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Making sense of girls empowerment in Sierra Leone: a conversation

Research focus:
May 01, 2021 — Dec 31, 2021

This small project facilitated and documented a conversation about the emancipatory potentials and pitfalls of girls empowerment as practised, experienced, and judged by Sierra Leonean activists. We discussed views on and experiences of girls empowerment approaches that have been interpreted in critical scholarly literature as a form of neoliberal responsibilization. Also within this critical literature, there is often the notion that these approaches may yet create openings for emancipatory agency and counter-conduct. However, it remains unclear whether this happens and to what extent. Our conversation centres activists’ views on the academic critique of girls empowerment and raises a number of questions, including: Why do many feminist activists in Sierra Leone embrace girls empowerment approaches? What do they see in them? How do they interpret and practice them? Where do they see potentials and pitfalls? And what is the role of donors?