And there’s 11 million more that may not return to school because of disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are many different barriers that stand in the way of millions of girls from accessing a safe and fair education. But when it comes down to it, girls are often denied an education, simply because they were born a girl. 

This is not okay. Education is a right, not a privilege. And all young people, no matter who or where they are born, deserve the right to quality education, equal opportunity and fair access to crucial resources. 

We’re here to make that happen.

At One Girl, we’re on a mission to educate girls.

Barriers to Girls' Education

Obstacles to gender equal education

  • Gender bias (in textbooks and teaching practices) 
  • Under-representation of female teachers 
  • School-related gender based violence
  • Social gender norms 
  • Barriers to welcoming pregnant girls and young mothers in school 
  • Place of residence 
  • Poverty 
  • Child or early marriage 

Girls’ education fast facts – Sierra Leone 

  • One in ten children will never attend school 
  • One girl to every two boys graduate high school 
  • 39% of girls are married before their 18th birthday
  • 13% of girls are married before the age of 15 

For girls in Sierra Leone, staying in school is often very difficult. Where she lives, her family’s income, race and gender biases, and certain traditional beliefs and practices can stand in her way of finishing either primary or secondary school.

According to UNESCO, girls in Sierra Leone are more likely than boys to drop out of school due to gender, geographic and socio-economic barriers. 67% of boys who drop out of school do so because of the pressure to earn a living, compared to 53% of girls who drop out due to social reasons.

Education Changes Everything.

We mean it. When you educate a girl, everything changes. It’s called the ripple effect. 

  • With every year of schooling, a girl’s income will increase by 20%. 
  • A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
  • For girls in sub-Saharan Africa, finishing primary school means she will be 10% less likely to fall pregnant as an adolescent. 
  • Educated women invest 90% of their income back into their families.
  • 37-41% reduction in global emissions by improving access to quality education, SRHR and modern contraceptives for girls.

When a girl is educated, her health, status, income and entire future changes for the better, and she will be more likely to educate her own family.  

She will have opportunity, choice and agency; and she will have the confidence and knowledge to make informed decisions about herself, her future and her family. And her community will benefit too! 

Plus, educating girls is the number one way to fight climate change, and create a fair and sustainable planet for all.

At One Girl, we leverage the power of education to create

positive change for girls and young women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Together, we can change the world, one girl at a time.


F Devignes, J Lamouri, M Boccalatte, MS Simao, 2021. Gender equality in education: Digging beyond the obvious. UNESCO-IIEP: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/gender-equality-education-digging-beyond-obvious-13854. 19 July 2021.

UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/ED/pdf/gmr-ec-4-50.pdf

UNESCO, https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse/girlseducation

UNICEF, IIEP-UNESCO Dakar, 2021, Education Sector Analysis of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Assessing the enabling environment for gender equality, Republic of Sierra Leone. ISBN: 978-92-803-1445-8

United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/phlntrpy/notes/clinton.pdf

The World Bank, https://blogs.worldbank.org/health/female-education-and-childbearing-closer-look-data