Welcome to our 2018 Annual Report! You’re in for a real treat!
Welcome to our 2018 Annual Report! You’re in for a real treat!
“My name is Henrietta*, and I’m a One Girl Scholar in Sierra Leone”. We’re so happy for Henrietta to be introducing One Girl’s first ever Annual Report! 2018 was a great year for everyone at One Girl, including Henrietta, “Being a scholar helped me reach my second year of senior high school and this is a very good step for me because I’m moving towards achieving my dream of becoming a journalist! Before becoming a One Girl Scholar, I could never imagine it was possible – but now my dream is closer to a reality!”
From all of us at One Girl, we’re so happy to share with you an in-depth look at what we achieved in 2018 and to showcase the impact educating girls has not just for an individual girl, but for her family and community.
So let’s take a look back at 2018 – the wins and the challenges and everything in-between!
*We’ve changed Henrietta’s name to protect her identity.
To put it simply, we wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING without the support of our incredible community. None of our work would be possible. And so to every single person who fundraised, donated, or advocated for our mission, all that we achieved in 2018 is because of you!
Here are just some of the incredible 2018 highlights from our shenanigans here in Australia.
Our Ambassadors are the trailblazers for Do It In A Dress every year. It’s because of them that our mission and the importance of girls’ education is spread far and wide! Every year we recruit and train a group of motivated change-makers who pledge to advocate for girls’ education and to each raise at least $3,000 during Do It In A Dress.
Before our 2018 Ambassadors began their fundraising, we hosted training days in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and taught them everything they needed to know about advocacy and fundraising. And thanks to our friends at Carman’s, we had an incredible space to host our Melbourne workshops! We also had an online training program for all of our Ambassadors who couldn’t make it to our in-person training days.
In 2018 we did see a decline in applications – we had 175 compared to 250 in 2017. But don’t get us wrong, we may have had fewer Ambassadors, but they blew us away with their motivation and dedication! By having a smaller, more engaged group of Ambassadors, we were much more involved with them on an individual level – and it was incredible to see them smash their targets and motivate their communities.
It’s the dedication and passion that Ambassadors like Elijah Buol have for girls’ education that inspires us at One Girl!
When Elijah arrived in Australia, he was just 17 years old and completely on his own. As one of nearly one million children displaced by conflict in South Sudan, he lost both his parents at nine years old and spent several years in a refugee camp. But today — four university degrees (including a law degree) later — he has used every opportunity he has been given to become a highly respected community leader who advises government and authorities in his home state of Queensland.
In recognition of his incredible achievements, in 2019, Elijah was named a Queensland Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards! As someone who has completely transformed his own life through education, he decided to become a One Girl Ambassador. Elijah spent lots of time meeting with people to discuss issues around equal opportunity, and rather than a wearing suit, he wore his school dress!
“I tell them in advance I’ll being coming in a dress and when they ask why, I tell them we’ll chat about that when I get there. I could just ask for a donation, but wearing a dress gets the conversation going – it’s a really good way to raise awareness. I have two daughters and I want them to have exactly the same opportunities as my sons. They might not completely understand right now, but when they’re older and see the photos they will see their Dad in a school dress and know why I was doing it.”
Elijah raised enough to educate 11 girls for an entire year. We’re so proud to have joined forces with this inspirational leader!
Our Schools program really kicked off in 2018, with Bec, our Community Engagement Manager and our CEO Sarah Ireland, chatting with students all about our work, the global impact of educating girls, and how they could get involved with One Girl to make a real difference! This year we really focused on developing our Schools program, especially after the amount of interest we had from schools around the country.
We know that young people are passionate about making a difference in the world, and it’s so inspiring to see students around the country and overseas lead the charge for social change in their schools and communities! But it’s not just the students getting involved, we’ve seen teachers and principals get behind the cause (and wearing school dresses), which is a wonderful achievement!
The biggest challenge for us with this program is not always being able to physically travel to the schools in states outside of Victoria who would love to have us talk to their students (if only we could teleport!). So we’re looking at ways to make our school talks accessible for all schools, no matter where they are in the world.
In 2018, the students and staff at Kirrawee High School in NSW raised $15,120 for Do It In A Dress – enough to educate 50 girls!!
