Lessons from Sierra Leone’s Ebola pandemic on the impact of school closures on girls.

Author:

Rasul, I., Smurra, A. and Bandiera, O.

Editor:

Date:

2020

Region:

Theme:

Gender and Pandemics

Language:

English

Publisher:

Full Harvard Reference:

Rasul, I., Smurra, A. and Bandiera, O. (2020). Lessons from Sierra Leone’s Ebola pandemic on the impact of school closures on girls.

This blog considers what we might learn based on earlier research from the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, with a particular focus on the impact on young women during the closure of all primary and secondary schools. Previous analysis highlighted an increase of pregnancy rates for girls aged 12-17 at the onset of the epidemic, alongside low re-enrolment rates after social distancing was reduced. What’s needed is alternative safe spaces which adhere to social distancing policies that can support young women via virtual mentoring or phone-based group chats, alongside equipping young women with contraceptives and education on safe sex practices.