One Girl 2020

Annual Report

Welcome, friends! 

To your 2020 One Girl Annual Report. 

We don’t want to dwell too much on the challenges of 2020 and get caught up in what a whirlwind of a year it was – because let’s be honest, it was a year of unprecedented mayhem and adjustment, for everyone, everywhere. 

We want to instead focus on what we’ve learnt and how we’ve grown, and celebrate how our One Girl community rallied to keep our mission alive. It was actually pretty epic to see what we could all achieve together in such strange times, and we want to share all the details with you! From embracing the word ‘pivot’ into our everyday vocabulary to keeping girls connected and learning during lockdown; we did it all. 

And that’s worth celebrating! 


My name is Zaria*, and I’m in SSS3 (high school). 

During Girl Tok I learned a lot of things, including self control, self esteem, so many things about menstruation that I didn't know about, and key words like “peer pressure” and “icebreaker” were new to me also. My mentor also taught me how to be self confident and answer questions during the sessions; before that time, I found it difficult to participate even in school. 

Girl Tok was a great program; but I faced challenges understanding the english language spoken in the videos, I didn't know how to send voice messages because I had never used an android phone before, and how to do a Google search. My inspiration was seeing mentors teaching us using android phones; I admired them so much and wanted to be like them. 

My favourite thing in Girl Tok was our “Countdown competition”; it was very interesting to send in answers really fast, so you could be the winner of the exercise. I also enjoyed “wellness Wednesday sessions”; and also the opportunity to learn so many new things. I didn't regret participating; my goal was to learn a lot, and I was excited to use an android phone for the first time! 

Amidst all this; the impact of COVID 19 stopped me from going to school for a very long time. I stayed with my uncle who was a teacher; when the schools closed we found it difficult to survive at home, that was when my sister and I started burning timber into charcoal. We had to sell charcoal for our survival; the money we got from it is what sustained our home, and the process it takes to burn timber into charcoal is tedious. I did not like doing that work; but we had to survive as a family. I prayed and hoped that school would reopen and our family would go back to normal. 

My message to One Girl Community and supporters is; “I am grateful for your kind gesture to support my education. My family cannot afford it, and you are giving me everything for my education for free!”. Right now I am looking forward to taking and passing my WASSCE exams at 17 years.

My biggest dream is to become a doctor; I will be the first in my family.

*name has been changed to protect her identity.


The ins and outs of One Girl in 2020

None of us expected 2020 to go the way it did, and we certainly faced some challenges as a small not-for-profit organisation! When COVID-19 first hit, we knew we were going to see a major impact on our fundraising income, as there wasn’t anyone that hadn’t been impacted by the pandemic. The One Girl team in Melbourne started working from home in mid-March and swiftly reduced their hours, with everyone dropping down to working three days a week. We quickly grew used to Zoom meetings (and Zoom trivia!) and being such a small team, we were able to adapt to these changes and quickly turn our attention to getting back on track as soon as possible, to reduce the impact on our programs.

We were blown away by the support we received from the One Girl community during this time. Despite everyone having been impacted in some shape or form by COVID, the incredibly generous donations, huge number of superstars continuing to fundraise for us, and other offers of support really kept us going!

We took on the challenge of moving offices during the later stages of Melbourne’s lockdown (we didn’t go far – just to a smaller office down the hallway in the beautiful Abbotsford Convent still), which, while challenging, has allowed us to create a beautiful new space to return to, now that lockdown has lifted. We are back in the office, feeling ready to tackle 2021 as a team (and finally hold our meetings in person!).

While we were saddened to say goodbye to our wonderful interim CEO, Sarah Downie, who fiercely led the team through the chaos that was 2020, we were also thrilled to welcome our new CEO, Dr Chrisanta Muli in October of 2020 – and we are so excited to see where Chrisanta takes One Girl. We also said goodbye to other team members who took up awesome new opportunities, and welcomed new ones on board who are going to take One Girl to another level. Watch this space!

  Caroline Hawkins

One Girl Fundraising Director

Programming in a Pandemic

We are so PROUD of every single person that had absolutely anything to do with our programs throughout the uncertainty of last year. All of our phenomenal participants remained positive and engaged, adapting quickly to the new ‘norm’ and remaining focused on their goals. Our programs team completely embraced the opportunity to pause, reflect and redirect during such complex times. Our field team in Sierra Leone were a constant inspiration and pillar of support; our fundraising team hustled like never before to garner the support we needed to keep everything up and running; and our supporters stuck by us, every step of the way. 