Under the leadership of student Team Captain Chelsea Hendra, the school hosted a range of events from Students vs Teachers netball games to performances and dances in school dresses! As School Captain and a player on the school soccer team, Chelsea was already super active in her school community. And she used that opportunity to get her whole school behind her Do It In A Dress campaign – with stunning results.
“I first heard of ‘Do It In A Dress’ through a One Girl speaker at my school last year… Seeing the reality that the girls face, I was instantly inspired to do something about it.” says Chelsea.
So how did Chelsea manage to rally her entire school to Do It In A Dress? She involved her teachers (and her principal!) and she brought her close friends together and created a team. It was with the support of her teachers, Principal, and friends that she was able to involve the entire school!
Do It In A Dress returned in 2018 with fresh energy, creativity, and a bit of elbow grease! Do It In A Dress is our biggest fundraising campaign, and it calls on everyone to put on a school dress and fundraise for our education programs in Sierra Leone and Uganda. It rallies people all around the world to stand up for every girl’s right to an education – all whilst having fun! In 2018, we had over 1,100 fundraisers sign up, order their school dresses, and kick off their fundraising. We saw people jump out of planes, fly planes, play sport, snowboard, skateboard, surf, run, swim, cook, eat and sleep all in their school dresses to raise funds and awareness for our mission!
And every year we’re blown away by the dedication and passion our fundraisers have for girls’ education. Every year people all over the world get out and about in their communities and advocate for the importance of girls’ education – and we couldn’t be prouder!
This was the first Do It In A Dress for almost all of the One Girl team in Melbourne. And whilst it was challenging for us fresh-faced team members, it allowed us to bring new ideas to the table. And let’s be real – Do It In A Dress 2017 was humongous partly because of their fundraising total ($311,000!) that Craigburn Primary School reached, and it was unlikely for the campaign to go viral a second year in a row. And even with a smaller amount of fundraisers in 2018, our Do-It-In-A-Dressers were highly engaged and the percent of active fundraisers (those who raised money) was the same in 2017 (go you good things!). So a HUGE congratulations and well done to the inspiring, daring, generous, and incredible 2018 fundraisers that smashed Do It In A Dress!
Did you know that there are a range of different ways our community can fundraise for our programs? Our I Don’t Want A Present campaign gives fundraisers the opportunity to make their birthday or special event a meaningful one not just for them, but for girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda as well! For their birthday or special occasion, the campaign asks fundraisers to ask their nearest and dearest to make a donation to One Girl in lieu of a gift.
In 2018, we saw some amazing birthday fundraisers – ranging from 1st–71st birthdays! And it’s not just birthdays where people are giving up their presents, we also had bar and bat mitzvahs and even a wedding where guests were asked to donate instead of buying gifts for the bride and groom.
Alongside I Don’t Want a Present, we also cheered on 32 other independent fundraisers who ran marathons, trekked mountains, shaved beards, cut their hair, hosted film nights, or baked up a storm – all to support girls education! Collectively these fundraisers raised more than $67,000!
Whether you want to Do It In A Dress, sign-up for I Don’t Want a Present or host your own fundraiser for One Girl – there are plenty of different opportunities to support our work.
Now that you’ve read all about our 2018 shenanigans in Australia – it’s time to jump over the pond so we can tell you about everything that’s been happening in Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Our education programs are innovative, progressive, and they’re girl-led. What does girl-led mean you say? Great question! It means that the girls in our programs aren’t just participants, they’re involved in the design and running of our programs! Because if we’re working to drive change for girls and their communities, we make sure girls take the wheel.
And it’s because of our incredible co-implementing partners in Sierra Leone, Restless Development and Sierra Leone Social Aid Volunteers, Marie Stopes, Schools for Salone, Days for Girls, Programme for Children and our partner in Uganda, Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment that we can do all that we do for girls and young women. We absolutely love our partners – seriously.
Our International Programs Director, Erica, says that the thing she is most proud of is our girl-led and positive approach to programming. This means that we believe that young women and girls have the power to transform their own lives and we give them the opportunity to do this.
The expansion of our work in 2018 has meant we are supporting even more girls to overcome all of the barriers they face in accessing education so they have every opportunity to be the best they can be!
