Alicia Keys, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner and Susan Sarandon are among the stars who have thrown their support behind a new U.S. government initiative to provide education to girls worldwide.

Actor/director Tyler Perry, entertainer Nick Cannon, and Modern Family star Julie Bowen have also added their voices to the Let Girls Learn campaign, which aims to stress the importance of educating females around the globe.

The new initiative was launched on Friday (20Jun14) by officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development, who have pledged $231 million (£144 million) to the cause to fund safe learning opportunities for girls in Jordan, Guatemala, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Nigeria.

Celebrities were moved to join the Let Girls Learn campaign after more than 250 teenage girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in Nigeria by members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. The April (14) abduction took place two years after fellow Islamic extremists in the Taliban attempted to assassinate Pakistani student Malala Yousafzai as she made her way to school.

In the two-minute public service announcement (Psa) for Let Girls Learn, Bowen says, "A threat to girls' education anywhere is a threat to progress everywhere."

And Keys adds in a statement, "All around the world, people want to change the injustices but often times don't know exactly what they can do about it. I really wanted to participate in this (video) because empowering women changes the course of our world."