Business Brains

Sierra Leone

Girls mean Business

Business Brains Sierra Leone was designed to expand learning outside of the classroom, to support girls with some of life’s most important and useful things – such as financial literacy, decision making, menstrual hygiene management and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

There’s some pretty crucial life lessons that need to be explored through education, to help empower and ready young girls to take control of their lives and futures. For some girls around the world, lessons you may think are common sense and quite natural (like how to use sanitary pads) are just not taught by society or in schools. Plus, not all girls across the globe are in a position to access and attend school. So that’s where we come in!

Why Business Brains?

As a general rule, we want to see more young women in Sierra Leone become economically empowered, with more opportunities and increased employability for their future careers. Too often, young girls in Sierra Leone are unable to access school due to a number of barriers and uncontrollable forces, such as poverty or early pregnancy.

Business Brains was designed to create opportunities for learning outside of a traditional classroom setting, supporting girls and young women to learn and develop skills to become savvy business owners and industry professionals!

How Business Brains Worked

The first and main aspect of Business Brains was the creation of ‘safe spaces’, where girls could come together and learn in comfortable, supportive environments. Lessons took the form of ‘Girls Clubs’, where school-aged girls, who were either still in school or had dropped out, participated in essential lessons on numeracy, literacy and business skills. After completing Business Brains, some girls were able to transition back into school, whilst others were supported to undertake technical training across a variation of industries, such as green technology, telecommunications and tourism.

The second element of the program was the delivery of lessons within Sierra Leonean schools, teaching both girls and boys important information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, life skills, financial literacy, career development, menstrual hygiene management and sexual and gender based violence prevention and support. These are the big, necessary topics, helping to break down barriers, shatter taboos and reshape attitudes towards women and gender.

What we achieved!

  • 11,015 girls and young women received education in business and life skills
  • In 2019, 60% of participants had a savings plan in place and 20% had already saved money from their businesses. The majority of girls who completed Business Brains left feeling optimistic and hopeful about their future
  • Girls developed knowledge and understanding of expense planning
  • 81% of girls said they were optimistic about their future
  • After nearly three years of Business Brains in Sierra Leone in one community, teenage pregnancy cases have reduced from 56 in 2016 to 10 cases in 2018 – a reduction of 82%

What’s next?

Business Brains was an incredible program, helping to economically empower girls and young women in Sierra Leone. As an innovative and girl-led organisation, we are always adjusting our programs to suit girls' needs. We are now incorporating lessons from Business Brains Sierra Leone into our innovative, digital wellbeing program, Girl Tok, with our Business Brains alumni as mentors!