Purposeful has awarded over 1 Billion Leones to Sierra Leonean girls’ and young women led groups in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Josephine Kamara

Twenty-six groups led by girls and young women in Sierra Leone have received grants between 10,000,000–50,000,000 leones (1,000–5,000 dollars) to support bold and creative approaches towards responding to the COVID-19 crisis. These awards are made as part of the Purposeful led Global Resilience Fund — a crisis response funding partnership between social justice funders that are committed to supporting girls and young women through the COVID-19 crisis. The global funds have reached 37 other formal and informal girl-led groups in Asia, Europe, Africa and America.

This Fund totalling 1.4 billion leones will contribute to ongoing work by recipients to support girls during this challenging period, reach girls with accurate information and useful tools to protect them from sexual violence, improve their livelihood and keep them and their communities safe from Corona virus.

Theriyeh Koroma, Founder of Feminist United, said the “support will help us maintain the great momentum we’ve built on educating girls about their rights and building strong support network within the community to protect girls against sexual violence that pikes during lockdown.” The 26 grant awardees are from Bombali, Kambia, Kenema, Bo, Koinadugu, Moyamba, Port Loko, Western Area Urban and Rural Districts. Mariama Fortune, from Bo District, expressed how difficult it was for her group to obtain funding from big organisations: “organisations don’t have the confidence to trust funds in our hands because we are a young group, and we are all girls.”

Knowing that in a global health and economic crisis, girls will continue to be the worst affected and the least considered for funding opportunities, Purposeful lowered the barrier for girls to access the funding opportunity by designing a simplified process and encouraging girls’ groups that do not have access to computers or the internet to fill paper application forms or submit applications verbally over the phone — designating a team to support groups during the application process.

Isha Conteh Morgan, one of the lead coordinators of the grant-making model, highlighted how intentional Purposeful is about reaching and connecting girls across Sierra Leone with funding opportunities: “At some point, when we noticed that applications were coming in at a slow pace, we reached out to our existing network of partners and other organisations working across the country, to identify girls who have been organising in the community and we went further to call these girls and inform them about the funding opportunity and how they can apply.”

At the end of the application process, 226 projects were presented to a panel of 6 girls between 16–20 years old selected from Bo, Makeni, Pujehun, Moyamba and Freetown.

The all-girl panel relied on their lived experiences as Sierra Leonean girls, backed by a series of training on a participatory grant-making model curated by girl programming experts from Purposeful, to inform their decisions on what projects would have the most impact for girls.

Some of the ideas selected involve spreading safety messages through songs, eradicating period poverty by the distribution of dignity/sanitary kits, feminist education among young people, running girls-only spaces, and agricultural collectives to improve livelihood for girls.

Meet the Sierra Leonean girls’ and young women led groups who received the Karo Kura Resilience Fund — Click here

The Resilience Fund is facilitated by Purposeful — an African rooted feminist hub for girl’s activism headquartered in Sierra Leone and working around the world. Purposeful is meeting the administrative costs of the fund from its own core resources as an act of solidarity with activist communities in this moment.

A feminist movement-building hub that amplifies girls’ voices, resources their resistance, builds solidarity and catalyses collaborative philanthropy.