At One Girl, we are alllll about partnerships and local ownership. And this is exactly the approach we took to roll out Rights, Relationships and Respect in Sierra Leone!
We worked directly with partner communities to support and empower women and girls to make informed decisions about themselves and their bodies, through raising awareness and increasing their agency. Rights, Relationships and Respect aimed to promote leadership amongst young women and girls, increase sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) knowledge and access to services, and increase STD/I detection within the community.
Poor outcomes in girls' education are often linked to the lack of both SRHR knowledge and access to appropriate services, on both an individual and community level.
Teenage pregnancy rates in Sierra Leone are considerably high, with the country having the 13th highest rate of teenage pregnancy globally in 2017, according to the World Bank. Increasing knowledge of SRHR in schools and amongst girls could contribute significantly to lowering this rate (and even save lives). In Sierra Leone, pregnancy complications are the number one killer of girls, accounting for a quarter of all deaths of girls aged between 15-19.
This is how it worked!
Securing both community involvement and engagement was absolutely essential to the success of this program, to ensure that knowledge sharing would continue beyond the confinements of the program.
We partnered with Marie Stopes International who assisted in the provision of comprehensive training to community members, LaunchPad champions' and One Girl Sierra Leone staff; who then reached an incredible 850 people through their hard work!
These superstar leaders went out into their communities and shared their learnings with men, boys, parents, schools, and of course, young women and girls. By using local language and interactive activities such as storytelling and dramatic performances, they were able to reach a wide range of community members, and have a pretty big impact!
Just keep flowing
Rights, Relationships and Respect was all about transforming and empowering; creating ongoing, lasting change within communities.
Champions and community members were equipped with the tools and skills to continue sharing their knowledge with others, who in turn could then share what they learned with others around them.
This is a flow on effect, and it will continue to drive further education and knowledge sharing!