Project Literacy

Project Literacy

Sierra Leone
Budget: 
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This project’s aim is to create a national magazine for teenage girls in Sierra Leone, West Africa that promotes literacy, female leadership, and economic development. We believe that investing in girls’ literacy will close the educational gender gap and in effect stimulate economic growth in the country.

About You
Section 1: About You
First Name

Mariama

Last Name

Kabia

Website
Country

, VA

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Organization Name
Organization Phone
Organization Address
Organization Country
How long has this organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

Among Sierra Leonean citizens 15-24 years old, 64% of boys are literate as opposed to only 44% of literate girls . In many Sierra Leonean families, women are the primary stakeholders, yet due to the lack of literacy, females are inhibited from becoming greater decision-makers in society. In an economy struggling to fully recover from the decade long civil war, women now have the opportunity to improve their economic conditions.

We believe that creating a national magazine that transmits ideas of education, leadership, and economic development to girls 10-15 years old will have a strong impact on both women and the greater society. The magazine has three objectives:

o Literacy. Stimulate girls’ interest in reading to help them develop academically.
o Girls’ Leadership. Showcase leadership skills such as public speaking, taking initiative, and asserting oneself with confidence.
o Economic Development. Promote national consumerism by highlighting products/ businesses that girls would be interested in and give basic financial information that relates to their age and lifestyle

Catering to 10-15 year old girls will have the highest impact because that is the time when many Sierra Leonean girls terminate their studies . Since magazines are simple to read especially in a population with low literacy, a magazine would be the ideal medium to capture girls’ attention and relate these points. There are virtually no magazines currently in the market and certainly no literature targeted towards teen girls, therefore this project would truly be an innovation.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

Approximately 350 words left (2000 characters).

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

Approximately 250 words left (1200 characters).

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. What might prevent that success?

Approximately 250 words left (1200 characters).

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

Approximately 350 words left (1200 characters).

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation

Partnerships are crucial to this project’s success. In doing research, partnerships with NGOs on the ground such as Campaign for Good Governance and UNICEF would help us logistically with conducting first-hand research in the country. We are initiating contact with organizations that share our mission statement and others such as MacMillan in Africa and Scholastic that would be interested in distributing our magazine to schools. Additionally, through my internship this summer at the Embassy of Sierra Leone in the US, I will gain more information about how the magazine can best serve girls in the country and also garner government support for our magazine initiative.

In creating the magazine, the project plans to recruit students from the University of Sierra Leone. Specifically, we hope to work with students in the Mass Communications Institute in order to form a fellowship program whose members would serve as the editorial staff. They would be in regular contact with us via email to submit articles for us to edit.

Overall, enlisting partners in will rely heavily on networking. So far, the process has begun through meetings with Penn magazines, a freelance writer from Philadelphia, and correspondence with an editor at Seventeen Magazine who has given good advice on how to make a magazine functional, profitable and appealing to our audience.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Distribution:
We plan to distribute our magazine directly to our target market through Junior Secondary Schools. There are around 287 Junior Secondary Schools in the country meaning that without even the schools in the most populated city, Freetown, we will be able to reach over 51, 084 female students. With periphery readers such as the older girls in Primary school and the younger in Senior Secondary, we are looking at a market of at least 2, 118,615 females.
IT Strategy:
Our logistical strategy involves partnering with NGOs, Publications, and the Government of Sierra Leone.
Content Strategy:
1) Interest in magazine among girls 2) Expose to featured topics 3) Interest in female leadership, entrepreneurship, etc 4) Increased readership, literacy, and academic development 5) Generate economic growth
Features of the magazine will include--
*Local Trends (consumerism)- showcase businesses that girls would be interested in
*Health Initiatives - information about problems such as mosquito netting and sanitation
*Microfinance/entrepreneurship - suggest ways that they can get involved
*Female Leaders- showcase role models
*Self-Betterment- give leadership and public speaking skills
*Suggested Reading

Revenue Strategy:
In the initial phases/ pilot project, the magazine will rely on support from the government and organizations as well as the Institute for Mass Communication for funding, meeting space, etc. In the later phases, the magazine will look to organizations and companies in the country to advertise their businesses or initiatives (ex: UNICEF's clean water proj

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The true turning point was realizing the educational disparity not only between girls and boys in Sierra Leone, but also between girls there and in the US. Things as simple as a magazine that we take for granted are virtually nonexistent in the country.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

My twin sister, Fatmata Kabia and I are both sophomores at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in international relations. As first generation Americans of parents from Sierra Leone, West Africa we have always had an interest in this region of the world and are excited to help our cultural community in any way that we can.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

College or university

If through another source, please provide the information
ICRW
Does your project address any of the following barriers to women’s technology access and use?

Economic or institutional constraints, Women’s lack of involvement in the technology development process.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how.

This project’s goal aim is to create a national magazine for teenage girls in Sierra Leone, West Africa that promotes the ideas of literacy, female leadership, and economic development. In Sierra Leone, only 35.1% of the total population is literate . This fact is particularly striking once gender is taken into consideration. Among citizens 15-24 years of age, 64% of boys are literate as opposed to only 44% of literate girls . In many Sierra Leonean families, women are the primary stakeholders, yet due to the lack of literacy, females are inhibited from becoming greater decision-makers in society. In an economy struggling to fully recover from the decade long civil war, women now have the opportunity to improve their economic conditions. We believe that investing in girls’ literacy in Sierra Leone will encourage female leadership and in effect stimulate economic growth.

Does your project involve women in one or more of the following stages of the technology lifecycle? Identification of the problem the technology will solve:

Technology design, Market research, Technology introduction, Technology training, Technology supply and distribution.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how you will ensure women’s involvement in each relevant phase of the technology lifecycle.

In this project, females are not only the primary consumers, but also part of the technological process. Through market research females are the focus. Girls will participate in focus groups in their schools, school officials will be consulted, and women in the community will be interviewed to ensure that the product is truly something that reflects their interests and needs. In the creation of the magazine, females are an integral as well. In the fellowship program we are establishing with the Institute of Mass Communication, females will have the opportunity to write stories for the issues. Additionally, all issues will profile prominent women/girls in society for others to look up to as role models as as provide information relevant to teenage girls. Essentially, all stages incorporate female participation.

If women are a focus of your project, how did this focus evolve?

The project focused on women from its conception..

Which type of women will your project reach directly?

Rural, Peri-urban, Urban, Low income, Middle income, High income.

In what ways does your project team/leadership involve women?

It is led by a woman/women., The core project team includes women., The core project team includes women from developing countries..

Has your organization formed any new partnerships in response to this challenge? If so, with what type/s of organization/s?

Non-profit/NGO/community-based organization, Government.

Has your project leadership had prior experience with the following?

Working with women.