Ask: Department of State and USAID, release a congressional report on the Girls Count Act!

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Dear Adminstrator Green and Secretary Pompeo, 

Safe spaces are critical for girls to thrive. One of the first steps to ensuring girls have access to safe spaces is being registered at birth. Even though most countries do have birth registration laws, approximately 25 percent of children under five has never been officially registered, according to UNICEF. That equates to 475 million children living around the world today. When a girl is denied a birth certificate, she is invisible to her government. A lack of documentation can prevent a girl from going to school, getting a job later in life, and accessing health and social services. A lack of formal education often relegates girls to work in the informal sector, which can be an unsafe environment both physically and psychologically.

In June 2015, the Girls Count Act was approved unanimously by Congress and subsequently signed into law by former President Barack Obama. The bill authorizes the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to coordinate their efforts with multilateral organizations, private sector and civil society organizations to provide assistance to support the counting of girls in developing countries to help increase property rights, social security, home ownership, land tenure security, inheritance rights, access to education, and economic and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Though this law has been passed by Congress, we will not know the impact of the bill until a report has been released by the Department of State or USAID. Sec. 5 of the Girls Count Act sets forth the following requirement:

“The Secretary and the Administrator shall include in relevant evaluations and reports to Congress the following information:                       
(1) To the extent practicable, a breakdown of United States foreign assistance beneficiaries by age, gender, marital status, location, and school enrollment status.               
(2) A description, as appropriate, of how United States foreign assistance benefits girls.       
(3) Specific information, as appropriate, on programs that address the particular needs of girls.”

If this report is not published, it will be difficult to ensure the Act is being properly implemented and that girls across the world are receiving the documentation they need to be fully-functioning members of society.

If you agree that the Department of State and USAID should release a report to Congress on the impact of the Girls Count Act, please sign this petition and share it with everyone you know. The longer this report is delayed, the longer women and girls will be unable to benefit from formal economic, legal, and political sectors in their countries--a benefit that comes with being registered at birth.

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