Young people are fighting for girls rights in Sierra Leone.
Every year on 11th October, the world celebrates the International Day of the Girl Child, and this year’s theme is “My voice, our equal future.” Today, we are taking time to engage with adolescent girls and their communities across Sierra Leone to promote their rights.
In Sierra Leone, girls face added challenges in their lives, simply because they are girls. Data from 2015 showed that nearly 40% of girls in Sierra Leone are married before their 18th birthday. Teenage pregnancy is one of the main reasons girls drop out of school and 28% of girls aged 15-19 are already mothers or currently pregnant.
Our work with adolescent girls in Sierra Leone focuses on reducing the barriers they face, supporting them to overcome challenges, and equipping them with the skills and resources to reach their full potential.
Currently, Restless Development is delivering two programmes that support adolescent girls across the country – Unite for Save Lives Nar Salone and Leave No Girl Behind – both funded by UK aid from the UK government.
This celebration is an opportunity for civil society, government, and communities to send a message to the world about the importance of gender equality.
We must ensure that young girls are protected, know their rights, have a sense of belonging, are able and motivated to succeed and have confidence in their leadership skills. We must also ensure that the wider society recognises and responds to the voices of girls in decision making processes.
To celebrate this day, Restless Development is supporting our young Sierra Leonean volunteers to work with over 200 communities to:
- Raise awareness about the potential of girls, and challenges that they face in Sierra Leone
- Engage their community members to increase their knowledge about adolescent girls and the importance of this day
- Support girls to understand their rights, and consider their values and self-awareness
- Mentor girls for one week (11th to the 17th of October) and discussions with them about sexual violence, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy
- Meeting with community leaders to discuss girls rights and education
All across Sierra Leone, young people are taking a leading role in speaking up about the rights of girls. Through community engagement and advocacy, they are highlighting how girls should be treated by their families and in society.