WASHINGTON, D.C. — Launched in March 2016, the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls enables girls to get the education and training they need to succeed. It is a comprehensive strategy utilizing the expertise and strengths of four agencies: the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Peace Corps and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Each of these agencies has its own plan to implement the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls.
The State Department’s strategy advocates for policy and legal reform to protect girls from violence, promote women’s rights and expand girls’ access to education, health and services. USAID focuses its efforts on a “whole-of-girl” approach to implement the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls.
The Peace Corps believes that the key to equitable development for girls is education and empowerment. Its goal in supporting the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls is to ensure that young women “are educated and thrive in an enabling environment to live healthy and productive lives.”
The Peace Corps will use the Let Girls Learn program to implement its strategy. The program provides support to adolescent girls in three ways: empowering local leaders, community-led interventions and increasing impact.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) recognizes that gender equality is critical to achieving economic growth and reducing poverty. The MCC’s plan to implement the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls focuses in part on the following objectives:
- Promote human rights and gender equality through country selection in a competitive process. Countries must achieve a passing score on indicators that impact the rights and opportunities for girls and women.
- Improve human capital and increase economic opportunity. Access to a quality education provides skills critical for economic empowerment.
- Reduce risks during infrastructure construction. MCC is committed to identifying and eliminating risks for post-resettlement human trafficking, gender-based violence and the acquisition of HIV/AIDS.
- Strengthen economic analysis and gender data collection, reporting and use. MCC plans to focus on the relationship between gender, social inequalities and economic growth.
Sadly, the progress made toward achieving the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls in the last year may be in danger as the Trump administration has proposed a 31 percent budget cut to the State Department and USAID, and hopes to cut U.S. contributions to the U.N. by 50 percent. It is in the best interest of the U.S. and the world to ensure that the rights of all adolescent girls are protected. The U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls must be funded so the work of these agencies can continue.
– Mary Barringer