KPMG & Children’s Books Ireland

KPMG in Ireland is a provider of professional services, offering a range of audit, tax and advisory services to a broad range of domestic and international clients across all sectors of business and the economy.

Education is one of the key pillars of our Corporate Citizenship strategy and we believe that education is paramount in terms of developing society for future success. This aligns with our global values and also tackles Goal 4: Quality Education of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Through the KFFL (KPMG Family for Literacy) programme, we have worked with Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) on helping us engage with schools on literacy initiatives.

To celebrate the centenary of women’s suffragette in Ireland in 2018, CBI were planning to print a booklet, containing books about, written and illustrated by women. We recognised that this presented a unique opportunity to create a bespoke volunteering programme in KPMG, surrounding the idea of these ‘BOLD GIRLS.’ We approached CBI with the idea of creating a skill-based volunteering programme to compliment the booklet that they were printing.

A programme was created specifically for KPMG that featured strong, bold girls to be taught in schools all around Ireland. CBI provided training facilitators while KPMG provided the volunteers and the materials needed to get the resource packs to each of the volunteers. Through this simple yet creative programme, employees were presented with a chance to influence the young readers of tomorrow.

To coincide with International Women’s Day 2018, we held the launch of our BOLD GIRLS programme in St Mary’s P.S. Staff participated in this event by reading ‘The Princess in black’ and holding a quiz afterwards. On the same day, events were held in schools in Cork, Galway and Belfast with staff from each of our regional offices involved with a similar event.

Since the beginning of BOLD GIRLS, employees in 31 classrooms across the country have given over 250 hours of their time to the project.

Given the current landscape of gender inequality at senior levels of management and representation on Boards, this an innovative way to help children to recognise and celebrate women who have had a positive impact on the world today. The programme is designed to open up discussions and encouraging children to talk about reaching their full potential. The programme is a fun, hands-on, interactive workshop and has been enthusiastically received by students, teachers and our own KPMG volunteers.

Our involvement in the BOLD GIRLS initiative has been one of the highlights of our school year. The partnership with Children’s Books Ireland and KPMG has given the children in our school the opportunity to engage with reading and high quality texts in such an exciting and inspiring way. St. Mary’s Primary School is situated in Dublin’s north inner city. We have 240 children from Junior Infants to 6th Class who come from all over the world and speak over 35 different languages. 88% of our children speak English as an additional language and we are hugely proud of our diverse community. We helped to launch the BOLD GIRLS initiative last year and have been lucky to have several classes take part in the workshops since then, with volunteers from KPMG visiting classes over several weeks – sharing #BOLDGIRLS books with engaging activities.

The workshops and selection of texts have really sparked the children’s curiosity. The project highlights the existing gender stereotypes children may have encountered in the books they have read and introduces them to strong, empowered female authors, illustrators, real-life heroines and fictional characters. In each session, the children are enthralled. Each week they ask when it is ‘BOLD GIRLS time’. The sessions opened up fantastic discussion and promoted higher level thinking and debate. Thanks to a generous book donation by KPMG, each class has its own selection of BOLD GIRLS books.

Our teachers say that it is the ultimate reward, when a child is finished their learning, to be given the chance to select a BOLD GIRLS book to read. For girls and boys alike, the interest in these books has been incredible. The children articulate very clearly the importance they place on seeing strong, confident female characters in the books they read. For the adults in school, it has given us the opportunity to reflect on our book choices, ensuring our school and class libraries are increasingly gender balanced and that our curriculum, across the school, embraces the aims of the project so that our girls see themselves reflected in the books they read and are encouraged and enabled to be the strong, confident women they aspire to be.

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