Announcement by US First Lady Michelle Obama complements
ongoing DRC efforts to improve access to education

Kinshasa—June XX, 2015— The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today welcomed an announcement by US First Lady Michelle Obama that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) will provide up to $180 million over five years to advance girls’ education in conflict-affected areas of the DRC, including the North and South Kivu and Katanga provinces. This partnership aims to support adolescent girls not currently enrolled in school and provide pathways for accelerated learning that will expand social and economic opportunities—opening up new pathways to success for current and future generations.

Announcing this initiative during a visit to London, First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted the shared commitment by the United States and United Kingdom to advancing adolescent girls’ education worldwide, and the efforts of the new “Let Girls Learn” program launched by President Obama and the First Lady in March 2015.

“The government applauds USAID and DFID on this important investment aimed at improving the lives of thousands of adolescent girls who currently face barriers to education. We know that when girls are not in school, they are more vulnerable to disease and violence, and this is a critical step toward changing the futures of many,” said Minister of Communications Lambert Mende. “The DRC government welcomes the leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama through the ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative, and looks forward to working with our development partners to ensure that adolescent girls and boys have the opportunity to attend and stay in school.”

The U.S.-led ‘Let Girls Learn’ program in the DRC consists of a number of activities to promote education, from encouraging enrollment and improving the quality of curriculum to mobilizing communities around supporting girls’ retention in schools.

The First Lady’s announcement is the latest example of the DRC’s work with international partners to improve access to education throughout the country. Earlier this year Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Partnership for Education, visited the DRC to assess the impact of a $100 million education sector grant her organization has provided for the period 2013 through 2016. Citing the commitment of senior government leaders to keeping education a priority – in part by nearly doubling the percentage of the federal budget allocated to education since 2010 – Albright noted that, “the Ministry of Education has led the work to prepare a new 10-year education sector plan, and with support from partners, it is now turning this strategy into a medium-term action plan.” The Global Partnership for Education has allocated up to $100 million in additional funding through 2018 to support these efforts.