Girl Effect praised for work with girls in Northern Nigeria.

Girl Effect’s pioneering programme in partnership with iSON Group, Girls Connect, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the D&AD (Design & Art Direction) Impact Promise Awards, run for the first time this year at AdWeek in New York. The Promise awards are designed for entrants that could benefit from the exposure, funding, mentoring and networking that D&AD Impact can offer.

Girl Effect’s digital platform Girls Connect delivers a personalised experience for girls via a mobile phone. Girls can dial a number where they can access on-demand stories about girls just like them, followed by a conversation with a ‘role model’ – a trained call operative who can help them make sense of what they’ve just listened to and apply it to their own lives.

Girl Effect’s Global Gender Director, Natalie Au, pitched Girls Connect in front of an audience of venture capitalists, brand and agency leaders including judges Aline Santos Farhat, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Unilever, Bill Tai, Venture Capitalist and Jason Harris, President and CEO of creative agency Mekanism.

Natalie told the judges, “Girls need access to inspiration, information and guidance. A safe space to answer their questions, no matter how silly or serious they may be.”

“In just two months of piloting [Girls Connect], we received 44,000 calls. That’s five times more than we had expected. And it’s inspiring change. A girl I spoke to told me that because of Girls Connect, she’s now opened a bank account. We know other girls who have started businesses, learned how to protect themselves and found their voice to find answers to their questions.”

Aline Santos Farhat raised her hand to say that she was impressed with Girl Effect’s ‘amazing’ work in Northern Nigeria, and that she would like to support Girls Connect in the near future.

The Girls Connect’s submission was one of eight finalists.