There’s no denying our programs were hit hard though. We needed to press the big scary pause button on certain parts of our programs in Sierra Leone and Uganda, as schools were shut down and lockdown restrictions put in place. After taking a moment to really assess the situation and identify opportunities for continued learning and growth for all participants, we were able to successfully pivot our programming, ensuring girls and young women were equipped to deal with new challenges and stay safe during the pandemic. 

In Sierra Leone we reached 22 communities with Be Safe, Happy and Healthy, a program designed to equip women leaders from our LaunchPad program with essential information and handwashing stations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We also ran various sessions with the scholars, partner schools and trained teachers, producing a range of educational materials from staying safe to mental health guidance during lockdowns. 

In Uganda, Girls Emerge participants (aka young female entrepreneurs!) fully embraced the concept of pivoting, and quickly adapted their changing environment into opportunities for growth within their businesses! A group of super savvy young women running tailoring businesses obtained a contract with World Vision to produce a whopping 4,000 face masks, whilst others cleverly moved into soap production to serve the increasing demand within their communities. 

Another extraordinary win was not only the willingness and commitment of our staff in Sierra Leone to strengthen their tech skills and get stuck into Zoom, but our combined effort to harness this as an opportunity to integrate technology into our programs, reaching scholars and participants in new and remote ways. This is how our brilliant new program, Girl Tok, was born!

Thanks for coming along for the ride with us! 

Erica Berthelson 

One Girl International Programs Director 

Our Impact

The numbers are in! We did some pretty cool things in 2020, and we’re thrilled to share the details with you, so let’s get stuck into the nitty gritty.

We provide access to quality education – in and out of the classroom!

scholars participated in our Scholarships Program.

young women (and 18 young men) participated in vocational training through Girls Emerge.

girls participated in online learning through the Girl Tok pilot.

We support and inspire future female role models.

mentors facilitated lessons in Girl Tok.

teachers participated in Teachers of Tomorrow.

mentors trained in Uganda.

mentors took part in Business Brains Sierra Leone.

We advocate for sexual rights, safe relationships and respect for girls.

lessons were held on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Menstrual Health Management (MHM) and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) – reaching 8,936 young women and 9,408 young men through Business Brains Sierra Leone.

girls and young women participated in My Body, My Choice online lessons in Girl Tok.

young women (and 18 young men) were trained in sexual rights and bodily autonomy through Girls Emerge Uganda.

schools were reached with animated posters focusing on bodily autonomy and sexual rights.

One Girl co-produced sexual rights animations with our partner Girls Empowerment Sierra Leone (GESL), which were televised and featured in radio panel discussions throughout Sierra Leone.

We promote health and menstrual hygiene, and tackle period taboos.

girls and young women participated in Menstrual Hygiene Manager (MHM) online classes through Girl Tok.

pads were distributed by 341 LaunchPad champions in 34 communities.

pads were distributed through Scholarships and Girl Tok programs.

We champion gender equality by elevating the role and status of women and girls.

women were trained as health ambassadors for COVID-19 response and prevention.

girls and young women in Girl Tok learnt about gender, their strengths and rights.

videos were co-produced and televised with partner GESL, featuring young female entrepreneurs from Sierra Leone.

girls in Sierra Leone and Ghana participated in an online leadership course, led by our partner GESL.

Youth participants in Business Brains Sierra Leone conducted an International Women's Day March, which reached 620 women and 506 men.

facemasks were produced by women-led enterprises in Uganda.

Programs Deep Dive 

Throughout everything, we remained intentionally focused on our mission – to educate girls. Keeping this front and centre, we were able to pause, adjust and shuffle our operations, ensuring girls and young women remained engaged and learning as much as possible. 

Here’s a rundown of the progress of each of our programs in 2020.


2020 was most definitely a different year for One Girl scholars. We kicked the year off with a bang, riled and ready to take the program to an even deeper level. 

In January, we commenced the monthly training sessions packed full of interactive and youth friendly workshops with a rotating, monthly theme; we distributed sanitary items and supported scholars with mentorship and guidance in small groups. The scholars absolutely LOVED these sessions, with tonnes of laughter and good vibes, whilst learning about important topics like periods and hygiene. 

Rolling into March we were forced to switch gears, utilising the final workshop before lockdown in Sierra Leone to provide essential training to scholars on COVID-19 prevention, through the Be Safe, Happy and Healthy initiative. Lockdown unfortunately meant the closure of schools in Sierra Leone, so from April through to October, scholars were at home and unable to learn in a classroom setting. We did however, keep them engaged through the launch of Girl Tok, our first ever digital wellbeing program!


