A cross-practice team of lawyers at Herbert Smith Freehills has helped an impact fund support the delivery of education projects across Sierra Leone.
Members of the firm's London-based finance, corporate and arbitration teams provided pro bono advice to Bridges Outcomes Limited, the arm of Bridges Fund Management focused on supporting social outcomes contracts. Their advice centres on the first project to be delivered from a new fund, which has a mandate to support projects outside of the UK.
The Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge (SLEIC) is an $18m programme, co-financed by the government of Sierra Leone and international donors, helping 134,000 children in 325 public primary schools in Sierra Leone improve literacy and numeracy outcomes. The three-year programme has a particular focus on improving girls' education outcomes in targeted state schools.
Bridges' support for partnerships participating in SLEIC sees it provide working capital to three education providers working across Sierra Leone. The outcome payers will only pay for the service based on seeing measurable improvements in pupil attainment and attendance at school, against a control group over a 3-year period.
Known as a 'social outcomes contract' this approach for the SLEIC is being coordinated by the Government of Sierra Leone and the Education Outcomes Fund, an independent trust fund hosted by UNICEF.
Herbert Smith Freehills' advice covered the drafting and negotiation of the all contracts within the structure. The firm also called on our market-leading expertise in Sierra Leone to help navigate execution of the transaction.
Completion of this investment now means that the firm has successfully advised on outcomes-based finance structures across the UK, Australia and Africa.
London-based finance partner Joy Amis and senior associate Matteo Yoon led the team, with support from partners Andrew Cannon, Gavin Davies and Rudolph du Plessis, senior associates Hannah Ambrose, Angela Chow, Chelsea Fish and Michael Poole, of counsel Duc Tran and trainees Georgie Green, Trystan Cullinan and Hollie Freeman.
Commenting on the project, partner Joy Amis said: "We are delighted to have participated in this transaction, further developing our market leading impact investment practice and driving innovation in the outcomes-based finance space. More importantly, we hope that the structure we have helped to set up will – over the life of the project and beyond - achieve improvements in participation and outcomes for school children in Sierra Leone.”