Through a girl-led, participatory grant-making process, Purposeful amplifies girls’ voices, resources their resistance, builds solidarity between and across girls’ movements, catalyses collaborative philanthropy and supports innovation in grassroots programming with and for girls. After years of informal and formal support to the Sierra Leone Adolescent Girls Network, Purposeful are now part of a growing ecosystem of organizations working with and for girls, with a need to find ways to better understand its impact and improve future strategies.
Purposeful’s new Safe Space program, SAGE (Supporting Adolescent Girls Empowerment) is supported by DFID and is fostering partnerships with seven local organizations in Sierra Leone. SAGE was designed as an integrated programme to improve the lives of adolescent girls. It brings together many years of evidence-based best practice on the safe space model, layered with innovative programme additions that support girls’ abilities to create the change they want to see in the world. The programme focuses on five key areas:
- Safe Spaces: teaching girls life skills, literacy and numeracy, as well as improving access to key sexual and reproductive health, education and protection services.
- Community Engagement: creating community conversations alongside safe spaces to encourage progressive male voices in communities
- Girl-Led Research: amplifying girls’ voices by encouraging girls to gather insights of other adolescent girls to reveal new insights.
- Girl-Led Advocacy: influencing structures and systems from the community level out, and linking into Purposeful’s existing national advocacy work.
- Business Incubation: piloting collectivised income generation activities attached to safe spaces, including girls farming collectives, girls Ocado collectives, and girls solar power collectives.
Overall, Itad’s support is intended to assess the project’s progress in achieving its core outcomes and to test the assumptions underpinning the initiative’s Theory of Change.
Image: Schoolgirl lines up ready for class in Sierra Leone. Credit: Geraint Hill