After one of our scholars fainted in class due to hunger, we realised we needed a sustainable solution to address food insecurity. The girls suggested we support them in starting their own small business so they could earn money to buy their own food. What a great idea.
In 2012, we began a small trial program with 16 girls at a rural high school. Each girl was given a $40 grant to start her own small business. Many of the girls started small businesses selling items such as rice, kerosine and other small goods. In 2015, we partnered with Restless Development and delivered a financial literacy and business training program to 3339 women and girls.
The program was such a success, that in 2014 we rolled it out across 23 communities and reached over 3,000 girls. Inititally we’d planned to reach more than 11,000 girls (and another 11,000 boys too!), however due to the impact of Ebola we had to drastically scale back the program. Still, reaching over 3,000 girls is nothing to scoff at! High rates of unemployment in Sierra Leone mean that most girls will not be offered a typical ‘job’ when they leave school. Learning basic business skills is essential to their future.
Business Brains Students