Michelle Obama urges education for Morocco's girls

Michelle Obama urges education for Morocco's girls
2 min read
28 June, 2016
The US First Lady met with young women in Morocco on Tuesday as part of a tour to promote a US-funded programme encouraging education for girls.
The First Lady met with young girls on a two-day visit to Morocco [Getty]
The US First Lady Michelle Obama landed in Morocco as part of a tour to promote education for girls in the region.

Obama was joined by her two daughters, Sasha and Malia for the Let Girls Learn event in Morocco on Tuesday, where only 36 percent of girls continue school beyond the primary level.

Actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto, both advocates for girls' education also attended. The two actresses held talks with adolescent girls to review obstacles to their access to full time education in the region.

Morocco holds a 67 percent literacy rate and ranks poorly among its neighbours in the region, according to UNICEF's latest figures.

While the female literacy rate stands at 74 percent, young Moroccan men boast a 88.8 percent rate.

The delegation landed in the North African kingdom after visiting girls in Liberia where the Harvard-trained lawyer spoke of the value of women's leadership and access to education. She urged young girls to "keep fighting and stay in school."

"You are going to be leaders tomorrow; you are going to be mothers; you are educating yourselves to achieve that. That is why I am proud of you," she said to the assembled group.

You are going to be leaders tomorrow; you are going to be mothers; you are educating yourselves to achieve that. That is why I am proud of you
- Michelle Obama
Actress Meryl Streep, an advocate for girls' education also attended [Getty]

The visit comes as a newly published UNICEF report said more efforts should be directed towards the world’s poorest children to further progress 25 years’ worth of achievements in health and education.

Sharper focus on the most vulnerable would help the children’s agency reach its new global goals for sustainable development, the annual State of the World's Children report maintained.

Progress so far "has mainly been made by focusing a lot on children that are easier to reach, or on interventions on health and nutrition with a high impact," said Justin Forsyth, UNICEF's deputy executive director.

"What we are finding now is that if we do not focus on the most disadvantaged we won't accelerate this progress," he added.

Millions of dollars are expected to be pumped into the Let Girls Learn Initiative's projects, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced, citing figures that show 62 million girls around the world, half of them adolescents, are not in school.