Girls’ access to education is a major problem in the Small Bo Chiefdom in Sierra Leone. The chiefdom is one of the most patriarchal chiefdoms in Sierra Leone, where the intensity of the eleven-year rebel war, outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus, and economic impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic are making women and young girls even more vulnerable. Men are traditionally viewed as the breadwinners and the community does not value educating girls; they believe their job will be to have children and take care of the home. If a family does send a girl to school, the girl is always the first to be taken out of school and made to work if the household faces financial difficulties. During the 2019-20 academic year, it was reported that 75% of girls dropped out of school compared to 25% of boys.
In response to this gross inequality in educational attainment, Edmund Rice Mission in West Africa is currently implementing a yearlong pilot project aiming to improve the educational status of 70 girls in the chiefdom who attend the St. Joseph Secondary School and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School. The project works with the community and relevant stakeholders to ensure that the girls are allowed to access education and to decrease the risk of them being withdrawn for childhood marriage, for family work or due to teenage pregnancy.The project will also increase community awareness and commitment to educating girls from marginalised families and increase understanding within the community of the benefits of girls being educated.
This project was launched in September, and we look forward to seeing the impact of these initiatives throughout the 2022-23 academic year.
Edmund Rice Development is a registered company limited by guarantee. Registered in Ireland, Registered Charity Number: 20071004, Company Number: 463400, Revenue Charitable Tax Exemption Number: CHY18492, Registered Address: 23 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 AR55.
Edmund Rice Development is a registered company limited by guarantee registered in the UK & Wales, Charity Reg. No. 1098358, Co. Reg. No: 4229228, Registered Address: 3rd Floor, New Oxford House, 75 Dale St, Liverpool L2 2HT, England.