GIRLS ACADEMY FOR CONSCIOUS CHANGE
In Rwinkwavu, in Eastern Rwanda, our 70- vulnerable high school girls who took part in the Girls Academy training last November are exceeding our greatest expectations with their passion, commitment and fearlessness. Although their projects were initially intended to take place as a one-time events during their holiday school break, the girls are motivated to develop long-term programs creating change in their communities as well as opportunities for themselves to grow as leaders. We are certain you too will be inspired by their progress:
Global Grassroots will be returning to Rwinkwavu to offer these remarkable young change agents another series of workshops during the girls’ spring break in April. The planned workshops will include basic bookkeeping, financial reporting, impact assessment and activity planning.
Our partner, The Komera Project will be recommending a new cohort of 20 girls to join the Girls Academy for Conscious Change in August 2013. In addition to receiving training from Global Grassroots staff, the new cohort benefit from peer-to-peer learning shadowing the current teams and receiving mentorship from them throughout the next year.
It is with such joy and inspiration that I write to you to share the outcomes of our first Girls Academy for Conscious Change. With your support, Global Grassroots was able to deliver its core conscious leadership and social entrepreneurship curriculum to 70 vulnerable high school girls over November and December. Of these, 57 girls are Komera Scholars, identified by The Komera Project to receive scholarships and ongoing support so that they may complete their education - vital to their ability to advance their lives out of poverty. The remaining 13 girls were extended a special invitation through a recommendation from Partners in Health. Many of our participants are the heads of their child-headed households, some are teenage mothers, and others are HIV+. Yet all were engaged and extremely enthusiastic about becoming change agents to fight issues of importance to them in their communities. The girls have formed six teams and will be working over the next year to advance the following self-designed solutions:
18 Team members
Issue: Street Children
Mission: To reduce the number of street children, ages 8-14, by educating them in performances using songs, plays and poems which mobilize these children to leave their street life, so that we can bring them back to school and to their families. We will target them where they sleep at night.
5 Team Members.
Mission: To reduce hunger in Mbarara by increasing productivity by raising domesticated animals that will provide fertilizers, and by training people on how to use fertilizers; so that we can improve the fertility of the soil in our community. We are planning to provide pigs to four families in Mbarara so that they can have fertilizer for their land. We will also train them on watering plants, so that they can improve the productivity, and teach them to use anti-erosion techniques while cultivating. After a year, the offspring of these pigs will be given to 10 more families.
Mission: To fight overpopulation by providing 400 people with trainings on family planning, performing educational plays, songs and poems that show the public the bad effects of overpopulation and mobilizing people to use family planning. Overpopulation is mainly caused by the fact that people don’t use family planning and as a result, they end up by giving birth to children they cannot afford to feed. This brings poverty in that family. These families aren’t able to pay health insurance, and they cannot afford to pay school fees for their children. As a consequence, instead of going to school children become street children or prostitutes, which makes our community less progressive.
Budget: Under development
Issue: Violence Against Women and Girls
Mission: To reduce poverty among women and girls in our community by fighting their lack of self-confidence. We will provide 30 women with trainings about using their assets like embroidering, and waving basket, etc. and train them in doing small income generating projects that do not require a big investment. We believe that women and girls who are poor will not be vulnerable to abusive relationships and cannot turn to bad professions such as prostitution to look for money if they are self-confident and have leaned skills like waving baskets.
Issue: Child Abuse
Mission: To reduce domestic violence faced by children, ages 7-20, by conducting trainings among 300 parents in the villages of Mukoyoyo, so that we can reduce the ignorance of child rights. We want to see children going back to school among those who dropped out of school. Also, for those children who are overworked (which means that children do a lot of work beyond their strength) we want to see that they are no longer overworked, and that children receive health insurance. We want to see that people who abuse children’s rights are punished seriously, and we will be reporting them to local leaders in charge
Issue: Lack of day care centers that result in children under age 7 playing on the streets and getting into accidents
Mission: To solve the problem of lack of day care centers by training parents and local leaders about the importance of these centers, and to build and register pre-school aged children in those centers.
Budget: under development
We extend our deepest gratitude for your support which will enable these 70 young women to have a successful experience creating positive change in their communities. We will be monitoring these teams over the next year and will be evaluating the impact of this program on their self-confidence, self-awareness, social-emotional learning, leadership skills, problem-solving capacity, academic performance, trauma healing and engagement with others, as well as their social impact in their communities. We look forward to keeping you updated on their progress and encourage you to continue to support this partnership between Global Grassroots and The Komera Project for the benefit of vulnerable girls becoming self-aware community leaders.
With wishes to you and your families for a happy, healthy and meaningful New Year.
The Girls Academy for Conscious Change will commence this week! Our inital enrollment of 57 girls has expanded to 70 girls with a request from Partners in Health in Rwinkavu, and we are just thrilled with the interest.
We know that young women have unique insights into the needs of their communities. The Girls Academy, a social venture incubator for girls, held during the times when girls are most vulnerable to male predators or teenage pregnancy, will provide young women with a path to discover their own potential as change agents.
The program will begin with an assessment of the girls' sense of self-esteem, social emotional learning capacity (such as empathy), sense of power and leadership, interest in and readiness to create social change, and any evidence of trauma. Then we will engage in a six day experiential education program in mindfulness practices, mind-body trauma healing skills, leadership approaches, creative problem-solving processes, and social entrepreneurship skills. The girls will form teams and work collaboratively over the next month to design their own social-purpose projects to benefit their community, which will be implemented by the end of their holiday break. The Girls Academy will follow the progress of the girls over the next year, evaluating the impact of the experience on each participant and the larger community.
We extend our deepest gratitude to all of our donors. We have raised almost 50% of our budget needed for this initial pilot program. As of the writing of this note, we are also only 17th out of 75 organization on the Leaderboard for the GirlEffect Challenge.
The GirlEffect Challenge is a competition that ends Friday to choose the next programs to become part of the GirlEffect portfolio, a fund established by Nike to advance the lives of girls. If we can get from 17th place to one of the top 6 places by Friday - we win an automatic place in the portfolio.
To win, we need the most number of unique donations of only $10 or more. Please help us. Please ask at least two more friends or family members to donate $10 or more via this online link: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/girls-academy-for-conscious-change/ Your donation of $10 will provide 5 girls with the materials they need to attend the program.
If each of our current donors finds us 2 more $10 donors, we can win. Please help us, then check out the leaderboard to see our position rising! http://www.globalgiving.org/leaderboards/girl-effect-challenge/ There is only one more week to go!
Thank you so much for your support. We will update you on the projects the girls are planning as we move through the program in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more.
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President and Founder