THE STREET CHILD NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON ADOLESCENT GIRLS’ EDUCATION IN SIERRA LEONE
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Specialist Street Child research teams in Sierra Leone spent two weeks in late October 2015 conducting one-to-one interviews with 146 focus groups in 32 different urban, peri-urban and rural locations with over 2,000 adolescent girls, both in and out of school. The girls were asked to articulate the greatest barriers they saw to their education – and also recommend their own solutions. Many of the issues they raised affect all vulnerable children in different ways – others are unique to girls.
The 5 key issues identified by the 2,000 girls consulted: (1) poverty; (2) loss of key care-givers; (3) teenage pregnancy; (4) early marriage; and (5) insufficiently supportive adults and communities. The five major solutions proposed by the 2,000 girls were: (1) financial support for education; (2) business support to parents; (3) improved school facilities and teachers; (4) advocacy; and (5) counselling support for girls.
It is from these conversations that we designed our Girls Speak Out Appeal, which raised funds to directly impact upon the issues raised by the girls we spoke to - all funds raised or donated to the appeal were doubled by the UK government as part of the UK Aid Match appeal.