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The READ Act has been signed into law!

Thanks to the diligent work of dedicated ONE members, we’re one step closer to helping 263 million children—including more than 130 million girls—around the world gain access to education!

The READ Act — also known as HR 601, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act of 2017 — has been signed into law. As anyone who has followed the bill’s progress knows, getting to this point was no small feat!

Throughout 2017, ONE members worked hard to engage with their senators and urge them to pass the bill. On February 28, more than 200 volunteers from around the U.S. took to Capitol Hill to make in-person visits to the offices of their elected officials. On March 8, International Women’s Day, 157 ONE members in the U.S. handed their officials a petition in support of girls’ education, signed by more than 360,000 people around the world! And in August, more than 1,600 people thanked their senators for unanimously passing the bill. That’s how advocacy is done!

Students at Nyange Secondary School, Kilombero Region, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Sam Vox/ONE)

What is the READ Act?
The Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act was introduced in the 115th Congress by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA). The bill aims to provide access to education for some of the 263 million children and adolescents who are currently not in school, or who do not have access to education because of conflict or political instability. It would set a truly admirable goal of reaching universal basic education, and at the same time, aim to improve the quality of that education.

How would it do that? Specifically, the READ Act would require:

  • Developing a comprehensive, integrated U.S. strategy that improves educational opportunities and addresses key barriers to school attendance, retention and completion, especially for girls
  • Promoting education services for children affected by conflict and other emergencies
  • Partnering with affected countries to strengthen their education systems to help build capacity and promote long-term sustainability
  • Engaging with key partners—including other donors, civil society and multilateral education initiatives—to leverage U.S. contributions to achieve a greater overall impact
  • The creation of a “Senior Coordinator” position at USAID who will be responsible for the development, implementation, and coordination of U.S. basic education programs
  • Requiring specific indicators and objectives with which to measure progress
  • Improving the transparency and accountability of our basic education programs, ensuring taxpayers have the most impact for children worldwide
  • An annual report to Congress which provides comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of U.S. government programs, reporting on partner country activities and progress towards achieving benchmarks and goals under the act

This is GREAT! Making sure every child has access to the education they deserve is a key tool to help alleviate extreme poverty. Thanks for all you did to help this bill become law!

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