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In Sierra Leone, low literacy remains a systemic issue particularly pronounced for girls. While 64% of boys between the ages of 15-24 are literate, only 44% of girls have a basic reading level (UNICEF). This disparity puts girls at a disadvantage at all levels of education and contributes to increased drop out rates, early pregnancy, and other negative effects that ultimately impact the society at large. One decade after civil war, females now have the opportunity to change their circumstances.
Memunatu is a co-curricular publication for teenage girls (10-17 yrs old) in Sierra Leone. Our mission is to create a unique, community-driven magazine that will specifically target under-served girls with a range of educational and fun content. Distributed through secondary schools with accompanying Teacher’s Guide, Memunatu bridges the gap between educational and extracurricular life.
Memunatu will include the following components:
- Trends (ranging from fashion to games that are of interest in teenage girls in Sierra Leone)
- Health (initiatives and issues impact the Memunatu Girl on a daily basis and ways girls can take action),
- Self-Betterment (suggestions to improve writing, public speaking, and leadership skills,
- Finance/Entrepreneurship (money saving tips and examples of teen entrepreneurship), as well as
- Suggested Reading (corresponds with their school work), and the Interactive Section with (activities such as story writing and creative responses that engage the girls with the material. Importantly, the
- Feature will portray exceptional girls excelling at school as well as prominent Sierra Leonean women to serve as role models for the readers.
Key benefits of Memunatu are that 1) it engages material that is interesting and intellectually enriching 2) is age appropriate 3) incorporates what students are learning in school and 4) is free for students.
Low female literacy is not unique to Sierra Leone. After Memunatu has reached out to 200 schools in Sierra Leone and expanded to individual subscriptions, Memunatu will eventually grow to other Anglophone West African countries (year 5 +) maintaining its for-profit model. We hope that eventually, Memunatu could be found all over the African continent.