At an event to mark the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child, Street Child's Sierra Leone Country Director Kelfa Kargbo announced the launch of a major consultation exercise with more than 2,000 adolescent girls, in preparation for Street Child's 2016 focus on improving access to education for adolescent girls in Sierra Leone and Liberia.
In a moving address, Kelfa clearly articulated the issue:
“How can it be right that when you look at the early classes of any primary school, you see roughly equal numbers of boys and girls, but by the time you look at a senior secondary School you can see twice as many boys as girls?
"We know that there are huge benefits to educating girls. Educated women earn more – an extra 15% for every year of school completed. They have fewer children, later, and are more likely to ensure that they are immunized and, importantly, also educated properly”.
Kelfa set out why he feels that now there is a superb and unique post-Ebola opportunity to tackle on this issue, saying that despite the entrenched nature of some of the challenges facing girls' education:
“One thing we have learned during this Ebola crisis is that everything can change, even things we previously thought untouchable: burial customs, other rituals, greetings and so much else”.
Street Child will produce a report of consultation findings in November 2015.