Let Girls Learn

The U.S. Department of Labor supports programs that reduce the prevalence of the worst forms of child labor among adolescent girls around the world, providing vulnerable girls with educational opportunities, skills training and the knowledge needed to become empowered members in their communities.

Let Girls learn logo


By encouraging countries to invest in their children through education and in youth through vocational training, ILAB programming helps reduce child labor and assists families-in-need to break the cycle of poverty and contribute towards national and global growth. Supporting girls is vital to this strategy. Across the world, 98 million adolescent girls are not enrolled in school. 68 million are engaged in the worst forms of child labor, including in hidden forms of work, such as domestic service, that puts them at greater risk and can deny them any chance for an education.

In 2016, the US Department of Labor joined the Let Girls Learn initiative. As the world's leading funder of projects to combat child labor worldwide, ILAB is now building on more than two decades of efforts with programming that helps adolescent girls attain a quality education and empowers them to reach their full potential.


Infographic showing $21 million in funding helping more than 10000 girls ages 11-19 to access opportunities to grow and thrive


Region/Country: Africa / Zambia
Funding Amount: USD 5,000,000
Grantee: Winrock International
Dates of Service: October 2016 - October 2020

The EMPOWER project will provide direct assistance to 2,500 adolescent girls, aged 15-17, engaged in or at high risk of entering child labor and to 1,500 women (including 18-19 year olds) in households with children vulnerable to child labor. This project will help adolescent girls increase their access to technical, vocational, entrepreneurial and life skills training, including classes on financial and functional literacy. Women living with children in poor households will be able to gain access to informal education and training services and village savings and loan programs to help them increase their incomes. Adolescent girls and women will have access to peer support and business and social networks with the goal of helping improve their prospects for securing acceptable work. At the same time, the project will work with the government of Zambia and local businesses to promote greater access to acceptable work for adolescent girls and women. And through outreach to traditional community leaders, teachers, men and boys, the project will seek to raise awareness of child labor and gender-equality issues within communities as part of an effort to inspire change from within.


Paraguay Okakuaa ("Paraguay Progresses")

Region/Country: Latin America / Paraguay
Funding Amount: USD 6,000,000
Grantee: Partners of the Americas
Dates of Service: November 2015 - November 2019

The Paraguay Okakuaa ("Paraguay Progresses" in Guaraní) project includes a focus on providing opportunities for approximately 170 girls (ages 11-13) and over 1,000 adolescent girls (ages 14-17) to develop their skills to become future leaders and innovators. These girls will “learn by doing,” gain leadership skills, and build their confidence, skills and capabilities to identify, plan and realize their personal and career goals. The project will deepen their understanding of gender norms, roles and power dynamics and create safe spaces for supportive networks where girls can connect with successful women in their communities as mentors. Young women will also have opportunities to gain skills in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and vocational training.

Engaged, Educated, Empowered Ethiopian Youth (E4Y)

Region/Country: Sub-Saharan Africa / Ethiopia
Funding Amount: USD 10,000,000
Grantee: World Vision in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and the Center for Creative Leadership
Dates of Service: December 2014 - December 2018

The E4Y project seeks to address exploitative child labor among youth aged 14 to 17, with a focus on adolescent girls, by offering them education, training and support to pursue leadership and decent work opportunities. As of October 2016, the project has provided services to over 5,200 girls engaged in or at-risk of entering child labor and aims to reach a thousand more within the next two years. The project's focus includes promoting adolescent girls' access to and retention in formal education. In addition, it seeks to help girls increase their marketable skills through vocational training as well as build their leadership and basic life skills as part of an approach aimed at empowering girls to become more self-aware and active participants in their communities. By raising awareness of the key barriers to girls' education, the project seeks to inspire change within communities as they tackle issues like the value families place on girls' education, inequities surrounding the assignment of domestic duties to girls, child marriage and gender stereotypes.