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House Passes the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act

Frankel provision encourages scholarship recipients to pay it forward

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Washington, DC, November 20, 2014 | comments

The House passed the bipartisan Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act yesterday to expand scholarship opportunities for students in Pakistan. The legislation included a provision sponsored by Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22) encouraging scholarship recipients to commit to improving their local communities.

“By educating young women, we advance democracy in countries threatened by extremism,” Frankel said.

The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act authorizes continued funding over the next three years for USAID’s Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program, which awards scholarships for university study to academically talented, financially needy Pakistani students. It also directs USAID to ensure that 50 percent of the scholarships are awarded to women.

In Pakistan, literacy rates are dangerously low and contribute to insecurity and economic instability. Sixty percent of Pakistani women, and 30 percent of Pakistani men, cannot read and write. Expanding access to education, particularly for women, helps strengthen families, grow economies, and allow communities to better combat threats from local terrorist groups. USAID’s scholarship program does just this, empowering Pakistanis to combat extremist ideologies like that of the Taliban.

The legislation is named after Malala Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Pakistani girl who has been an outspoken advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan.  She was shot in the head on her way home from school by the Taliban in an attempt to silence her increasingly influential voice. In October,Malala was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest recipient in history. 

Last year, Congresswoman Frankel led 50 of her bipartisan colleagues in sending a letter to Malala lauding her dedication to increasing access to education for women and girls across the globe. For the full text of the letter to Malala click here.




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