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The future is female – vocational training for young women in Sierra Leone!

A project from TERRE DES FEMMES e. V.
in Lunsar, Sierra Leone

Help us support socially disadvantaged young women in Sierra Leone to train vocationally, launch a small-scale business and lead an independent, self-determined life!

B. Hahn
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About this project

The Amazonian Initiative Movement (AIM), partner organization of TERRE DES FEMMES (TDF) since 2009, stands up for freedom from violence, education and the participation of girls and women in shaping the political and social development of Sierra Leone. 
Gender-based violence and discrimination against girls and women are widespread in the West African country, especially female genital mutilation (FGM), early/forced marriage and sexualized violence. According to UNICEF (2019), 86% of the girls and women aged 15 to 49 in Sierra Leone are affected by FGM. In rural areas the number is as high as 96%! FGM is part of the rite of passage from girl- to womanhood and still widely accepted by society. To this day there is no law prohibiting FGM
AIM wants to prevent and end FGM through providing shelters for girls, education and vocational training as well as personal empowerment to girls and women.
Livelihood security and empowerment for a self-determined life!
AIM has already established a vocational training center in the city of Port Loko enabling former circumcisers to re-build their livelihoods without relying on FGM. In Lunsar, where AIM runs a shelter for girls and young women, such a facility does not yet exist. Time to act – especially to avoid hunger and poverty in times of the Corona pandemic! 
Many girls and women in Lunsar are affected by violence and have hardly any access to education. A lack of job prospects and financial resources prevents them from leaving violent relationships. Vocational training and support for setting up small-scale businesses therefore open up urgently required professional and personal perspectives and enable former circumcisers to leave FGM behind. 

Professional education: 50 young women from Lunsar, among them young women form the safe house run by AIM and former circumcisers, will take part in vocational trainings on tailoring/fashion design or soap making. 
Livelihood security: After training completion, the young women will be provided with a starter kit and be supported to launch their business. AIM will provide consultancy services to the young enterpreneurs up to six months after training end. 
Empowerment: Training participants will be informed about their human rights, gender-specific violence and how to prevent it, and will be strengthened in their personal capacities and development.
With this project, we seek to contribute to improving the well-being, health and economic power of people living in Lunsar. We believe that by earning their own salaries, young women will be better able to leave situations of dependence on male providers and stand up for their rights and against gender-specific violence, especially FGM.