Grant awarded to International Rescue Committee (IRC) “She Leads” Project

The Foundation is again pleased to partner with the IRC for their “She Leads” project.

TheIRC was founded in 1933 by Albert Einstein to aid Germans suffering under Hitler. More than 80 years later, they are working in over 40 countries helping people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict or disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.

Adolescent girls in Liberia are vulnerable to all forms of violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). Men in positions of power frequently use their resources and influence to control decisions made by adolescent girls and their parents, which in turn contribute to early sexual relationships, early pregnancy, and school dropout. Having access to opportunities and resources can enable adolescent girls to achieve their goals and reduce vulnerability to sexual exploitation and abuse. With a grant from the Kathryn B. McQuade Foundation, the IRC proposes to work with the 150 girls from the current and previous cohorts of the Irish Aid-funded She Leads1 project to develop adolescent girls’ social networks and reduce their vulnerability to violence. The IRC will expand on the She Leads Project by providing mentorship to five cohorts of girl groups using its Girls Shine curriculum. The Girls Shine Curriculum is a mentorship model designed to: • Build girls’ knowledge of their own health and wellbeing • Facilitate discussion and reflection on cultural norms that serve as barriers to girls reaching their goals • Help girls develop skills to build self-esteem and self-efficacy.

The IRC Liberia team proposes to utilize funding from the Foundation to build upon the gains made through the She Leads and Girl Empower projects in three specific ways: • Provide ten recent project graduates with academic scholarships and unconditional cash transfers. The scholarships will enable these girls to continue their education at primary and secondary levels. The unconditional cash transfers will allow girls to cover basic living expenses while in school. • Provide conditional cash transfers based on attendance to 150 participants in the next cohort of life skills trainees through the She Leads program, which begins December 2018. • Provide mentorship to five groups of graduates (150 total) from the 2017-2018 Girls Shine cohort to facilitate and lead a Girls Social Network. This will provide an opportunity for them to reach out into their communities to further expand their networks and share their learning with other girls in their communities.

The proposed program will provide mentorship to 150 recent Girls Shine graduates to equip them to serve as mentors to other adolescent girls in their communities under a new Girls Social Network. Participation in the networks will motivate the new mentors to continue applying knowledge gained through Girl Shine and growing their social networks. As prior participants of the program, their experiences and reflections of the Girl Shine curriculum and implementation will add value to IRC as well as to the next generation of girl groups.