U.S. Paves the Way for Let Girls Learn Initiative in Laos

Susan Markham, USAID’s Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment for the U.S. Agency for International Development, visited a school in Oudomxay Provinces during a week-long visit to Laos.

Susan Markham, Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), today wrapped up a five-day visit to Lao PDR during which she met Lao education officials and visited schools to pave the way for the expansion of the U.S. Government’s Let Girls Learn initiative to Laos, which President Obama announced during his visit last month.

Following a meeting with the Minister of Education and Sports, Sengdeuan Lachanthaboun, and senior education officials in Vientiane on Tuesday, Ms. Markham and her delegation traveled to Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces where she discussed education and learning needs with teachers, administrators, students and parents.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to engage with Lao officials, teachers, parents and students to learn more about education in this beautiful country,” Ms. Markham said. “Through the Let Girls Learn initiative, we can find new ways to collaborate and help ensure that adolescent girls and boys get the education they need to be successful.”

On Friday, Ms. Markham met representatives of the Lao Women’s Union, Lao National Commission for Mothers and Children, the Lao National Commission for the Advancement of Women Secretariat, and other donors and civil society groups focused on women and development to further understand the needs of girls and woman across Laos.

The U.S. Government’s Let Girls Learn initiative championed by First Lady Michelle Obama works to address the range of challenges preventing adolescent girls from attaining a quality education.  Unfortunately today, more than 62 million girls around the world are not in school—half of whom are adolescents. Let Girls Learn seeks to elevates existing programs and invests in new efforts to improve educational opportunities for girls worldwide.  As a newly designated Let Girls Learn focus country, Laos will receive assistance in expanding educational opportunities for girls, empowering girls to reach their full potential.