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Girls Empowerment: Education makes girls strong

This scholarship program supports socially disadvantaged and talented girls for twelve months each through regular meetings, excursions, Skype conferences, further training in IT and the financing of food, transport costs, books, fees and school supplies.

The aim of the scholarship program is to support socially disadvantaged, talented and particularly committed girls in Sierra Leone. The scholarship holders are selected in several interviews and then sponsored for one year. They can apply a second time. The program strengthens the talents and interests of the young girls: It includes Skype conferences with young successful women from abroad, field trips to political institutions and training girls in the increasingly relevant field of information and communication technologies. The association also finances school uniforms, special fees, lunches, transportation costs, books and school supplies for the scholarship holders. The project "Girls Empowerment" was initiated by our association member Kornelia Holzhausen in September 2019.

April 2022: Delegation visit for the scholarship holders

For the visit of the delegation of the association, which consisted of 10 committed friends and supporters, the scholarship holders from the Girls Empowerment Project prepared self-designed presentations on political and social topics. After introductory words by Ms. Bendu and Ms. Holzhausen and a detailed round of introductions, the girls presented their talks. In groups of two, topics such as "Why democracy?" and "Why are women better leaders?" were discussed. The girls had the courage to share personal experiences and address even difficult topics. The second part of the program consisted of a strengths workshop built on the assumption that "empowering" is knowing your strengths. The "happiness class" concept began with a round of introductions in a circle of chairs, in which each girl was asked to name one of her strengths, which had been worked out in advance in an online strengths test. The next step was to reflect on the results of the strength test in the group. At the end, each girl took home three of her character strengths visualized on a sheet of paper. The open discussion and the mode of questioning seemed unusual at first, but then the exchange became easier and the round became more lively. The feedback was thoroughly positive.



September 2021: New selection round for scholarship holders of the program's third cohort closed

The project leader, Adama Bendu, the country director, Joseph Cole, and the intern, Jessica Linke, together with the board of directors, completed the final selection round for the third cohort of the program after working out new criteria. 50 young women applied for the Scholarship, 15 in-person interviews were conducted, and 8 girls were selected to participate in the program.

August 2021: New intern

A qualified intern in the field of social pedagogy with a focus on women's work in the context of development cooperation from Germany has been on assignment in the field since September 2021 to support the Girls Empowerment Program. 

Jessica Linke is currently working on individual Gap-Year designs for the girls of our first year, the "Senior Class": together they develop plans to further develop themselves personally and according to their own interests after successfully completing school in the transition phase between studying and starting a career. The plans include various internships, a joint social project, a first aid course, the further development of IT skills and the acquisition of a driver's license.

July 2021: The Girls Empowerment Project wins the RELX Cares Challenge

We are pleased to announce that the Girls Empowerment Program has been named the second winning project in Elsevier Publishing's RELX Cares Challenge, receiving a $2,500 award. The RELX Cares global program supports employee volunteer activities that have a positive impact on society. In addition to local initiatives that are meaningful to employees, the program focuses on educating disadvantaged young people. The funds will benefit the Girls Empowerment Project. 

Furthermore, the following initiative will be implemented: 15 female employees of Elsevier Publishing will be interviewed in English. The 15-minute interviews will focus on the female employees' curriculum vitae, family and interests. The recordings will be provided to the Girls Empowerment Project to offer girls a window into the world. The look into the lives of confident and professionally successful women will help the girls make better decisions about their future career and personal development.

Mid-2020: Current program currently suspended

The current program is currently suspended due to the Corona epidemic. The initial relief effort also distributed hygiene items and food to the families of the scholarship recipients. The girls also received additional learning and reading materials.

Spring 2020: New scholarship holders, more courage!

Starting in the fall of 2020, the second year of the program will begin with up to 15 girls to empower even more young girls in Sierra Leone. Up to 10 new applicants will be selected to join our Girls Empowerment scholarship program, application forms have already been distributed to four schools. The five current scholarship recipients may also reapply. The final selection will be made in personal meetings with Kornelia Holzhausen and the Board of Directors in the summer.  At the same time, the concept for next year's program is currently being developed together with the social worker and teachers.

December 2019: Empowering more and more girls

After a selection process, the association has accepted 4 new scholarship holders into the second cohort of the program. The girls of the "Junior class" have received their initial equipment and started with the computer training. Laptops for ICT training were provided by the non-profit association Labdoo. 

September 2019: To encourage and strengthen girls

A framework program is currently being coordinated on site, which is to take place every two weeks, promoting the talents of the girls, and provide insights into other worlds over a free lunch. Joseph Cole, our project manager in Sierra Leone, and Kornelia Holzhausen plan all the details to successfully implement the program to strengthen the scholarship holders. The girls are looked after directly by the social worker Miss Adama Jibao. In a kickoff meeting, the program was presented to the scholarship holders and their parents, and the first school materials and uniforms were distributed.

Girls Empowerment

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