You know we’re committed to making sure our programs are having the biggest and most effective impact for girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda. So much so, we recently had an independent evaluator travel to Sierra Leone to review our Scholarships program!
We wanted this evaluator to take a good, in-depth look into the program; to analyse just how impactful it really is, and not just for the girls involved, but for everyone in their communities.
Not to toot our own horn, but the findings from this evaluation are pretty incredible.
We know that when a girl gets an education,
something extraordinary happens: her life, her community and her world changes! Economies grow; poverty shrinks. Families are happier; communities thrive.
But for too long, the potential of girls has been squashed. Poverty, early marriage, teen pregnancy, violence, illness, disability and household responsibilities being seen as the priority are all barriers that have prevented girls from completing school.
"When 130 million girls are unable to become engineers or journalists or CEOs because education is out of their reach, our world misses out on trillions of dollars that could strengthen the global economy, public health and stability.”
– Malala Yousafzai
Malala Fund co-founder and Nobel laureate.
That’s why our Scholarships program is so extraordinary! We find girls who are being held back by those barriers and we give her the tools she needs to smash them down.
We supply her with the material things like books, a bag, uniforms and a solar lamp to study at night. Her family and community supply her with emotional support, advice, encouragement and guidance through our Education and Women’s Committees and Fambul Toks (family talks).
The rest she does herself. This isn’t a handout — it’s simply opening a door that was previously closed and making sure it doesn’t hit her on the way through.
After not being in school for nearly four years, Bintu* has become a One Girl Scholar and has been studying back at school for more than three years now.
“I was going to school at first because my aunt was paying my fees … Later my aunt said she could no longer pay for me because she has no money. So I stopped going to school.
“When I met One Girl I thought, ‘Oh, my dreams are coming to pass’. I know that by going to school and studying hard I can become that great person.
“School is important because it helps each and every one in order for us to be able to achieve our dreams … I’ll help other people who are vulnerable and who cannot pay their school fees for themselves, if I am educated, if I have a job I’ll be able to help them as well.
“Going back to school has changed my life completely. Completely!”
— Bintu, Sierra Leone.
*We've changed Bintu's name to pretect her identity.
ONE GIRL SCHOLAR GRADUATION RATES
One Girl scholar graduation rates are at 88.2%, compared with the national average of 16%!
THEY ARE PAYING IT FORWARD
Most of the girls we interviewed are sharing the knowledge they’ve gained from the program with their family members, their friends and their community!
BARRIERS TO EDUCATION ARE REAL
But the program is helping girls to tear them down: By learning about sexual and reproductive health and being empowered to make decisions, girls are rejecting early pregnancy and traditional practices such as early marriage.
THE PROGRAM IS MAKING GIRLS MORE CONFIDENT
Many girls said now they have the tools and confidence to know that what they have to say matters!
COMMUNITIES ARE FEELING THE RIPPLE EFFECTS
There has been a major shift in the way girls’ education is perceived in all of the communities we work with!
We know girls aren’t “vulnerable” or hopeless. They have the determination, intelligence and strength to change their own circumstances. Our Scholarship program is simply giving girls an opportunity to unlock their potential!