On May first a memo was released stating that the Trump Administration is set to discontinue the “Let Girls Learn” program, originally launched by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The program was created to let young girls have access to a good education in underdeveloped countries. According to an email sent by Sheila Crowley, the Acting Director of the Peace Corps, the administration “will not continue to use the 'Let Girls Learn' brand or maintain a stand-alone program.”
Almost immediately after the Cable News Network (CNN) released this information, the White House disclosed a statement refuting these claims. White House spokeswoman Kelly Love said, “There have been no changes to the program,” but refused to comment on the previous information spread. The Trump Administration did not address why the original email had been sent, nor if the program would continue as a stand-alone organization. But what does all this mean?
In order to understand, one first has to realize what a stand-alone business really is. When an organization “stands alone,” it is not receiving financial support from any other companies or people. This means that “Let Girls Learn” is currently being funded by donations and government dollars.With that being said, one can only assume that the Trump Administration wants to stop paying for it themselves. By transitioning from a stand-alone company, the program will be less expensive for the government. However, it will also change the way it is run. While it is still unclear who the new investors will be, it is safe to say the reason why the Trump Administration wants to discontinue the branding of the program is because of the new financial supporters. “Let Girls Learn” already has such a large following, with volunteers across the globe donating their time and money. Abandoning the current brand of the company could be detrimental to its [progressive] success if it is not done properly.
To recap, the Trump Administration is not defunding the “Let Girls Learn” program, but rather dividing the expenses among new investors. Technically, there are no current changes being made to the actual program, but there are changes being made to the branding and the team behind it. But are the changes really worth it?
In a situation like this, it is hard to say what right or wrong. On one side, changing the program seems useless. According to Tina Tchen, President Obama’s chief of staff, the program had “several years worth of money already set aside for it to continue to thrive without additional funds.” The Obama administration hoped that this would allow the program to live through the new election, but that obviously is not the case. With this information in mind, the changes to “Let Girls Learn” seem pointless. If it is not costing the government more money, why change it? On the other hand, the changes do not seem to be making any significant differences to the program’s goals. It is still an organization that helps girls get the best education possible. The only thing that might make a difference is the team behind it.
Michelle Obama was the original founder of “Let Girls Learn,” and she put a lot of effort into the brand and team involved. Now that the Obama Administration has left office, it is First Lady Melania Trump’s responsibility to continue the legacy of the program. She has yet to comment on the changes being made, but has mentioned that the education of young girls is a priority to her.
Overall, the memo released on May 1 regarding the “Let Girls Learn” program caused a lot of misunderstandings and confusion. To put it briefly, the Trump Administration is not defunding the program. While revisions to the company and brand are being made, there are no current plans to discontinue the program. With that being said, these changes are still something to keep an eye on.