Let Girls Learn
First Lady Michelle Obama, in concert with the State Department, USAID, and the Peace Corps, has formed a powerful collaboration, Let Girls Learn (LGL), to expand access to education for adolescent girls around the world. The program aims to improve opportunities for the 62 million girls around the world who are not able to remain in school each year. The goal is to implement community-based projects, funded with donations from non-Federal entities, and was announced with fanfare by Michelle, President Barack Obama, and Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet.
Water Charity is proud to be intimately involved in this program, not only doing the very first LGL project, but committing to do hundreds more. We are raising money specifically for these projects, thus enabling the government agencies to direct the funds they are able to raise towards other projects, and have the entire program go further, and reach more people. We already have dozens of these projects underway, and many more coming through every day! This promises to be a hugely impactful program.
Water Charity's take on the LGL theme involves building bathrooms and bringing running water to schools that often have neither, as well as other water system projects that save girls from having to fetch water, and eliminate school days lost to waterborne illness. With all the other pressures that might serve to keep girls from going to, or staying in school, we feel the last thing should be lack of access to sanitation and proper hygiene. In many parts of the world, young girls drop out of school when they get their menses. Aside from pressure to start families at this age, the lack of clean bathrooms, proper toilets with doors, and running water are major factors in the high drop out rate. Some girls simply miss school for their entire period every month... many never return.
The program was announced to target Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Ghana, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Togo and Uganda, with Thailand, The Gambia, and Ethiopia under consideration. All of these countries are now involved in LGL projects, and later this year, the program will expand to include all of the countries where Peace Corps operates. We here at Water Charity will be funding PCV led projects in as many of these places as we can, and have already hit the ground running.
Through our partnership with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), Water Charity has committed to the implementation of projects to build and improve 100 bathrooms, and install water systems, at schools in Albania, as well as another 100 such projects worldwide in the designated LGL countries. We are already on pace to supersede those figures.
In addition, we will continue to enable similar PCV projects in other countries, and implement RPCV projects that are in the spirit of and in support of the LGL mission. These projects that are in the spirit of LGL, but not officially part of the program, we designate LGL+. By clicking that link you can see those projects, while the full Let Girls Learn tag is applied to projects within the program, and can be perused seperately. Both types will fall under this Water Charity Let Girls Learn Initiative, and can be followed from this page. Projects with an arrow next to them have been completed and have conclusion pages up already. Those with circles next to them are still underway.
Access to a clean and safe bathroom is crucial for all children, but is especially important for young girls as they reach adolescence. NPCA and Water Charity helped develop, and provided the funding for, the first LGL project, the Svey Leu High School Latrine Project - Cambodia. That project, which has been completed, exemplifies the need for dedicated bathroom facilities and water systems that provide hygienic and sanitary conditions as well as privacy, safety, and dignity.
Male or female, no student should have to defecate in the open, or attend a school without proper bathrooms and running water. While our focus here is on the needs of the girls, all of our projects also include comparable facilities for the boys, teachers and parents as well.
We hope you will support us in this effort. Donations can be made on the individual project and program pages. (Links to them are below) Our programs are collections of projects in their own right, as typified by our 100 Water Projects Program - Albania which, alone, will have 100 projects under it.
Donation to our projects go towards recouping the funds we have spent already on that project, as WC pre-funds all of our projects out of pocket and allows people to adopt them, in whole or in part, after they are already begun. The efficiency and agility of this methodology should be obvious, and, in this way, we never ask people to donate to projects that aren't already a reality--as is common in most philanthropy--but to support ongoing, proven, and even successfully completed projects with the knowledge that time is of the essence where water is concerned.
HERE the FLOTUS acknowledges our commitment to LGL. We thank her and her staff for the full paragraph about us on the .gov website (the 5th new announcement)! And HERE, the Washington Post reports on it (end of 3rd paragraph).
This program is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.