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Street Child invests in the future as our charity partnership draws to a close

Our Global Charity Partnership with Street Child has ended – but our impact hasn’t. With GBP2.6m of support provided, including GBP1.5m of funding, our contributions are helping the charity to continue its work to ensure every child has access to an education.

Children sat around a blackboard

In the two years since we’ve been supporting Street Child, we’ve raised GBP1.5m, provided GBP1.12m in legal and non-legal pro bono support, and set a new record – at GBP703,000 ­– for our First Hour, First Day fundraising campaign.

A portion of the money has been used to fund Street Child’s work in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, where education outcomes are poor, especially for girls. Nearly a quarter of children never finish primary school, and those who progress to secondary education often face economic barriers as their families struggle to cover the costs.

Street Child’s Allen & Overy-funded programme was designed to take a holistic approach to this issue by providing education support packages, psychosocial counselling and teenage mother support for highly vulnerable girls. At the same time, its Family Business for Education (FBE) scheme has distributed business grants, training and mentoring to help the girls’ families to develop business plans that create sustainable sources of income. This makes sure the girls remain in education, even after the programme has ended.

Our impact in Sierra Leone

Over two years, we’ve helped 1,000 girls and 500 siblings to enrol at junior secondary school (JSS). In Year 1 of the programme, 224 girls sat the JSS exam and 96% passed, enabling them to transition to secondary school. We’ve also supported 1,000 caregivers to establish businesses so they can afford the long-term costs of the girls’ education, with 98% making savings at the target level in Year 1 and 99% in Year 2. All 750 girls from Year 1 of the A&O programme have been able to re-enrol in school, despite no longer receiving comprehensive support.

In addition, A&O funding has been used to improve the quality of 40 rural primary schools, responsible for over 9,000 children, through a combination of teacher training, classroom resourcing, and renovation and construction work. Because of our support, 160 teachers have received training in Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) methodology, inclusive education and classroom management. Following the TaRL intervention, 65% of children moved up a level in literacy skills in Year 1 and 59.1% in Year 2. In Year 1, 84% of children passed the National Primary School Exam, increasing to 93% in Year 2 (before Street Child’s intervention, the pass rate was 57%). And as a result of the success of this year’s First Hour, First Day campaign, where we ask colleagues to donate the equivalent of the first hour or day of their January pay, Street Child has also been able to provide the schools with rice and groundnut seeds for Income Generating Initiatives to pay for their upkeep and teachers’ salaries in the longer term.

Key achievements

  • 1,000 education support packages
  • 244 teenage mother support packages
  • Psychosocial counselling and family mediation for 828 girls
  • 17 schools renovated
  • 23 schools reconstructed

Pro bono support for Street Child

“Corporate partnerships like the one with A&O provide so much more than just funding,” says Tom Dannatt, CEO and Founder, Street Child. “They help charities to raise their profile, connect with new networks and potential donors, and provide invaluable support in the form of capacity building for teams.”

Our colleagues have lent their expertise to pro bono projects, from legal matters to operational support. For example, our lawyers created an advocacy strategy and action plan to support the South Asian Assessment Alliance’s work to improve educational outcomes for the most marginalised children across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. And our Muslim network supported Street Child’s first ever Iftar dinner as part of its new Ramadan campaign in 2022, and again in 2023, helping to raise GBP100,000 altogether.

Tom adds: “A lot of the pro-bono projects that we have worked on together – integrating Street Child’s core values into all employee-related processes, for example, or reviewing our consent form, consultant contract and third-party consent document to ensure maximum protection for our beneficiaries – will benefit the charity for years to come. The fact that we have had the backing of one of the world’s top law firms also gives us real credibility when reaching out to new corporate donors.”

Investing in the future

Our unrestricted funding will have a long-term impact. “From the outset, we pledged to use the valuable unrestricted funding provided by our partnership with A&O on an opportunity-for-impact basis – for example, to leverage further funding,” explains Tom. “And that is exactly what we will be doing, by directing the GBP875,000 not earmarked for Sierra Leone towards our Ghana Education Outcomes Fund programme.”

The Ghana Ministry of Education’s Ghana Education Outcomes Project aims to place and retain 20,000 children across Northern Ghana into education and improve learning outcomes for 109,000 children in 200 primary schools. It is a payment-by-results programme: any return on Street Child’s investment will be reinvested into its global programmes to change the lives of thousands more children.

Our pro bono work made a difference here too. “We asked the firm to review the contract,” adds Tom, “and it was their expertise that reassured our trustees that we could move forward.”

Long-term sustainability

Sustainability is something that Street Child tries to embed across all its programmes – and the A&O-supported programmes are no exception. The 40 primary schools will continue to be monitored by Street Child as part of its Education for Every Child Today project, ensuring children continue to have access to quality education in these communities.

“The impact of A&O’s support cannot be understated,” says Kelfa Kargbo, Country Director, Street Child of Sierra Leone. “Thanks to you, tens of thousands of children now have a chance to make something of their lives and the lives of their families. What’s more, you have set up Street Child to be a more effective and efficient organisation, which will enable us to reach even more children in some of the world’s toughest places.”

Kate Cavelle, A&O’s Global Head of Social Impact, says: “In terms of numbers, Street Child has been our most successful Global Charity Partnership yet – but more than that, our colleagues have helped set the charity up for more success in the future. In the last two years, hundreds of volunteers have donated time, money and expertise to Street Child – from taking part in our Around the World Challenge, and running the Sierra Leone Marathon and becoming advocates for the charity, to providing pro bono support. That’s what’s so special about our Global Charity Partnership scheme: it’s not just A&O writing a cheque – the vast majority of our support comes individuals across the world.”

Find out more about Street Child and support its ongoing work.