It’s so important for girls to have the opportunity to finish high school – but we also know that getting girls in the classroom is just step one. To make sure they’re supported in all areas of their education, our Business Brains program provides girls with education and training in areas like career development and life skills!
In early 2017, we introduced our Business Brains program in Uganda. Business Brains is all about empowering young people — especially girls — with leadership training, financial literacy, and confidence building skills. It was so successful that following the training, 203 participants started up small businesses in areas such as hairdressing, tailoring, food stalls, farming and agriculture! One of the key findings from this pilot program was that the young women involved said they have new-found confidence to begin their own businesses and to access family planning services within their community!
2018 was also a big year for our One Girl Scholars. In late 2017, we launched a major participatory evaluation of our Scholarships program in Sierra Leone to measure the impact it was having on the lives of One Girl Scholars. We’re not going to lie – we were pretty chuffed with the results! We learnt that in 2018, One Girl Scholars completed high school at a rate of 88.2%, as compared with the national average of 16%! We learnt that most of the girls we interviewed are sharing the knowledge they’ve gained from the program with their family members, their friends, and their community. And that by learning about sexual and reproductive health and rights, girls are now empowered to make decisions that affect them, rejecting early pregnancy and traditional practices such as early marriage. Many girls said they now have the tools and confidence to know that what they say really matters.
“I used to fear that I would be asked a question [by the teacher], so I always sat at the back of the class. But with One Girl giving me a [solar] light, I was able to study hard and then I had the confidence to sit in the front and even answer questions because I knew I had the right answer” – One Girl Alumni member.
Incredible right?! And there’s plenty more where that came from. If you’re feeling like a detour, head here to read our full report on the evaluation!
One of the challenges we face with our Scholarships program is working within the public school system in Sierra Leone. Our scholars can sometimes struggle to thrive in school due to issues such as poor school infrastructure, sanitation, and limited teaching resources. This is why we take a holistic approach in all of our programs . They compliment one another and address all of the challenges that prevent girls from thriving in school, so we can also help strengthen and support the public education system in Sierra Leone!
*A school year in Sierra Leone runs from September–July.
“When I was out of school I was selling fish in the market. I’d see people my age wearing uniforms, and I would cry inside my heart. I never felt fine, I never felt good. When I saw them in the uniforms I would hide so they couldn’t see me.”
Getting back to school has completely transformed Aminata’s*** life and restored her confidence. But she’s using her memories of that difficult year to inspire her plans for the future. Aminata wants to become an accountant so she can work in a bank and earn good money – but not for herself.
“If I get money, I’ll help poor people. I’ll help those children who drop out of school … Before I use money for anything else I’d like to do this. I know what it can be like, because … I was in that situation. If I put them in school, then they can become somebody and change the nation. ”
It’s an extraordinary vision – and it shows the kind of thinking educated young women will bring to the most challenging issues faced by their communities!
***We’ve changed Aminata’s name to protect her identity. Photo: Olivia Acland/One Girl
In 2018, we launched the pilot of our teacher training scholarships! This new and exciting program is supporting teachers to become formally qualified. We’re working with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to provide potential teachers full scholarships to complete their qualifications by distance education, PLUS they’re guaranteed paid employment after graduation! Why is this important? It’s vital for girls to have positive role models and mentors in their lives that advocate for gender equality. And by supporting more women to become teachers, we’re working to challenge traditional gender stereotypes, and break down female discrimination in the classroom. And it gives girls an adult female representative in their school who can advocate for issues that affect them, like being able to manage their periods in school.
All teachers involved in the program are paired up so they can learn from one another, and support each other, whilst we offer mentorship throughout their training so they can become gender equality advocates. So watch this space for more exciting things to come from this new program!
Another way we’re creating positive mentors and role models for girls is through our Alumni program, which engages previous One Girl Scholars who have completed high school. The alumni are working with us to make our Scholarships program even better – because they’re the experts! The program was completely designed by the girls themselves because they wanted to give back to their communities and provide other girls with the support and encouragement they need to get through high school. And we seriously couldn’t be prouder or more inspired by these incredible young women.
