Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti

by Beyond Borders
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti
Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti

Project Report | Nov 24, 2021
Your Generosity Keeps the Movement to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls on Track

By Brian Stevens | Engagement Director

A just trained local anti-VAWG activist in Haiti.
A just trained local anti-VAWG activist in Haiti.

Your Generosity and Solidarity Keeps the Movement to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls on Track

The past 11 months have been some of the most challenging in recent memory in Haiti. The potential to see long-held plans sidetracked or even completely upended is a daily concern.

But thanks to the faithful generosity and unceasing solidarity of supporters like you, Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team has been able to keep the focus on three main strategies they’ve outlined to build the movement to prevent violence against women and girls. They are:

  • the Creation and Adaptation of Materials,
  • Community Mobilization, and,
  • Advocacy and Feminist Network Building

The Three Key Focus Areas Your Generosity Supports

Creation & Adaptation of Materials: Through your generous support, Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team is working to develop key sets of materials: the Haiti adaptation of Raising Voices’ updated version of SASA!* called SASA! Together, which includes key elements of SASA! Faith; and the development of a new resource pack for the economic empowerment of adolescent girls, to be integrated within the Power to Girls* methodology. In addition, we went beyond these three to develop Safe and Capable*––a resource pack on VAWG with disabilities, and we are updating Power to Girls based on lessons learned in the first implementation cycle.

Community Mobilization: Thanks to you and supporters like you, Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team will conduct a new implementation cycle of community mobilization in a new group of communities in Haiti for the prevention of VAWG, integrating these elements into one intervention: the adapted SASA! Together, Safe and Capable, and Power to Girls with an all-new resource pack for the economic empowerment of adolescent girls. (The Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at the George Washington University had expressed a strong interest in evaluating the impact of this combination of interventions given its potential to contribute to learning in the field regionally and globally.) Beyond Borders’ community mobilization in the Lavale area concluded in June 2021. (See the August 2021 report for photos from the graduation ceremony held in Lavale.)

Advocacy and Feminist Network Building: With your generous support, Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team is working to take its advocacy and movement building to the next level. Working in collaboration with existing feminist movements and the growing network of activists that emerged as part of SASA! and Power to Girls implementations, our team is working to strengthen capacity for collective advocacy in Haiti. We’re doing this by reinforcing connections with existing national and regional feminist networks to promote community advocacy priorities, and creating linkages between larger advocacy bodies and the community-based activism networks that have emerged from the implementation work. Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team continues to provide technical support on its methodologies to other organizations in Haiti and internationally, taking to scale evidence-based VAWG prevention and adolescent girls rights methods and tools.

More than 49 organizations have benefited from Beyond Borders’ technical support programming, including 41 participating in short courses offered on topics like VAWG with disabilities, principles of effective VAWG prevention, and Power to Girls and/or Safe and Capable. In addition, eight organizations have benefitted from long-term support in implementation of VAWG prevention/ girls’ rights methodologies. Beyond Borders worked to facilitate networking between these organizations, supported local and national advocacy efforts led by partners, and accompanied eight long-term technical support partners in various stages of implementation, including the six partners of the Haiti VAWG Prevention Coalition. In addition, the Rethinking Power team in Jacmel that provides technical support also supported Beyond Borders’ programs on Lagonav Island using the SASA! methodology.

Thank you for making it possible for the team to both keep the focus and make real progress in these three key areas!

*Created by our friends at Raising Voices, SASA! (Start, Awareness, Support, Action) is a ground-breaking, internationally-recognized model of community-mobilization to stop violence against women and the spread of HIV. Engaging all actors in the community — women, men, cultural and religious leaders, local officials, police, health-care providers — SASA! fosters critical reflection on gender and power and instigates local-level activism.

Created by Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power Team, Power To Girls includes a complete, three-year methodology to integrate lessons on equality and preventing gender-based violence into the school curriculum, including sample lesson plans for social science, biology and language teachers. Power To Girls also includes a guide to help schools and communities create and support local girls’ groups, and a set of community organizing tools designed to create deep and lasting change among adults too.

