By Amy Juelsgaard, Program Associate
On February 13, Sierra Leonean fellows Salwa Campbell (2016) and Magdalene Peters (2015), launched a mentorship program for girls at the Annie Walsh Memorial School in Freetown. The program, Creating a Path to the Future, will reach 400 secondary school girls and provide them with opportunities to discover their potential during a six-month mentorship. In Sierra Leone, girls are required to select their course track at this stage in their educational career, and many of their decisions are influenced by limitations from grades, as well as pressure from parents. The group mentorship will help them make informed career decisions. “Young girls have the potential to demonstrate a positive identity when they have a sense of personal well-being and a sense of connection and commitment to others. When they gain knowledge, skills and attitude, they demonstrate an ability that prepares them for the future,” Salwa said.
The mentorship will focus on networking, knowledge and skill transfer, career development, professional development and situational guidance. Salwa and Magdalene plan to conduct the mentoring sessions and also host separate sessions for girls interested in STEM. They will count on the girls’ parents and teachers to assist in the process by encouraging the girls to explore a variety of professions.
Once the initial mentorship finishes, Salwa and Magdalene will conduct an evaluation to receive feedback from the participants. They plan to look at satisfaction level with the mentorship, and also look at new skills, behaviors or abilities the girls have gained as a result of their participation. Their feedback will help shape the program in the coming years.