In 2018, we also trained 15 women’s committees in Sierra Leone. These committees actively participate in the running of our programs, and they act as advocates for girls’ education and child safeguarding in the school and community.
And finally, our Girls’ Clubs are also providing safe spaces for girls to discuss issues that are affecting them and helping inspire more female leaders. In 2018, we had 750 girls in our Girls’ Clubs across 30 different communities, and we saw the older girls in these clubs begin to mentor younger girls and their own mothers, which was happening completely organically! In fact, a leader of one of the Girls’ Clubs spoke of how “I want to be a good example to my friends as I am ahead of others in my education…If I am strong in my education, others will follow me slowly.”
We believe that no girl should be held back just because Aunt Flo’s in town! Yet, one of the biggest barriers that girls face when accessing education (and one that stops them from thriving in school) is poor sanitation and a lack of adequate toilet facilities to safely manage their periods. That’s why 2018 saw us continue our life-changing WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) program across four schools in rural Sierra Leone, which involved the construction of 14 toilet blocks and five hand-washing stations. We also trained 36 School Management Committee members, who were made up of teachers, parents, and community members to oversee the construction of these facilities and make sure that WASH education was rolled out throughout the year.
One of the areas we’re working more on in 2019 is changing behaviours and attitudes towards water sanitation and hygiene, as most students and teachers don’t have any kind of latrine at home and most are accustomed to burning or burying waste. It’s not enough to just have toilet facilities available at schools – we need quality education in WASH for students, parents, and teachers too!
Our LaunchPad program is making sure girls in Sierra Leone have access to affordable, hygienic sanitary products; the program is educating communities on menstrual hygiene management; and it’s dispelling damaging myths about menstruation. The program is empowering local women — LaunchPad Champions — to run the program themselves, giving them a source of income from selling sanitary products and the ability to lead change within their communities! After an evaluation of this program in 2017, we identified the environmental challenge that comes along with providing disposable sanitary products – so in 2018, finding a sustainable alternative was our mission. Fast-forward to August 2018, we partnered with three organisations, Schools for Salone, Programme For Children and Days For Girls to introduce reusable sanitary pads into two communities, resulting in a higher demand for the products overall! Although the reusable sanitary kits are getting us closer to our sustainability goals, they are slightly more expensive than disposable products, which can be challenging for low-income communities, so we are still looking for sustainable alternatives!
We also broadcasted four community radio discussions to increase awareness about menstrual hygiene management (MHM). The biggest thing we learnt from this was that men are interested in learning more about periods – brilliant! During the first LaunchPad radio program in 2018, over 60% of the callers were male! And we’ve already seen the evidence of social shifts in communities. Men say they are now able to talk about menstruation, and there is a growing sense that men can, and should, be comfortable buying sanitary pads to support their wives and daughters.
Working with Days For Girls, we provided further training for 40 LaunchPad Champions from two communities in menstrual hygiene management and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and in a new reusable sanitary kit. These women were able to partake in marketing workshops to support their efforts in selling the reusable sanitary products and they even went on radio to promote the products and made sales on the spot!
Best of all, these LaunchPad Champions will go on to educate hundreds of women in menstrual hygiene management!
Photo: Days For Girls.
In 2018, we delivered classes in sexual, reproductive health and rights (SRHR) to:
And in Uganda, we held four training sessions on SRHR and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) for 246 young people: 165 young women and 81 young men.
As part of our Business Brains program, participants talked about issues including; sex, sexual rights, reproduction, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, family planning methods and access, sexual abuse and harassment, self-defense against sexual violence, and HIV/AIDs causes and prevention methods. After nearly three years, the impact of increased focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights through Business Brains in Sierra Leone is pretty clear: in one community, teenage pregnancy cases have reduced from 56 in 2016 to just 10 cases in 2018 – that’s a reduction of 82%!
However, there are deeply entrenched behaviours and gender stereotypes that continue to affect the safety of women and girls. Solutions to SGBV has traditionally put the onus on the girls and young women – meaning we’ve seen curfews for girls and restrictions on what they can and can’t wear. And although many of the communities we work with are really enthusiastic about combatting issues such as teenage pregnancy and sexual violence, they can often view these two as seperate issues. This is one of the bigger areas that we’re addressing in 2019, including the introduction of new program that will advocate for sexual rights and respect for girls. We can’t wait to share more about this new program – so keep an eye out!
