For Our Girls

Isata Kabia
Posted July 1, 2020 from Sierra Leone
For Our Girls
University student mentees under our Voice of Women program, distributing hand wash stations and supplies to communities.

Having endured the harsh realities of the Ebola epidemic, one would expect that we were well prepared for a pandemic. The socio- economic shocks and long lasting effects of Ebola are realities we were still trying to overcome.

The prolonged periods out of school left us with increased teen pregnancies, a situation that was already concerning.

As in any crisis, women and girls are disproportionately affected. During covid-19 some countries are overwhelmed by the health response and are not able to minimize the education impact: the existing gap will increase.

In March 2020 I realized that we must do more to protect our girls because this particular crisis could only result in a steeper gap in education, for countries such as ours without universal digital reach.

I wanted to keep our secondary and university mentees safe and productively active. We discussed having zoom meetings and online assignments. But for countries where phones and internet are not ubiquitous it is nearly impossible.

I designed community engagements instead: older mentees were in charge of identifying and choosing communities to which we would distribute hand wash stations, soap and sanitizer, with a short skit on covid-19 protocols, as they made the distribution. 

We later added masks to our community donations and they coordinated manufacturing, in particular, with a group of polio affected tailors to whom we gave one of the contracts, so they too could earn during this downtime.

Our older mentees were responsible for checking on the younger ones. This way we had a chain of communication, and contact to all.

With universities still closed, and schools open only for students with exams, we still need to mitigate the loss of learning. For our girls, the protracted loss of learning and continued loss of daily income to families directly impacts their future.

This story was submitted in response to Become a Featured Changemaker.

Comments 11

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Chi8629
Jul 02
Jul 02

Thank you for sharing .
Thank you for all you do .
You are loved .

Isata Kabia
Jul 02
Jul 02

Thank you Chi8629 Love is the best way to get anything done. Protection of women and girls requires a combination of tools. I believe education is one of them.

Hello again, Isata,

You're a force to reckon with. Kudos to you for these community engagements. Not even the pandemic can stop you from training girls and reaching out to communities. Great job, dear sister! Keep it up.

Please stay safe always.

Isata Kabia
Jul 03
Jul 03

We do what we can. And pray we have the strength to continue doing what is needed. It’s tough, but women are tougher! We will win!

Amen, sis!

Veronica Ngum Ndi
Jul 07
Jul 07

Hey Isata
You are doing great works,courage.This is how we as sisters need to be one anther's keeper.God bless you and your team
In sisterhood
Veronica Ngum
Cameroon

Isata Kabia
Jul 07
Jul 07

Thank you Veronica, it means a lot. We must give each other to keep on trying. These small things matter. I appreciate you.

Beth Lacey
Jul 07
Jul 07

This is great and successful work

Isata Kabia
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you Beth. It is so fulfilling.

Anita Shrestha
Jul 13
Jul 13

Thank you for sharing

Isata Kabia
Jul 16
Jul 16

Thank you, Anita.