The Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act was signed into law yesterday. The Act seeks to provide quality primary and secondary education for children, especially girls in displaced areas. The bill authorizes the State Department and USAID to support efforts with other multilateral and civil society organizations in providing access to education.
The Act, first introduced in 2017, makes it critical to prioritize girls education to prevent and stop the cycle of violence that displaced girls and women face. Girls’ education would also become a priority for assessing foreign aid, prioritizing the involvement of women and girls in the design and implementation of aid projects. The Act also allows the State Department and USAID to work with other countries that host refugees to build the capacity of their institutions in preventing educational discrimination in accessing education.
It is a major step towards ensuring girls’ access to education in vulnerable areas. Refugee children frequently do not have access to education and girls are especially vulnerable in those settings. They are forced into early marriages, human trafficking, and violence. The lack of education in these areas also generates a generation fraught with illiteracy, affecting communities in the long term. In areas where displaced children do have access to education, the classrooms are overcrowded and lack learning materials.
Media Resources: Girl Up 1/15/19; Congress.gov 1/15/19