Organisation: One Girl
Project: Girls Beyond the Classroom
Location: Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone
Requested Amount: $19,960 from a total project cost of $31,122
This grant will be used to provide sanitary products, fund field officer salaries and contribute to monthly savings funds for project participants.
Overview: The project aims to support 137 girls to excel at secondary school by providing support through monthly education and leadership meetings, the supply of sanitary products and a monthly savings fund.
Who is the organisation and what is their mission?
One Girl was established in Australia and Sierra Leone in 2009. The organisation’s key objectives are:
- To do things differently — redefine and leverage the way that everyone can contribute to girls’ education;
- Ensure girls’ voices are heard — Empower women and girls by amplifying their voices;
- Encourage people to be part of a community passionate about the common goal of educating girls; and
- To benefit others — collaborate to create surprising and impactful initiatives.
What is the project that the 100 Women grant will support?
One Girl’s priority is to ensure that when schools reopen in Sierra Leone in 2021, girls have the support, knowledge and resources to return safely to school and re-engage with their education. One Girl seeks to provide both wellbeing and physical support to mitigate the unique challenges many girls face.
From January to June 2021, the project will provide 137 girls in secondary school in the Tonkolili district of Sierra Leone with the following:
- Monthly mentorship meetings (i.e. mental wellbeing and health management and topical life skills);
- Sanitary pads; and
- Access to a monthly savings fund to purchase essential items like food and soap.
Who is the project for? Who else will benefit?
The project aims to benefit 137 girls across nine secondary schools.
Why is the project needed?
When the Ebola epidemic swept through Sierra Leone, schools closed for almost two years. These closures were subsequently linked to an increase in school dropout rates and, according to the United Nations Development Programme, an increase in teen pregnancies by up to 65 per cent. A large increase in early marriage, maternal and infant mortality, and deaths from preventable disease was also recorded.
It is anticipated that schools in Sierra Leone will be closed for the remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19. The aim of this project is to ensure that when schools reopen in 2021, girls have the support, knowledge and resources to return safely to school, re-engage with their education and succeed in and beyond the classroom. The project aims to provide both wellbeing and physical support to mitigate the unique challenges faced by girls in Sierra Leone.
Why is the solution the best answer to the identified need or opportunity?
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to disproportionately affect young women and girls. This is especially so in places like Sierra Leone, where access to education, healthcare and resources are already scarce.
Based on learnings from the Ebola response and One Girl’s experience in education-based approaches, this project will provide girls with comprehensive wellbeing and life skills needed to return to school post-crisis.
What impact is planned to occur as a result of the project?
The anticipated impacts of the project include:
- Over 90 per cent graduation rate (compared to a national average of 16 per cent);
- Reduced barriers to education, including rejection of traditional practices such as early marriage in favour of pursuing education and a prosperous career;
- Arming girls with the tools and confidence to know that what they have to say matters; and
- Changed community perception of girls’ education (e.g. community hosted study groups for girls, active interest in girls’ educational progress and pooling of community funds to pay for more girls to stay in school).
Are there any notable partners or collaborators?
One Girl works with four partner groups in the delivery of this program:
- 13 women’s’ committees that lead and champion young women’s’ rights and advocate for education and leadership opportunities.
- Eight education committees that oversee program implementation in communities.
- 27 partner schools that students attend to improve gender responsive and child-centred pedagogy.
- Work with the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, to ensure the project priorities align with the national curriculum.