"[The program] offered me counseling and to pay my school fees. I was so happy and I promised to take good care of myself!”
This number represents the number of girls that have participated in our football competitions, participated in anti-violence school clubs, organized debates, and attended sessions in schools.
Estimated girls & women affected
This includes the number of people targeted through the community meetings and radio campaigns (957) and the people reached from the leadership club members passing on their knowledge to their peers and family members, particularly to sisters and mothers.
Estimated community members affected
One year ago you chose to support our partner Women’s Partnership for Justice and Peace and Justice (WPJP) in Sierra Leone. Your generous support has supported young girls to know their rights and become agents of change in their communities. Since then, 120 pupils and teachers have become members of anti-violence school clubs. They have learned about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriage, their human rights, sexual harassment, and have also used their knowledge to spread the word in their schools by running quizzes and debates. Support has been given to the clubs, and they in turn provide support for girl survivors of violence, as well as work in close collaboration with local authorities on prevention plans for their schools and communities.
Due to the success of the three-day workshop that was detailed in our 90-day report, a six-day workshop for 80 pupils and teachers was also conducted on two different occasions. These focused on female genital mutilation, early marriage, sexual and reproductive rights, violence against women and girls, and women’s human rights.
Mary got pregnant when a government worker forced her to stop taking contraception. “I wanted to finish school but I had to drop out. Having a child is a lot to handle; I was alone with a crying baby all the time. I desperately wanted to go back to school but I couldn't pay my school fees. I heard about WPJP when I was at school. I went there and told them about my nightmare. They offered me counseling to pay my school fees. I was so happy and I promised to take good care of myself.”
Risks and challenges
- Changes in attitudes about women’s rights as human rights in communities can be slow. Gender relations are power relations and some men, including teachers, may resist the change.
- Some acts of violence against women and girls do not have legal provisions, and this is frustrating for women who learn their rights only to find out it is not covered by law in their country.
- The distances between the girls’ homes and their schools are often big. Most of the girls are at risk of being harassed by men and male students as they walk along the bush roads.
- Many survivors of violence have their cases compromised. For example, some perpetrators bribe their parents to drop the charges.
What we’ve learned
When WPJP surveyed participants of the program, they gave the following recommendations:
- Women in the communities need to be supported to gain employment so they are better equipped to stand on their own after surviving violence.
- Survivors also need support for medical bills, transportation, and accommodation when pursuing cases in court.
- School girls need help with fees, uniforms, and books.
- Also, the campaign for the elimination of discriminatory laws and inclusion of legal provisions for women and girl survivors needs to be intensified to have more impact.
- Furthermore, we need to establish mechanisms for transparency and accountability and make sure that as many people as possible in communities can participate.
We are currently applying for more funding for this project. Due to its success we are hoping to expand the work to another district, creating more girls leadership clubs and running more community campaigns. However, the most immediate need in this community (and others in Sierra Leone) is to contain and stop the spread of Ebola. We have been working with our partner, the Women’s Partnership for Justice and Peace on this and launched an emergency appeal in August to support community sensitization and health supplies.
The money for computers was actually put towards the anti-violence campaign costs, as this was a more effective way to spend it.
Amount spent so far
Training workshops for 120 pupils and teachers
Development of anti-violence campaign & posters
85% of the pupils and teachers trained report having acquired knowledge and skills about violence against women and women’s rights. Contributing to girls’ retention and completion of school is going well. According to last year’s school report in Kori, only five girls dropped out as compared to 20 in 2011/2012. The Women’s Partnership for Justice and Peace was commended in one of the chiefdom community meetings for running a community campaign for the elimination of laws in the constitution that are unfavourable to women and girls.
Girls in Sierra Leone are agents of changeposted by Isabel Garcia on April 3, 2014
Thanks to your support, we hosted a 3-day workshop for 40 people - 10 teachers & 30 students- on issues related to early marriage, teenage pregnancy, Female Genital Mutilation, and sexual harassment. Participants made plans to address the issues in their school and community female football game was organized! Mothers and female teachers of the students made up the teams. This was an opportunity to educate communities about women and girls taking on different roles and to reach out to the spectators about Female Genital Mutilation and early forced marriage. In addition, we met with 1,500 students, teachers, and community members to raise awareness on violence against women, sexual abuse, and women’s rights in schools and in the community. 100 pupils (32 female and 68 male students) took part in the awareness meetings! Through four radio discussions and fun musical jingles, our messages on women’s rights and sexual violence reached nearly 1,000 community members. Lastly, two new school clubs were formed, with over 30 members.
Risks and challenges
We recognize that changing attitudes about women’s rights is a slow process. Gender relations are sensitive topics and some men, including teachers, may resist the change. Also, we work to keep students safe, as we understand that long distances from communities to schools means many girls are at risk of being harassed by men as they walk along the bush roads. Futhermore, many sexual violence cases are underreported by school authorities, family members, and chiefdom authorities. Thanks to your support, we’re working to change that!
JK was 16 years old when her teacher started sexually abusing her. Her teacher asked JK to bring water to his house, which she did. But when she arrived, he assaulted her. Her family noticed she had new clothes and money. They suspected that JK’s teacher was trying to keep her quiet. They reported the case to the Police. JK’s family said if it wasn’t for the training they received on how to spot abuse, and support girls to not feel ashamed, and to encourage them to disclose what happened, this situation might have continued.
Plans are under way to organise two more training workshop on women’s rights and legal rights for 100 secondary school youths and teachers in Kowa chiefdom. This will be followed by the formation of school clubs in two more secondary schools. The club members will be encouraged to spread messages about women’s rights and violence against women in their communities. More football games, quiz completions, and radio discussions will be also organised to bring awareness.
Up until now, we've spent $6,213.22 and are on track to spend all of the funds by the end of the year. The remaining funds from the training workshops will be spent on the next two workshops. The money allocated to computers has not been spent, as it was deemed more useful to be spent on awareness raising events in schools.
|Line Items||Original budget||Amount spent so far|
3 day training workshop for pupils and teachers
Development of anti-violence campaign and posters
Help work in schools in Sierra Leone to train girls to be agents of change.
Why we care: Violence against girls is widely accepted, and girls are largely unaware of their rights.
How we’re solving this: Helping a generation of young people to become agents of change for themselves and others in order to break the cycle of discrimination and violence against women and girls.
Girls in Sierra Leone are exposed to harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and forced early marriage. Many have to abandon their education as a result. Womankind Worldwide is working with a local women’s organization to train young people to be agents of change in their communities by setting up school clubs in six schools in southern Sierra Leone to educate girls on their rights, engage boys to eliminate violence, and help teachers to protect girls through activities and training sessions.
This project will support 120 female secondary school students and teachers to attend three-day workshops to learn about the rights of women and girls, specifically around issues of early/forced marriage, teenage pregnancy, FGM and sexual harassment.
Girls’ school clubs will be supported to organize activities within their schools and communities such as debates, quiz competitions, and poster campaigns and will perform dramas to be aired on the radio.
The activities will be led by the girls themselves, who will share their knowledge on rights with up to 16,800 more people in their communities. Young men and other young women will learn about girls’ rights to live without violence and discrimination through these activities.
- $46 per trainee for venue, trainer, transport