As part of our Adolescents and Youth programmes, UNFPA supports the annual National Girls Camp organized by the Office of the First Lady. The camp targets girls aged 10 – 19, providing them with information on their rights and responsibilities, and equipping them with the knowledge and tools to fulfill their potential. The 2016 National Girls Camp was held in Tonkolili district, Northern Sierra Leone from the 15th – 22nd December 2016, with the theme “Young, Empowered and Safe.” The camp was officially launched by the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Her Excellency Madam Sia Nyama Koroma. Also present at the launching were representatives from the Ministries of Health, Education and Social Welfare, paramount chiefs and traditional leaders, and donor partners.
The week-long camp brought together girls from all fourteen districts in Sierra Leone. Participants included in-school and out-of-school girls, girls with disabilities, orphans, Ebola survivors and girls from severely disadvantaged backgrounds. The objectives of the camp were to empower the girls with valuable social and life skills, educate them on their rights and entitlements, strengthen critical reasoning and logical thinking skills, cultivate leadership qualities, boost healthy emotional and psychological development, and promote positive morals and patriotism. Learning sessions were held each day on the following topics:
Advocacy and activism Innovation
Adolescent health and hygiene Financial Intelligence
Public Speaking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Social Media Entrepreneurship
Building Self Esteem The Child Rights Act
History of Sierra Leone Dining Etiquette
Leadership Sexual and Reproductive Health
Gender Based Violence Tips for Academic Excellence
Knowledge gained from the learning sessions was applied during practical sessions called “Designing Solutions”, where the girls had the opportunity to improve their critical thinking skills by developing solutions to real-life problems. Intellectual sessions were balanced with physical exercise, games, team-building exercises and fun activities such as dancing competitions, and a talent and fashion show. The highlight of the camp was a visit to the Bumbuna dam, Sierra Leone’s first hydroelectric dam, where participants learned about the science behind hydroelectricity.
The National Girls Camp encourages social activism among adolescent girls. Previous camps resulted in the establishment of ELI Africa, an organization formed by National Girls’ Camp alumni with the goal of promoting adolescent voices and conducting advocacy on issues affecting young people.
UNFPA has been a proud supporter of the National Girls Camp since its inception in 2014. At UNFPA we believe that empowering girls reduces poverty, increases economic growth and accelerates the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.