We are providing young women with life skills and business training so they have every opportunity to become financially independent. The training includes sessions on financial literacy, career development, sexual and reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management – it covers everything!
In 2018, our Business Brains program in Sierra Leone ran 4,404 lessons for 8,136 students in schools, and we had750 participants in Girls’ Clubs. 75% of club members said they have improved business ideas. The business modules in the program are designed to help girls develop their business and financial skills to generate new business ideas, and increase their ability to manage their own businesses. According to the girls, these modules gave them the skills to generate an income and many have started small businesses selling rice, butterscotch, groundnut, cooking condiments, and farm produce. As a result of taking part in our program, girls now feel confident to take their new skills and techniques and use them to make their own businesses bigger and better!
Another great result we saw in 2018 was that girls developed a much stronger grasp of expense planning with 81% of them starting financial records – an increase of 27% since the beginning of the program!
Education in business and entrepreneurial skills is truly life-changing. It allows girls to become financially independent where they can potentially pay to re-enroll in school and support their families! The girls in our Business Brains program have also shared that THEY are now the ones proudly making informed decisions over their career goals. 81% of girls now say they are optimistic about their future – which is an increase of 21% since the half-way mark of the program!
“We feel much more confident and know that the future is more secure for our lives. Our confidence level has changed regarding our future because we now make informed decisions over our careers.” – Business Brains participant, Sierra Leone.
This is Miremba***, a Business Brains participant in Uganda. Miremba took part in a 10-week entrepreneurship training through Business Brains, and attended a training day on reusable pads and menstrual hygiene management with our partner Days for Girls. After her training, Miremba went on to open her own general store where she stocked reusable pads from her training with Days For Girls! It’s an incredible achievement and it means Miremba has been able to truly drive the change she wants to see for herself, her family and her entire community.
“I am excited madam, today I sold liquid soap and earned UGX5,000 ($2 AUD). I added fresh banana juice in my shop, which has boosted my sales because customers demand for it. I can’t wait to sell the sanitary pads because the girls in my area really need them. My life has been transformed for [the] better.”
***We’ve changed Miremba’s name to protect her identity. Photo supplied by ARUWE, Uganda.
We had some new faces join the team in 2018, so we needed a new Melbourne office to fit nine staff along with our shop products and school dresses. We went from a small space (with no natural light!) in Collingwood, to a bigger space at the beautiful Abbotsford Convent – and we (and our plants) couldn’t be happier. We now have a total of 13 staff including our team in Sierra Leone!
It’s time to meet the global One Girl team and read what they’re excited to learn in 2019!
I want to learn from people and organisations who have a diverse range of skills, perspectives and experiences, and who we can work with to strengthen our programs so we can expand our impact through creative, innovative and exciting ways.
International Programs Director
I am so excited to look for new ways to weave girls’ and young women’s leadership into our programs in creative ways – from start to finish. I am passionate about shaking up the status quo through a strong feminist lens.
I’m most excited to develop my long-form writing skills to share all of the incredible things that we’re doing with the One Girl Community. And I’m keen to develop my digital marketing skills so we can spread the word about the importance of girls’ education across many different online platforms!
Community Programs Manager
I want to make sure everyone in the communities we work with understand the importance of girls’ education, and help support girls to drive change in their own communities. And I also want to learn what other organisations are doing for girls’ education.
And our team wouldn’t be complete without our volunteers. They are the backbone of One Girl – seriously. Their time and skills are invaluable to us and many of them go on to become members of the One Girls staff!!
To highlight just how amazing our volunteers are, we’d like to introduce you to Kim. Kim has been a volunteer with us for three years and has donated MORE THAN 1,700 HOURS of her time to further our mission to educate girls. In fact, if you’re a regular reader of our blogs, then you’ll already be familiar with her incredible work.
We sat down for a cup of tea and a chat with Kim, and picked her brain about her experience as one of our longest volunteers.
How did you first hear about One Girl?
