Save the Children Boosts First Lady’s National Girls Campaign 2017

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Save the Children Boosts First Lady’s National Girls Campaign 2017

By Jeremiah Sawyerr

A child welcomes first Lady to opening ceremony of NGC 2017. Photo credited by Jeremiah Sawyerr

Tuesday, 22 August 2017, marked the last day of the fourth Annual National Girl’s Camp at Milton Margai College in Goderich Freetown. Being a flagship initiative of the First Lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, this girls’ camp brought together girls from all districts across the country to participate in a ten-day adolescent development and empowerment residential camp.

Supported by Save the Children and other child protection partners including UNICEF, the National Girl’s Camp (NGC) aimed to empower 100 vulnerable and marginalized girls with knowledge, life skills and tools for personal health and development, educate them on their rights, entitlements and roles in national development, cultivate leadership qualities, promote positive attitudes and livelihood skills and opportunities for out of school girls.

During the opening ceremony HE, Mrs. Koroma emphasized the need for the state to invest more in girls for a sustainable future:

“Girl child development is hinged on the values we place on women and girls. For this reason government must make education of girls a national priority. As a nation, we must address the ongoing challenges of child marriage, teenage pregnancy, child mothers and maternal deaths as they continue to hinder adolescent girls’ development in Sierra Leone.”

In her concluding statement, the First Lady named and thanked Save the Children for their contribution and acknowledged as it a boost to NGC 2017.

To show the level of commitment to girl’s rights, education and protection Save the Children contributed 7,000 USD to cover activities, which included the provision of100 back to school packs comprised of Ruck Sacks, Exercise Books, Mathematical Sets, Dictionaries and Core Standard Text Books. We also played a critical role in the planning and implementation of the event, providing child protection staff to mobilise and monitor the girls as well as provide counselling and mentoring support.

One impact of the girls’ camp has been individual growth and social activism among adolescent girls and the establishment of an organization for women and adolescent empowerment by girls, for girls. The organization aims to increase employment opportunities among young women, provide opportunities for growth and livelihood maintenance.  Girls who have participated in the camp for two consecutive years are entitled to become members of the Girls Camp Organization.

Key achievements from this camp includes scholarship opportunities for girls to pursue further studies in Sierra Leone and abroad. This year two girls were awarded scholarships in China.

The girls’ camp has been a dynamic initiative which has led to positive outcomes for vulnerable girls in Sierra Leone. Save the Children will continue to support such initiatives and advocate for continued investment in girls to ensure that they survive are educated and are protected for better outcomes. 

NGC participants with First Lady at NGC 2017. Photo credited by Jeremiah Sawyerr