Also created by the Rethinking Power Team, ‘Safe and Capable: Haitian Communities Preventing Violence Against Girls and Women with Disabilities’ is designed to change how people see women and girls living with disabilities and to increase their social inclusion and better protect them from violence. Created with funding from the UN Trust Fund/UN Women, the program is being integrated in communities alongside our SASA! and Power to Girls programming. Safe and Capable includes a five-part introductory guide, training curriculum, theater plays, dialogue-based posters, “quick chat” sessions, and learning and evaluation guides.

Your Generosity is Building a Network of Local Activists to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls

Thanks to you and your generosity, an activism network of 518 activists was trained and supported by Beyond Borders’ local activism team to facilitate community meetings, materials campaigns, popular theater performances, public events, radio shows, quick chats, household visits, neighborhood dialogues, school mobilization, girls’ groups, parent engagement, girls’ group mentors, community activists, school personnel, health workers, community leaders, religious leaders, women leaders, and journalists.

More than 19,500 members of the general population were reached directly and likely repeatedly through these community mobilization activities; in principle, a great enough number to achieve a critical mass for social norms change. Thank you for making this movement building work possible.

Your Generosity is Making it Possible to Engage Local Authorities in the Movement to Prevent VAWG

Your support also made it possible for Beyond Borders’ Rethinking Power team to engage local government and justice sector personnel, with the goal of seeking to create improvements in response services. One highlight was a workshop held with local Lavale authorities. Together with the Lavale Commune, Beyond Borders organized the workshop at the request of the Lavale Mayor’s office to build relationships, share knowledge, and increase the engagement of local government in the movement to end VAWG.

Four women and 13 men participated, including the three Mayoral Representatives for Lavale, the Ministry of Education’s District Inspector, Lavale’s Titular Judge, a representative from the Water Authorities (DINEPA), the local authorities (CASECs) from the Mizak, Tènye, and Mòn Abrile communal sections, staff from the mayor’s office, the Police Commissioner, and a police officer from the commune. During the session, Beyond Borders staff presented the work of the Rethinking Power program, and there was a presentation on the feminist movement in Haiti, taking time for discussion to dispel the myths surrounding it.

Several positive outcomes resulted from the workshop. Lavale’s District Judge shared that any woman who experiences violence who comes to the courthouse will be sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital to receive medical care and a free medical certificate, and that women and girls should be able to access a free medical certificate at any of the doctors in the Lavale Commune. The Police Commissioner raised the issue of poverty as a contributing factor to women’s inequality. Most notable was a commitment from the District Inspector for the Ministry of Education, who suggested that the Commune develop and adapt a protocol document for the engagement of teachers in promoting balanced power, and that this be a part of their orientation when hired. The activism network continued to conduct advocacy on this point, and the Lavale mayor’s office has issued a communal decree in support of preventing violence against girls in schools. 

This workshop laid the groundwork for the continued engagement of local government and justice sector representatives throughout the community mobilization intervention for VAWG prevention in Lavale. It ensured the development of important relationships that will continue to underpin this work.

Engaging School Personnel in the Movement Building Effort

Beyond Borders’ local activism team was successful in working with school personnel -- through training and ongoing technical support -- to implement Power to Girls programming, integrating Safe and Capable tools to ensure the inclusion of themes related to violence against women and girls living with disabilities. Supplementary practice sessions and coaching were included during monthly School Focal Point meetings to continue building capacity. Project staff repeated many sessions covered earlier in the project to reinforce concepts, particularly among new school personnel. School focal points used materials and guides to facilitate dialogue in school communities, and teachers facilitated sessions within the classroom using the Power to Girls curriculum. 

Empowering Girls Through Girls Groups

Thanks to your support, 288 girls were engaged through girls’ group programming led by 16 girls’ group mentors. The use of Power to Girls and Safe and Capable programming generated many positive outcomes within girls’ groups:

  • Six girls living with disabilities joined girls’ groups;
  • New girls’ groups are being established by girls’ group graduates who have requested to be trained as mentors. Some have secured or are seeking financial support from their own connections, and Beyond Borders provided materials to start their new groups. The 16 groups established through Beyond Borders’ direct programming continue to operate and formalize into local organizations after the close of the intervention, some of them procuring support from the community to continue operating;
  • Girls found ways to express their activism. Many shared their learnings with other girls and community members. For example, one Girls’ Group (ages 10-14) participant took the initiative to facilitate Power to Girls activities in her school. She used Power to Girls communications materials and reported back to her Girls’ Group Mentor every month;
  • Older girls’ group participants acquired crafting and livelihoods skills and began to sell their products;
  • Girls’ groups created six soccer teams, and a girls’ soccer tournament was held;
  • Girls’ group participants have mastered the game of Chess and were planning a Chess tournament but have postponed this until public health conditions allow; and
  • Girls groups formed two advocacy committees in Lavale, and one girl serves as delegate to the community-wide advocacy group of adult activists.