“I was working by myself from home with clients, and I was a bit professionally lonely. I really wanted to get out in the world a bit and be attached to something bigger. That made me go to the One Girl website … I had a look and thought ‘wow, I would so love to work for this organisation’! The writing and the whole messaging really hit me.”
That was back in 2016. Kim signed up to our mailing list, and when the volunteer role of her dreams came up, she jumped on the opportunity to join the team. And boy are we glad she did!
What’s been your favourite One Girl moment?
“One of them was when I got to transcribe recordings from One Girl Scholars in Sierra Leone. I got to listen to the voices of the girls themselves, and the one that struck me was a girl who spoke about how she had lost her parents, her grandmother, and she was living on the streets. And in the last minute of the recording she said ‘but I’m ok because I’ve got you’ – she went from being on the other side of the planet to sitting right beside me.
“Doing the work we’re doing, having the opportunity to hear the voices of the girls and for them to tell their stories, I think it gives you meaning to your own life – because it’s meaningful to someone else’s life.”
What do you think about volunteering in general, do you think it’s important and that it has value?
“Yes! I have lots of feelings about volunteering. I think it’s incredibly important and valuable, for both the volunteer and the organisation. And both sides have to respect the commitment that each are making to each other. It’s a relationship and the potential of volunteering is incredible!”
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role at One Girl?
“Everything. Seriously. The culture, the people, the work … everything. There hasn’t been a day where I didn’t want to come in to the office.”
And Kim’s not wrong! If you’re interested in volunteering with us, you can send through your details to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you!
Our CEO, Sarah Ireland, joined the ranks in January 2018 and through her leadership, expertise, and skills, we were able to grow and take on new projects and programs throughout the year to expand our impact for girls and their communities. She’s an incredible leader and all of us are so proud to be in her corner! If you missed it, you can read her honest and insightful blog about her first year as our CEO. So without further ado, a message from Sarah herself:
As you know by now, 2018 was a big year for One Girl! In addition to all of our amazing achievements, we spent a lot of the year looking internally. We asked ourselves; did we have the right team in place? Did our systems and processes provide an effective foundation for growth? Were our programs based on evidence and were they having the best impact on girls’ lives?
The One Girl team and our partners all worked together to address these questions to help us focus on our mission of harnessing the incredible power of education to drive change for girls and their communities. And amazingly, we achieve this by putting girls’ at the centre of everything that we do.
From the moment I joined One Girl, it was obvious that the entire team is passionate about making sure that even as we grow, our focus doesn’t change. In everything that we do with our programs, our fundraising and communications – we continuously ask the same question; are we amplifying girls’ voices and giving them control over their own words, their own lives and their futures?
This constant self-reflection is what makes One Girl so special. Our commitment extends beyond getting girls into the classroom – it’s about providing them everything they need to succeed well into their adult life. Because their achievements won’t just change their lives, it’ll change the lives of their family and community members. That’s how we change the world for girls – and we’re so happy to have you onboard.
For all of you number-lovers out there, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. If you want to get straight to it, you can view our 2018 financial statements here, along with all of our previous years. Knock yourself out!
The main take-away from 2018 was another successful year overall. We saw increased support from donors in many of our fundraising activities, which meant we were able to spend more than $860,000 on our life-changing programs in Sierra Leone and Uganda!
One of our overall challenges is how to plan for the future when we’re working in such a fast-paced context, especially in the countries where our programs run. Plus, working across three countries; juggling different currencies, accounting for inflation and exchange rates – it can sometimes be a real headache. But we’re building our toolkit to protect us from risk, volatility, and just in case we have any rainy days in the future!
That wraps up our 2018 Annual Report! We sure hope you enjoyed reading about our wins, our challenges, and what we’re excited about for the future. And maybe you learnt something new about us!
We want to say a humongous thank you. THANK YOU. To every single one of you, no matter how you support One Girl. You have our undying gratitude for constantly inspiring and encouraging us – and for keeping the lights on! Your support means that together, we really are changing the world for girls. We couldn’t be happier to have you on this wild ride with us – you’re the bee’s knees.
And a very special thank you to all of our incredible 2018 Business Partners who are committed to changing the world with us, one girl at a time.
Wildings Pantry Essentials
We’re so grateful to these businesses for donating their time, expertise, and services to make our work possible!