Online Project Showcase

Tackling the Barriers to Education for Girls in Sierra Leone

  • Organisation:

    One Girl

  • ABN or Auspicing Organisation:

    81 139 793 623

  • Scope of Activity:


  • Geographic Location:

    Sierra Leone

  • Target Groups:

    Rural / Regional


Funding Information

  • Total Funding Required (AUD):

    100,000 (annually)

  • Current Funding (AUD):


  • Funding Needed (AUD):

    100,000 (annually)

  • Tax Deductability Status (DGR):


  • Tax Concession Status (TCC):


  • DGR Additional Information:


  • Other Funding Partners:


Project Information

  • Project Commencement Date:
  • 01 Aug 2010
  • Project Completion Date:
  • What issues are addressed?:
  • With 44% of girls in Sierra Leone married before they turn 18, girls are also at risk of teen pregnancy, sexual assault, or prostitution as a means to gain food and financial security. Girls in Sierra Leone are also facing economic barriers to securing access to education with more than 70% of people nationally earning less than $2 a day. In these circumstances, girls and their families struggle to meet the costs of rent and food; and education is often considered an extravagant expense for a girl. Even where a family in Sierra Leone can afford to send a child to school, it is often the boy who is sent due to deeply embedded patriarchal structures. Towards igniting lasting change in the lives of girls, One Girl’s Scholarship program brings communities together to support girls’ education and provides girls with dedicated support and access to resources to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Project Description:
  • Funding support is sought to strengthen and expand the impact of One Girl’s existing Scholarship program through the following elements:

    -Community-led education: designed to break down the local patriarchal norms and gender structures that make it difficult for girls to attend school.

    -Women’s and education committees: provide a support network that ensures girls are safeguarded against violence and have mentorship to flourish in and out of school.

    -Capacity building of school focal teachers: through providing training such as child safeguarding and gender responsive pedagogy to strengthen their role as girls' rights advocates and role models in schools.

    -Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM): provides access to sanitary supplies and education, thus reducing the incidence of absenteeism due to unhygienic menstrual management practices and discriminatory cultural norms.

    -Business Brains program: to empower girls with business and life skills to achieve economic self-determination.
  • Alleviating suffering / disadvantage?:
  • Currently, the Scholarship program supports secondary school-aged girls across Sierra Leone who have experienced abuse, are living in extreme circumstances such as poverty, have been orphaned or lost one of their parents, and/or have prematurely left school due to circumstances outside of their control. These determinants of disadvantage often have a long-lasting impact on life chances and outcomes. By taking the Scholarship program beyond simply providing schooling into the realm of a holistic response that develops community, skills and cultural change; the girls will be empowered to overcome poverty and other disadvantageous barriers, towards vastly improved life outcomes.
  • Changing Policy, Practices & Systems?:
  • Sierra Leone is one of the most challenging places in the world to be born a girl. The embedded patriarchal structures must be proactively challenged and modified towards achieving a society that recognises and encourages the value girls and women offer as leaders and independent economic actors. This is something that must happen not through outside intervention, but through community and girl-led cultural change. Through introducing the proposed additions that complement and support traditional education pathways in a way which emphasises the input, inclusion, education and support of the surrounding community; scholarship participants will be empowered to build upon their leadership capacities, life and vocational skills and develop community networks – all essential elements which empower heightened girl-led change.
  • Investing in or empowering women?:
  • The influencing perspectives of women in development and ultimately the attainment of gender equality is of utmost significance in the development and delivery of all One Girl initiatives. School-aged girls and recent graduates play a key role in designing, implementing and evaluating the Scholarship program with a recent example being the strong engagement of female program participants in the design and execution of our Scholarship program evaluation, including using photography to capture their own perceptions.

    One Girl’s strong relationships with young women and girls inside and outside of programs also allow us to assist girls in driving the change they seek in their communities. By including boys and men in our programs, all female program participants also play an active role in reshaping patriarchal behaviours and structures; towards a culture where all girls can thrive.
  • Media / Promotion?:
  • As the Scholarship program is interwoven with our Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), MHM and Business Brains programs, there is advocacy that occurs through radio programs, production of billboards, and girls' participation in community legal structures such as presenting to community elders and creating by-laws on issues that are important to them. All of these activities are girl-led and designed - we simply provide a platform and the girls are able to use this to speak out about the issues that they identify as topical and important.

    One Girl operates a highly effective fundraising campaign – Do It In A Dress – where participants wear a school dress to do their everyday activities and/or a challenge. In drawing the attention of those around them and sharing why they are wearing the dress, participants are activating and promoting awareness around the integral role of education in transforming the lives of girls in east and west Africa.
  • How is success evaluated / measured?:
  • One Girl’s successful delivery of programs in Sierra Leone for the past ten years has resulted in an efficient monitoring framework with impact measurements from quantitative and qualitative data collected through focus group discussions, community meetings, interviews, and Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) testing. This will be carried out quarterly to assess each of the following program objectives:

    1. Young women and girls from difficult situations are supported to complete secondary school.

    2. Girls in school are encouraged to participate in activities that improve their learning outcomes until they graduate.

    3. Barriers are reduced that prevent young women and girls in target communities from completing secondary school.

    4. Young women and girls are equipped with leadership abilities and their capacity to make decisions and effect change.

Contact Information

  • Contact Person:

    Louise Atkins

  • Email:

  • Website:

    Click Here

  • Phone:

    +61 449 039 133