Learn more about the Scholarships Program

Aisha* stuck by her dreams of becoming a doctor, and stayed focused and connected during Sierra Leone lockdowns!

Girl Tok

Enter… Girl Tok! Our bright new star of 2020. With girls suddenly out of school, at home and becoming increasingly disconnected, we knew we had to do something, fast. In April, we initiated the design process of Girl Tok, a digital literacy and wellbeing program to help keep girls connected, well and learning with their pals. Program design took into account internet connectivity, security and digital literacy; where the WhatsApp business platform and mobile phones were chosen to run the program. 

From September through to December, 10 trained alumni mentors facilitated lessons with 69 scholars, 3 times a week. The program was designed with a black feminist lens and inclusive of educational topics that scholars would find relevant, engaging and empowering. The scholars played games, listened to inspirational music, explored the art of journaling and learnt about mental wellbeing and resilience through lessons on mindfulness and body positivity. 

Girl Tok had an incredible impact on girls’ wellbeing, confidence and communication skills, whilst also supporting them to learn new skills and become digital whizzes! Below are the top three outcomes of the 2020 pilot, identified by participants:


Increased digital literacy

Digital literacy was the standout outcome, identified by both participants and staff. 

  • 48% of scholars went from never having used the internet before to 100% feeling confident to use it for both personal and educational means. What an amazing leap! 
  • At the beginning of the program, 27% of scholars had knowledge on how to find the internet browser on a mobile phone and16% knew how to visit a website. By the end of Girl Tok, 82% of scholars reported they could confidently access websites to search and find information! 


Learning about mental health & wellbeing

Girls reflected that one of the biggest changes for them was knowing about self-esteem and increased feelings of self-esteem. Completing Girl Tok made them feel proud, confident and comfortable in themselves. 

  • The number of girls rating their life satisfaction as ‘very high’ increased by 16%
  • Girls’ feeling of worthwhileness on the things they do remained steady and high throughout the program, with 78% reporting a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ level of worthwhileness upon completion of the program. 
  • A high proportion of scholars (76%) reported high levels of anxiety at the start of the program, with a considerable reduction to 58% by the end.


Leading and Activism

Girls reflected that another significant change for them was learning about leadership qualities and skills, and the fact that they could be a leader! They also reported that they had acquired the speaking skills they would need to practice leadership and activism. 

“I can be a good leader”

“I know that I can empower other girls some day”

“I feel a big proud of myself how I can talk”


More on Girl Tok!

Girl Tok participants at their graduation in December 2020. 

GESL - A new friendship and feminist force!

Throughout the development of Girl Tok, we looked to other local organisations in Sierra Leone who were also undertaking digital inclusion programs for girls – and found the most perfect partnership with Girls Empowerment Sierra Leone (GESL)! GESL is a local feminist NGO that run girl-led programs for adolescent girls. Our partnership focused on digital inclusion and locally relevant media, and our first order of business was to support the production and distribution (on TV, radio and via social media influencers) of a series of animations about sexual health and bodily autonomy; and a video campaign featuring local female entrepreneurs sharing their success stories! Beyond these two very educational and inspirational campaigns, we distributed materials to 40 schools on sexual and reproductive health, complementing existing messaging and making an even greater impact. 

We then worked on Ignite, a small online leadership pilot program which reached 7 girls in Sierra Leone and Ghana, in a 5 week intensive program. The program covered confidence, leadership and community engagement, resulting in increases in wellbeing across the board!

Teachers of Tomorrow 

Although a difficult year with teachers being out of work for so long, the pandemic did not stop teacher scholars from buckling down and studying hard! 18 Teachers of Tomorrow participants successfully completed their second year of the teaching certification. Go team!


Learn more about Teachers of Tomorrow

Manja* now has secure and stable employment as a teacher, and is a role model to girls and young women all around her!

Business Brains, Sierra Leone

In April, we closed our partnership with Restless Development, after 6 beautiful years of working closely together. Business Brains Sierra Leone finished on a high, reaching almost 20,000 young people and increasing knowledge and skills in sexual health, life skills and so much more. We are forever proud of what we were able to achieve alongside Restless Development, and are utilising our learnings to create new, transformative programs for girls (like Girl Tok!).


2020 Impacts

  • 366 girls took part in the girls and leadership clubs, where they had the opportunity to learn and develop in safe, girl-friendly spaces. This group of incredible girls delivered 570 school assembly messages about health and rights, reaching 12,427 girls and 13,365 boys. 
  • 40 young women delivered 8 radio programs about women’s rights. 
  • 273 female leaders in communities were trained in support of girls' education. 
  • 620 girls and 506 boys took part in the International Women’s Day celebrations. 
  • 50 young women and 10 young men delivered the program in schools. What exceptional role models!


