A teenager holding a football
A participant on the Our Shared Goal programme in Malawi.

Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Girls making tech in South Africa

As a founding partner of the micro:bit Educational Foundation, the British Council creates opportunities for young people to learn about coding.

The BBC micro:bit is a tiny programmable computer designed for children to make learning easy and fun.

GirlsMakingTech was designed in collaboration with iSchoolAfrica to introduce girls to computer coding in a creative, fun and safe environment.

110 girls from secondary schools in the East Rand district outside Johannesburg came together each Saturday to learn the basics of computer coding using the micro:bit.

88 per cent of the girls found computer coding easier to learn than they'd expected, and 96 per cent said they're now interested in learning more coding.

Our Shared Goal: supporting young people to combat gender-based violence in Malawi

Our Shared Goal, funded by Comic Relief in partnership with the Scottish Government and the British Council, has been working since 2018 to combat gender-based violence by running courses to develop healthy inter-gender relationships among young people in Malawi.

Working with community partners

Partnership is at the heart of Our Shared Goal. The British Council brought together three local organisations in Mdantire, a community on the outskirts of the capital, Lilongwe: Tingathe, Zikomo Foundation and Malawi’s first tech hub - mHub. Each is working towards reducing gender-based violence and ending child marriage. Each brings a unique set of skills and experience to the table. The community partners have collaborated closely to adapt and deliver the curriculum.

The core partners are further supported by regional organisations. The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa is providing an external evaluation, and EduSport in Zambia has trained our coach-educators in the Premier Skills model. 

The project was developed in the wake of legislation in 2017 which closed the loophole on child marriage, and in a context where more than 60 per cent of all Malawians are exposed to abuse during their childhood.

Building self-esteem and positive relationships

Our Shared Goal directly contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 5: gender equality, as well as Goal 4: quality education

The relationship skills course engages young people, girls alongside boys, from the local community, using a paired coach-educator model. Sports clubs, run by Play Football Malawi / Zikomo Foundation, are used to create safe spaces to facilitate self-esteem building and positive relations between the young people.

The British Council believes that healthy relationships and increased understanding between the genders is an essential prerequisite to address the issues underpinning gender-based violence and child marriage.

‘There has never been a time in the history of Malawi, where engaging young people to participate in peer teaching and learning, has been more important. We believe that vanquishing gender-based violence and child marriage is in the hands of young people.’ - Sarah Lindeire, Co-founder and Director of Tingathe.


By the end of the first year of Our Shared Goal, more than 250 young people overcame daily challenges to complete the course. Nearly double this number have accessed mHub’s digital platform for information and advice about their rights, and can talk about what abuse looks like. 

Organisations and community members, including community chiefs, are engaged in the project goals and are working together to achieve them. An external evaluation recorded an increase in observed positive inter-gender relations, especially empathy, in all those participating in the Our Shared Goal project.