Our 50 girls clubs are in full swing. We've been providing our life skills training courses and regular training to our mentors. After a small test phase and some tweaking, we finalize our financial literacy course and rolled it out to all 50 clubs. We're providing the training to all of the girls, even if they're not old enough to take out loans (you have to be 16 in Bangladesh), because even the young girls can learn the importance of saving, budgeting, and making smart choices when buying things.
As they complete the training, the girls who are old enough can form their own microfinance village organizations and take out loans. Typically, their first loan is around $40-$50, which they pay back over a 1 year period.
We're also doing surveys to determine which livelihood trainings we should offer to each club. The surveys aim to match what the girls would like to do with the local market demand.
Thank you so much for your continued support of these 2,000 girls!
The adolescent girls program in Bangladesh has been going well!
We have received reports from the field that have indicated that all 50 clubs are in operation, being led by their trained teenage leaders and mentors. The microfinance groups are also running, and many of the club girls have become microfinance group members. All of the microfinance group members are saving with the program on a weekly basis and approximately 40% of members between the ages of 15 and 21 have already borrowed from the program to invest in an income-generating activity.
The Financial Literacy training module has been developed and piloted with a small portion of the girls to ensure that any obstacles are addressed before the module is mainstreamed in the second year of the program.
There have been lessons learned throughout this process, and one includes the importance of community involvement. The Girls’ Clubs are officially opened by holding ceremonies involving the girls and community members. This is done to inform the communities about the clubs and to address any negative opinions or concerns immediately. The girls have expressed that they find it easier to come to the clubs after knowing that their parents and guardians understand the concept better and are more supportive of the program. From our side, including the community in ceremonies such as the club opening allows for community members to become more invested in the program, thereby providing additional support networks for our adolescent girls. In this vein, the clubs plan to provide guardian’s forums and community forums on a regular basis beginning this month, as material development for the forums wraps up.
Thanks to all those who have continued to support BRAC and the adolescent girls in their quests to contribute meaningfully and independently to their societies! Stay tuned for further updates, and continue to check our blog (http://blog.bracusa.org) for updates as well.
In Bangladesh, all 50 adolescent girls clubs are up and running and we have trained 50 teenage leaders to mentor the girls! The clubs have a membership of about 2,000 girls who have been active in the program’s classes.
Microfinance groups are in operation, and the members have been saving. They have invested in a number of different sectors, including tailoring, domestic animal rearing, basket weaving and poultry. This component of the program aims to educate girls in financial literacy and give them the opportunity to invest in small enterprises.
In addition, we have been holding monthly mothers’ forums and bimonthly parents’ meetings so that the parents can learn about and support the activities their daughters are involved in.
Livelihood training has begun, and several members have received training on tailoring, domestic animal rearing, beef fattening and salon activities. We hope to have trained all members by April, enabling them with the lifeskills they will need to earn incomes and become productive members of society. Lifeskills training is scheduled to begin in May 2010, with a Financial Education module.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our work! We hope you will continue to stand by us, as we empower and educate the Bangladeshi adolescents who will grow up to be able to support themselves and their families in a more stable livelihood.
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