Catch up on Business Brains SL

Girls Emerge, Uganda

Uganda was also hit with a series of ups and downs throughout the year, with lockdowns, curfews and new economic environment – which created a need but also an opportunity for change.  

Girls Emerge Uganda works to dismantle norms around what roles young women typically take up within the workforce, opening up doors and opportunities to learn complex, valuable skills. In 2020, our existing young entrepreneurs were able to pivot their business operations and take advantage of the situation, which was absolutely incredible to witness. 

A group of talented young women produced 4,000 face masks for World Vision; four businesses received grants from Days for Girls to transform their reusable pad enterprises into mask manufacturing enterprises; and many moved across into the production and sale of hand soap within their communities. 

156 young people (18 males and 138 females) have now successfully graduated from Girls Emerge with tangible, hard skills. So many of these women have also found reliable employment or started their own successful businesses, with some young women even growing their business enough to hire small teams! 

The group of savvy young women producing menstrual pads have been super busy within their communities, working to reduce stigma around menstrual hygiene through facilitating information sessions in local marketplaces – where they have also been able to amp up the sale of their products! 

Stay tuned for so much more of the good stuff on Girls Emerge in 2021. There are currently 200 new female entrepreneurs who completed their training last year on sexual and reproductive health and rights, sexual and gender based violence and leadership – and are ready and eager to kick off their vocational training this year.

We can't wait to see what this new generation of entrepreneurs does next!


Learn more about Girls Emerge Uganda

Girls Emerge Uganda participants.

All the love from Sierra Leone  

We had major plans for the year, but little did we know 2020 also had a major plan for us. We started off the year by expanding our team with 3 new Field Officers, who came on board in April. As they were receiving official induction, we were also preparing to shift our programming in the face of COVID-19 and all of its restrictions. We went from working in person in our office, to working from home across three districts in Sierra Leone.

But our team did not relent; we went into operation mode, informing communities about the ‘do’s and don'ts’ of COVID-19, as well as, distributing hygiene kits, water buckets, soap, and informational posters. 

In the middle of a pandemic, we were able to pivot our programming at a critical time, just when our girls were starting to feel isolated and lose hope. As a team, we created Girl Tok - our brand new digital wellbeing program. We are elated with the outcomes. We knew that it would be an awesome program but we were blown away by the ripple effects that reverberated throughout our families, communities and partnerships.  

We could not have accomplished this without the support of the One Girl community. Even though times were rough our supporters continued to find ways to ensure we were not left out and for that we are grateful. We are looking forward to a brighter 2021 where we will be building from our learnings and using them to propel our growth.

  Yeniva Sisay

Africa Regional Director


Over to fundraising! We were absolutely blown away by how our community rallied around us in 2020 and continued to get involved and fundraise, despite everything that was going on in the world. 

We reacted quickly when COVID-19 hit and launched our first ever Emergency Appeal, which our community responded to in an incredible way – raising over $100,000 to help with our COVID-19 response efforts in Sierra Leone and Uganda. 

Our major fundraising campaign, Do It In A Dress, saw the largest number of sign ups at the start of the campaign than ever before! People hosted incredibly creative virtual events and many used their allocated outside time each day to wear their school dress and raise awareness for girls’ education. Our Ambassador workshops were held virtually rather than in person for the first time, but this allowed ambassadors to connect with peers in other states and broaden their networks! We couldn’t have got through the year without our incredible community of supporters and we can’t wait to see what we are able to achieve together in 2021.


was raised from a super generous 1,721 people, from 13 countries around the world!

Ambassador Program

73 Ambassadors

$62,913 total raised!

Ambassador Spotlight! Taylah has been supporting One Girl since 2018. As a 2020 One Girl Ambassador, Taylah raised a phenomenal $3,481, through running a ticketed virtual trivia night with family and friends and two virtual group fitness classes. Taylah definitely didn’t let Melbourne’s lockdown stop her from supporting One Girl and making the most of her role as an Ambassador! In 2021, Tayla joins the team as a One Girl Ambassador Mentor leading this year’s ambassador team. 

Do It In A Dress

1,604 DIIAD participants

6,820 DIIAD donors

176 DIIAD teams

$293,994 raised through DIIAD in 2020

DIIAD highlight! The Skydive Ramblers of Queensland lead the exceptional team ‘The Flying Dresses’. The team of 10 skydivers raised over $5,200 with their sponsored Do It In A Dress skydive! Check out their video!