Using Creative Means to Keep Girls’ Groups Active in Challenging Times

Staff and mentors successfully maintained the momentum of girls’ groups throughout political unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased gang activity in Lavale by employing creative strategies. Because Mentors are from the same communities and neighborhoods as the girls in their groups, many continued and contextualized activities were possible to ensure girls were supported during this difficult time. Mentors and staff distributed hygiene kits and face coverings to all girls’ group members and their families. Mentors conducted regular, socially-distanced home visits to check in with their members, distribute materials for home activities, and connect with parents.

Parents of all girls were increasingly engaged as staff and mentors organized and implemented parent-focused, year-end events and sought to coordinate parent involvement with community activists and others in the Power to Girls network, which seems to have led to increased levels of girls’ participation at girls’ groups. Whenever possible, girls’ groups continued to meet, building skills on the six key topics of power, communication, leadership & friends, finance, girls’ health, and violence. They selected hands-on skills training that interested them, including sandal making, macrame, and poetry and painting workshops. Some groups selected field trips, such as one to a successful, local farm.

Through the pilot of the complementary resource pack Safe and Capable (in partnership with UNTF), mentors promoted specific themes to raise awareness about the experiences of girls living with disabilities at girls’ group activities, and they conducted focused outreach to encourage parents of girls living with disabilities to allow their participation in girls’ groups. As a result, at least six girls with disabilities are now active members of girls’ groups. Girls in the girls’ groups have become activists in their own right. They have the capacity now to support other girls, including girls with disabilities, while working for social change and increased safety, agency, and voice of all girls at school, in other children’s spaces, in the community, at home, and in their girls’ groups. Testimonies have continued to come in about the changes this programming has sparked in girls’ lives.

Your support makes accomplishments like these possible. Thank you!

Research and Learning: Studying the Impact of Our Work

Beyond Borders continued its research collaboration with The George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute to build the evidence base for community-based primary prevention in Haiti. GWI is conducting an impact study of SASA! and Power to Girls as implemented by Beyond Borders; they are also researching the effectiveness of Safe and Capable as piloted by Beyond Borders within the same intervention. During the reporting period, GWI and Beyond Borders developed Safe and Capable baseline and endline evaluation tools. Baseline, midline and endline data were collected for SASA! and Power to Girls throughout the program cycle; baseline and endline data were collected for Safe and Capable. Data analysis is ongoing, and a final report and dissemination of results are planned for 2022. 

Thank You Again

Thank you again for all that you are making possible through your generous support for Beyond Borders' ‘Free, Educate, and Empower Girls in Haiti’ project on GlobalGiving. We are deeply grateful for your solidarity in these challenging times.

You are building the movement to prevent violence against women and girls and ensure that every day more and more girls and women in Haiti are living free from violence, discrimination, and inequality. If you have any questions about what you read in this report, please contact Brian Stevens, Beyond Borders’ Engagement Director, at (305) 450-2561 or b.stevens@beyondborders.net.

Engaging men as local activists is a key strategy.
Engaging men as local activists is a key strategy.
Girls' group mentors gather for a training.
Girls' group mentors gather for a training.
Communication materials created for Girls' Groups.
Communication materials created for Girls' Groups.
A community training on preventing VAWG.
A community training on preventing VAWG.
Our team is building a feminist network in Haiti.
Our team is building a feminist network in Haiti.

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Organization Information

Beyond Borders

Location: Norristown, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @beyondbordersHT
Project Leader:
Kristie van de Wetering
Norristown , PA United States
$39,360 raised of $50,000 goal
 
595 donations
$10,640 to go
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