21 March 2018
3 min read

Australian Ethical is supporting One Girl, a not-for-profit organisation fighting gender inequality in Africa by equipping young women with business smarts.

There are 130 million girls in the world today not in school. But when a girl is educated it changes her life and the rest of the community around her. That’s why in 2017 the Australian Ethical Foundation gave $15,000 to One Girl, an organisation with the mission to support one million young women in Sierra Leone and Uganda to access an education.

One Girl is working to disrupt the cycle of poverty, where many girls lack access to an education due to a variety of reasons including poverty, cultural stigma or child marriage. Through education scholarships and their Business Brains entrepreneurship programs, the girls are encouraged to create their own pathways to a more sustainable livelihood.

Australian Ethical’s Community Grant has allowed One Girl to extend their program to Uganda to provide entrepreneurship training to 200 young women and girls through Business Brains.

“Business Brains began because girls were looking for a way to afford lunch. We heard that girls were fainting or couldn’t concentrate at school because they couldn’t afford food,” says Larissa Ocampo from One Girl. “We were looking for a sustainable way to help girls both in school and beyond that. Business Brains has now grown to include entrepreneurial and life skills, as well as knowledge about health and well-being.”

When a young woman is educated she is twice as likely to educate any children she might have, and she will use her income to support her family and community.

So far, of the 200 girls and young women who have been through the program, 160 have already started small businesses, like selling poultry or vegetables, with a small loan provided by One Girl.

“All the participants come from families struggling to live on less than US$1 a day. A big focus of the program is encouraging mothers and daughters to collaborate on their businesses together – so that the girls receive increased support and the business can continue to thrive while she is at school.”

Meet Suzan

Suzan now sells her fresh produce to pay for her school fees.

Suzan was one of the first girls to participate in the Ugandan Business Brains program.

At just 14 years old Suzan has already established a promising little business that’s providing income for her family. Despite completing primary school, Suzan’s family lacked the funds to send her to secondary school. Suzan was one of the first to sign up for the program and says the impact was immediate. With the leftover money from her business Suzan bought a piglet which she will breed and sell to pay for her ongoing school fees.

All of Suzan’s quotes are translated from local language:

“After the first training session, I felt empowered and had this burning desire to start a business,” says Suzan.

“I enrolled in the program and by the second month of the training I was able to start a business. I sell vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, amaranth, cabbages, and more.”

“I am happy because I was able to join secondary school this year through doing my business and also bought a pig. My business has helped my family.”

The profits from her business have enabled her to buy books and enrol in secondary school.

Australian Ethical Community Grants: Providing financial support to not-for-profit organisations

At Australian Ethical, we believe it’s important for business to play a leadership role in making the world a better place, not just to make profit.

That’s why every year, Australian Ethical distribute up to 10% of our yearly after-tax profits* to charitable organisations and social impact initiatives that contribute to humanitarian, environmental, and animal welfare efforts in Australia and abroad.

This year, we granted $15,000 to One Girl, a not-for-profit group fighting gender inequality in Sierra Leone and Uganda by equipping young women with business skills and aiming to support one million young women to access an education.

For more info and to see the rest of the 2017 grants, visit: australianethical.com.au/community-grants

*Before deducting bonus and grant expenses.