In West Africa there is a dangerous, worrying fact facing vulnerable young girls looking for a fair start in life: they’re simply not being given the opportunity to stay in school.
UNICEF research shows that even a single year of high school has the potential to increase a young woman's future earnings by up to 25%. Investment in girls’ education also has a multiplier effect: educated girls benefit from better family planning and have healthier children who are more likely to remain in education themselves. But girls in Sierra Leone and Liberia are increasingly likely to drop out of school at this vital stage. As a nonprofit working at the very forefront of educational development in the region, Street Child felt it was imperative to find out why.
So we decided to ask them.
We spoke with 2,000 adolescent girls in the fall of 2015 to find out what they thought were the barriers to accessing education. And as Sierra Leone and Liberia are among the bottom 10% countries in the world for gender equality, we feel it is time to let these girls speak out.