Two young women from Senegal transporting water
Two young women from Senegal transporting water. iStock

Changing Attitudes and Empowering Young Girls in Senegal

By Annabel Beales, Collaboration Lead, Business Fights Poverty

The ISMEA pilot project, supported by the World Bank and the Global Financing Facility, empowers young girls in impoverished regions of Senegal. It transforms futures through education and support on health, hygiene and entrepreneurship.

 “I can see now that I have prospects. I want to become someone and help lift my family out of poverty. Only then I will think about marriage.” 

Mariama, Senegal.

This is the personal impact that the Invest in Maternal and Child Health – ISMEA pilot project had on Mariama, a 13-year-old girl living in Goudiry, Senegal.

ISMEA is a government-led project, supported by the World Bank and the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents, and delivered through local partnerships. In Goudiry, it provided space for girls living in an impoverished region of Senegal with education and support on issues like menstrual hygiene, reproductive health, female genital mutilation and early marriage, as well as providing access to literacy and entrepreneurial skills training. It has lifted the ambitions of young women like Mariama, and has also changed the views of their family members.

Now, ISMEA is being rolled out so that a further 50,000 girls can benefit too.

Girls like Mariama are the raîson d’etre for the Global Financing Facility’s #DeliverTheFuture Campaign, which is seeking $800 million in investment from governments and other donors before the end of this year. This investment is then used to crowd in additional funding from donors, to scale effective innovations, and strengthen country health systems for women, children and adolescents.

Read more about Miriama’s story in Changing attitudes and empowering young girls in Senegal, by Maty Dia, CSO Engagement Specialist, Global Financing Facility. The article was originally published in the World Bank Blog.

“I met Mariama in her hometown of Goudiry, in the region of Tambacounda. Situated in the east of Senegal, Tambacounda is one of the country’s most impoverished, marginalized regions, with some of the worst levels of health and education outcomes. The region is hours from Dakar, the capital, where I grew up and had the privilege of enjoying modern amenities, a high-quality education and easily accessible healthcare services….” Continue reading.

Editor’s note: Business Fights Poverty are currently running a collaboration with the Global Financing Facility on Delivering Healthier Futures for Women, Children and Adolescents: What is the Role of Business? We warmly invite you to participate, to share your experience, to spread the word about GFF’s #DeliverTheFuture campaign, and to connect with others who are working on this important topic. Find out more here.

Original World Bank Blog by Maty Dia, CSO Engagement Specialist, Global Financing Facility.

Summary by Annabel Beales, Collaboration Lead, Business Fights Poverty.

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