, insecurity, and geographic isolation. Girls are less likely to enter primary schools than boys, and face barriers to accessing and completing their education through each stage of the education system. Empowering girls and ensuring them access to quality education has long-term, transformational benefits for their future, for their families and communities, and for Pakistan’s economic prosperity overall. We count on Pakistan’s commitment to achieve the education targets laid out in the global Sustainable Development Goals and Education for All-Framework for Action.
This partnership is in addition to other country commitments made with the U.S. this year. In early October, the U.S. and South Korea highlighted their countries’ commitments toward adolescent girls’ education. Together, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)/World Friends Korea (WFK) and the U.S. Peace Corps are closely collaborating to support the Let Girls Learn initiative. KOICA/WFK plans to launch “Better Life for Girls” in 2016 to support Let Girls Learn efforts and provide quality education to adolescent girls and strengthen health services for them in 15 developing countries. This collaboration is supported through President Park’s UNGA announcement of $200 million in aid to developing countries as part of Korea’s efforts to boost contributions to sustainable development, specifically health care and education services, including girls.
In June, the First Lady visited the United Kingdom where both countries launched together a nearly $200 million partnership over the next five years to continue their collective support for adolescent girls’ education. The U.S. and the U.K. are particularly focused in countries affected by conflict and crisis, such as Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Both countries have also committed to building an evidence base around adolescent girls education programming. The University of Cambridge’s REAL Centre (The Research for Equitable Access and Learning Centre); Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security; USAID; DFID; and Camfed (Campaign for Female Education) will together explore and assess the development of joint initiatives, with a focus on marginalized girls and adolescents.
The First Lady also visited Japan in March, the largest aid donor in all of Asia. Together, the two countries also pledged a new partnership to further adolescent girls’ education. Japan committed Official Development Assistance (ODA) nearly $350M over the next three years for girls’ empowerment and gender-sensitive education. The U.S. Peace Corps and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which directs Japan’s Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOVC) will formalize cooperation through a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies. With counterpart governments around the world, the U.S. and Japan will increase focus on girls’ education in respective bilateral assistance programs.