Other Fundraising 

15 fundraisers who held their own DIY events

$12,195 raised by DIY fundraisers

16 fundraisers who took part in ‘I Don’t Want A Present’ and asked for donations over gifts

$12,816 raised by 'I Don’t Want A Present' fundraisers

11 Schools who fundraised (outside of taking part in Do It In A Dress!)

$20,667 raised by schools

10 school talks delivered


136 Graduation sign-ups

$161,554 raised by monthly donors

We  Our Community

SHOUT OUT time to our uber wonderful community of incredible supporters and business partners. We honestly cannot say THANK YOU enough for sticking by us in 2020.

Thank you to these sensational Business Partners for their unwavering support in 2020.

Biddy Tarot 

Bec & Bridge 


Barre Body

The Game Changer Co. 

Bang The Table

Empowering Chicks 

Talent Nation 



Wildings Pantry Essentials 

Catalyst Plus

Sustainable Resource Use 

Tradewind Australia 

One Fine Secret

365+ (Michoni Pty Ltd)

New Energy Ventures 



Coast Sydney Botanicals

Secret Sisterhood 


Souten Clothing

Mass & Muster


And thank you to our 2020 Major Donors, Trusts and Foundations.

Haverstock Hill Foundation

Australian Ethical Foundation

Morris Family Foundation

Vivienne Court Trading

Safavi Philanthropic Foundation

100 Women Foundation

Dawn Wade Foundation

Rachel Emma Ferguson Foundation

Thank you to these legendary In-Kind Partners for helping us do some really great work.


Nelson O'Neill

Volunteer Spotlight 

We wouldn’t be able to do what we do here at One GIrl without our amazing crew of volunteers, who selflessly donate their time to keep the wheels turning and help us change the world through our work. Even in 2020 we had some incredible people volunteer at One Girl, and we want to tell you about two very special ladies!

Meet Jeneba. 

Jeneba first came to One Girl as a Scholar at the Vine Memorial School. She started volunteering at the One Girl Sierra Leone office in 2019 and was an integral part of the team till early 2021. Jeneba has been supporting field officers and the administration and finance office. She is friendly, kind and always willing to help where she can. 

Meet Gaby.

Gaby joined the Programs team as a volunteer in 2020 and primarily worked on our newest program, Girl Tok. Gaby created wellness and self-care based content for the lessons, finding ways to increase ease of use and beauty within the program and assisting with monitoring and evaluations. She had such a great time, she even chose to stay on as a volunteer even after her official placement came to an end! 

 “The environment that the One Girl team created showed me how female-led, girl-driven thinking and practice creates a whole new world of possibility for everyone. I love how everyone working with and alongside One Girl walk the feminist walk in every sense - making sure girls’ voices are heard, that the discourse is accessible to everyone and that their work is having a real impact.”

– Gaby, One Girl Volunteer

  Money Talk 

We are so pleased to have come out the other side of 2020 stronger than ever! Thanks to our incredible community of supporters for sticking with us last year, we were still able to achieve 93% of our pre-COVID-19 fundraising target, which has put us in a great position to put more back into our programs in 2021 and get them back on track! 

We spent less than planned on our programs in 2020 due to COVID’s interruption and having to pause a number of them, but that has just made us even more excited to see what we can do in 2021 (and beyond!).

Read our 2020 Financial Statement in full (and all our statements from previous years!) by clicking below! 


2020 Financial Statement

Greetings from our wonderful new CEO!  

I am thrilled to be part of the One Girl community, and amazed at the achievements in 2020, given the unprecedented year it was for us all. For One Girl, 2020 also truly demonstrated the commitment of One Girl’s supporter community. We thank you all for your generosity over the past year (and years).

I am honoured to be working with and for a community that believes in a world where all girls have access to quality education, and boldly steps up to break down the barriers that girls face in accessing an education.

Watch this space for One Girl’s plans for the future, and we look forward to your continued support. For now, on behalf of the One Girl teams in Melbourne and Sierra Leone we say a huge thank you for all your support!


One Girl CEO


And there we go, what a year it was! Upon reflection on 2020, we’re stoked to see that it was actually a pretty great year for us here at One Girl. Our programs may look a little different coming out the other side, but our focus and commitment did not waver, we held strong. And that’s the biggest win we could have hoped for!

Thank you again for your support throughout 2020 – for helping One Girl educate as many girls as possible and continue the fight for girls’ and women’s rights, everywhere.

Love, the One Girl team x

Want to share all the good news with your crew?

Download this super handy summary page, featuring our 2020 highlights! 


One Girl 2020 Annual Report – Summary