This past year, we began partnering with the U.S. Embassy in Senegal to create our third program, Our Sisters Lead. Emerging leaders among high school girls in Sokone will be empowered to become change agents in their own communities through a series of workshops and hands-on service projects. These inspiring young women will then become mentors and role models to young girls who face similar challenges in their everyday lives.
The 25 girls who participated in the leadership retreat have been implementing their respective campaigns in and around Sokone with their fellow beneficiaries. A total of 27 events have been held on the topics of:
avoiding early marriage and pregnancy
preventing gender based violence
environmental sustainability focused on waste/garbage management
These events have been extremely popular with community members, parents and local government and village officials. Over 3,000 people have attended these events, giving the girls a significant and meaningful opportunity to put into practice the skills that they have acquired over the course of this year while also raising awareness on topics that they themselves have identified as important issues that they would like to address.
In addition to these community awareness events, the leadership retreat participants have also been featured on radio programs broadcast throughout the region, where they have put to use their public speaking and advocacy skills to campaign for an end to gender based violence, early marriage and waste management. These emissions reach thousands of community members further amplifying the reach of their campaigns and provide listeners with an opportunity to call in, comment and pose questions. A total of 8 radio broadcasts have been planned with the final ones happening this month. The girls are accompanied by WGEP staff and by the experts in their respective campaign topic who participated in their retreat and helped them develop these advocacy campaigns.
We are proud of our girls like Absatou who are becoming change makers in their own communities! "My name is Absatou. I am 17 years old and from Sokone, Senegal. I am so happy to be a participant in Our Sisters Lead where I was fortunate enough to develop leadership skills that have already begun to serve me in life and that will continue to help me build the best world for me and for my country. As a result of this program, I finally understood the famous words of John Schaar who said: "the future is not a place to which we go, but a place that we create; the paths that lead to it are not found but are constructed." Because of this program, I promised myself not to let the walls of my shyness rise so high that I cannot hear the voice of my intuition, the voice of my future and my country. Before this program, I dare not express my thoughts, but now I am speaking out and even helping to solve conflicts. Honestly, this project is so important and I hope that all generations to come can enjoy it and benefit from it."
Thank you for helping to creatng a generation of leaders in Sokone!
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