INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS
August 2019 // Australian not-for-profit, One Girl has today released a report which reveals the incredible impact their Business Brains program has been having for young women and girls in Sierra Leone. When Aminata was a child, she became a mother and a wife. At 14 she was married to an older man and soon became pregnant, forcing her to drop out of school. After the birth of a second, she grieved, wondering what opportunities she was going to be able to provide for her daughters.
After becoming a member of One Girl’s Business Brains program, Aminata learned about sexual and reproductive health, and how she could choose whether or not she wanted to become pregnant again. She learned about small businesses and how she could start one to earn an income and gain greater financial independence. She learned about her rights and the fact that child marriage was illegal. She learned that she had a choice in what she could do with her life.
This report is a radical participatory evaluation of how the program has been running since it’s inception in 2012 and is exemplary in its development approach. Through group discussions and one-on-one interviews, they found where the program stood. Spoiler alert: the results are amazing.
1. Sexual rights and personal freedoms are being embraced.
2. Future pathways are opening up.
3. Girls are paying it forward and communities are feeling the change.
4. Girls are now becoming confident leaders.
What began as a way for girls to earn money outside of school hours has evolved into a program that clears the pathway for women like Aminata to start living a life she chooses. Business Brains recognises that while education is fundamental, only by addressing the root causes that prevent girls from staying in school or succeeding in the real world, will we see an end to worldwide gender inequality.
“The businesses have made some of us become financially independent and not to rely on our parents and boyfriends for survival and support. This helped free ourselves from teenage/early pregnancy and sexual abuse by our boyfriends.” – Business Brains participant
The report has been shared and reviewed by external parties and includes comments from Zoe Condliffe, CEO and Founder of She’s A Crowd; Julie McDonald, CEO of The Funding Network Australia; Shani Cain, CEO of Oaktree and Madeleine Grummet, CoFounder and CEO of GirledWorld.
“Economic empowerment is so important for women and it’s so good to see that by achieving financial independence through Business Brains, women are becoming less vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy and sexual abuse. While we aspire to a world where women don’t fear sexual assault and child pregnancy at all, it is heartening to see that women can avoid such outcomes for themselves to an extent by becoming financially empowered through business. This is a great start.” – Zoe Condliffe, CEO and Founder of She’s a Crowd.
WE HAVE A PROBLEM ON OUR HANDS…
• Over 130 million girls around the world are denied an education simply because they were born a girl.
• Sierra Leone and Uganda are two of the most challenging places in the world to be born a girl: almost 50% of female youth in Sierra Leone are illiterate, up to 40% of girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda are forced into child marriage and 3 in 5 girls in Sierra Leone don’t attend school.
• Worldwide, 14 million girls under the age of 18 will be forced into marriage this year. That’s 38,000 today or 13 girls in the last 30 seconds.
• In sub-saharan Africa only 1 in 5 girls will make it to high school.
• A girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to attend high school.
BUT WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT!
• For every year a girl stays in school, her income will increase by 10-25%
• An educated woman’s children are 50% more likely to live past the age of five.
• An educated girl will marry when she’s ready and have a smaller, healthier family.
• For every dollar she earns, she will invest 90% of it back into her family.
For more more information or to request an interview, contact One Girl Communications Director, Méabh Friel on 03 9913 4818 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
About One Girl:
One Girl is an Australian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting girls without access to education in two of the worst places in the world to be born a girl: Uganda and Sierra Leone. One Girl raises funds and awareness through national campaigns like Do It In A Dress to provide thousands of girls and young women with access to education.
Since 2009, One Girl has worked with well-established local organisations to reach more than 32,000 women and girls with access to high-quality education programs.
About Do It In A Dress
Do It In A Dress is an annual fundraising campaign organised by Australian not-for-profit, One Girl.
Do It In A Dress is about putting on a school dress, having some fun, and standing up for every girl’s right to an education. Through this campaign, participants raise money to support One Girl’s education programs in Sierra Leone and Uganda. To date, Do It In A Dress has successfully raised over $2.8 million dollars, which has helped changed the lives of girls across Sierra Leone and Uganda.