Big Give Challenge 2021 – update

Published 08/19/2022 By Eleanor Hughes

Thanks to your generous support of our Big Give Christmas Challenge in December 2021, we raised £22,650 – more than our target of £22,500, plus £1,160 in Gift Aid.

We chose to focus on street-connected girls for this year’s appeal as they are often less visible on the streets and harder to reach. By highlighting the specific risks that street girls face – including child marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual violence and exploitation, and control from others – we can begin to focus on supporting solutions to these issues.

While they are a vulnerable group, we also know that street girls are resilient, dynamic, and resourceful. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and as active agents in their own lives, with context-specific solutions to the situations they find themselves in. We also know that initiatives that aim to meet the needs of street girls must include and involve them in decision making and design for better programming.

To help fully understand the major issues that girls face, and interventions that work to address these issues, a group of our network members working with street girls in countries across Africa and Asia have come together to form the working group on women and girls, launched by CSC and our network member, Amos Trust.

As the group’s work has evolved over 2021, they began to focus on a research methodology known as the Most Significant Change (MSC). MSC is an evaluative approach, where the process captures participants’ positive stories of change, and explores the details that make an intervention successful. The stories are collected via interviews, and these stories were then reflected upon and validated by the working group, with the ‘most significant’ change being sorted and categorised into ‘domains’ of change.

This process concluded in early 2022, with some of the key takeaways being:

  • A clear need to advocate for the power of longer-term interventions with women and girls, which allow for programme adaptability and flexibility where needed. This allows for focusing on the individual without the pull to standardise, and longer programmes with secure fundings also allow for more trust building and engagement with the community – a vital feature of many of the stories of change.
  • Another important insight was that while communities of course include the girls and women themselves, it also includes male gatekeepers that hold significant power in those women and girls’ lives.
  • Small, adaptable grassroots organisations are key: they understand the issue and the context due to proximity and familiarity, and are critical actors in bringing communities and stakeholders together to create solutions that are better fit to the context.

The working group is now focusing on using remaining funds from the Big Give Christmas Challenge to create training which promotes storytelling as a therapeutic tool to support girls and young women.

Thank you to all of our amazing individual donors during the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021, who helped us to raise vital funds to continue this work, and ensure that we are able to share the learning with our wider network around the world.