#FreedomForGirls is Girl-Led Change

by Stars Foundation Vetted since 2014

Dear all those who are standing with and for girls!

Thank you so much for your donation to the With and For Girls Collective via Stars Foundation, your ongoing and new support is invaluable to us.

Here at With and For Girls, we firmly believe that all girls should live in a world where they have the agency, platform and space to enjoy equality, justice and opportunity around the world, in their homes and in their communities. We support girls and believe it is they who hold the power to drive truly transformational change around the world.

Whilst we support girls working on a wide range of challenges and issues, last month we focused on child marriage. Twelve million girls a year are married before they reach the age of 18. This is still an ongoing and complex problem fuelled by gender inequality, poverty, harmful traditions and insecurity.

Last month the With and For Girls Collective funded seven young women and girls from organisations we support in Cameroon, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Zimbabwe (who have been affected by child marriage and work to end the practice) to attend a global convening in Malaysia hosted by Girls Not Brides.

It is far too often that girls who are directly affected by issues are not given a say on decisions which have the greatest impact on them. The aim of the convening was to bring together the world's leading advocates to end child marriage to:

  • Connect: Build an ever-closer and more effective global partnership
  • Learn: Share knowledge and evidence about what works to address child marriage
  • Inspire: Celebrate progress to ensure more action and resources
  • Align: Agree on next steps to achieve our common strategic objectives

This also gave us an opportunity to reconnect with the organisations we work with and we had never felt more pride in hearing about the work that they do and the growth organisations have made.

Representatives from the following With and For Girls Award-winning organisations attended the Girls Not Brides convening:

The National Federation of Women’s Communities of Kyrgyzstan which works with girls in Kyrgyzstan where 12,000 women and girls are abducted for marriage annually.

Girls United for Human Rights which works in Pakistan and challenges norms where girls as young as 9 years old are given away for marriage.

Pastoralist Girls Initiative in Kenya which works with rural communities to eradicate child marriage.

Feminist Approach to Technology which works with girls in India to give them a better chance at an independent future by providing free training on science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as workshops on women's rights.

Nyanza Initiative for Girls' Education & Empowerment which focuses on supporting victims of child marriage and girls who are also young mothers by providing girls with the opportunity to finish their education and securing a better life and future in Kenya.

Katswe Sistahood which is a powerful all girls group which provides sexual and reproductive health and rights services to young girls in Zimbabwe.

Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun which successfully works in indigenous communities to end child marriage in Cameroon.

As always, many thanks for your support. Together we can end child marriage.

The With and For Girls Collective

The girl panellists prepare for the day ahead.
The girl panellists prepare for the day ahead.

Thank you so much for your donation to the With and For Girls Collective via Stars Foundation!

Your kind contribution means we ensure girls’ voices matter and that we amplify the fact that girls are best placed to lead and inform on issues that affect them.The With and For Girls Collective is a group of organisations that champion the collective action of girls as agents of change. We believe that when girls organise, they and their organisations can play a leading role in transforming societies and building gender equality.

We identify strong local girl-led and girl-centred organisations in any country around the world.  We believe that the participation and leadership of girls is vital to our award selection process so adolescent girls make the final decisions on selecting 20 organisations each year as With and For Girls Award winners.

We recently heard from Sajju from Nepal who was a With and For Girls Award panellist in 2017. She wrote about her experience as a panellist:

"When I first applied to be a With and For Girls Award panellist, I never imagined the journey it would take me on. I thought I would just be interviewing a couple of girl-led organisations, however, I soon discovered that I  would be much more actively involved in the process and carry far more responsibility. As panellists, we had to know each organisations’ relative country policies, the type of work each organisation conducts and most importantly, the impact of their work on the lives of women and girls.

The toughest job, for me, was deciding which four organisations would be the final winners. It seemed all of the organisations were carrying out impactful and important work in their own fields. After a long day and plenty of discussion, the other panellists and I finally came to a decision. I then received the news that I would be given the opportunity to represent the Asia-Pacific panel in London. I was so happy and excited! Being a representative for my region was a great honour for me.

In London, I was able to meet panellists from other regions and the winning organisations. I was thrilled by the schedule organised for us. From public speaking sessions to exploring the city to a speed-dating session with funders. During this time, organisations were given the opportunity to directly speak to funders about the difficulties they face and where they need more support. This face to face interaction really helped organisations and funders build stronger relationships.

During capacity building sessions, we learnt about each winning organisation and the individual obstacles they faced in their home countries. The prevailing issue in common being a lack of government and public support as well as funding. Working in a patriarchal society as a girl-led organisation is itself a challenge. Governments are often not supportive which hinders the work of organisations. Without funding, there is no way to carry out important tasks.

As a young woman, it was really inspiring for me see all the amazing work women and girls are doing despite the challenges they are facing. It makes me feel that we are not alone and if we work together we will be able to build a better world in the future.

The whole journey from Nepal to London was a wonderful learning experience. I personally enhanced my critical thinking, public speaking and communication skills. I am immensely grateful to With and For Girls and Stars Foundation for this wonderful opportunity."

Winners of the With and For Girls Awards receive flexible funding of up to US$50,000 and capacity building support. They will also join an existing network of inspiring past award winners, funders, organisations and individuals from the girls’ and women’s rights sector. All 20 award-winning organisations were celebrated at an awards ceremony in London on 14 November 2017.

Please go to http://bit.ly/2zI1k4X for more on the 20 inspirational 2017 With and For Girls Award winners, including four in the Asia Pacific region which Sajju's panel selected to win.

Many thanks again for your support, The With and For Girls Collective

Sajju smiling as she takes part in the panel.
Sajju smiling as she takes part in the panel.
Icebreakers help the panellists bond.
Icebreakers help the panellists bond.
Things get serious interviewing an organisation.
Things get serious interviewing an organisation.
Lively discussion is a fun part of the process.
Lively discussion is a fun part of the process.
The girls receive a certificate of participation.
The girls receive a certificate of participation.
Girls United for Human Rights, Pakistan
Girls United for Human Rights, Pakistan

Thank you so much for your donation to the With and For Girls Collective via Stars Foundation!

Your kind contribution means we ensure girls’ voices matter and that we amplify the fact that girls are best placed to lead and inform on issues that affect them.The With and For Girls Collective is a group of organisations that champion the collective action of girls as agents of change. We believe that when girls organise, they and their organisations can play a leading role in transforming societies and building gender equality

We identify strong local girl-led and girl-centred organisations in any country around the world.  We believe that the participation and leadership of girls is vital to our award selection process so adolescent girls make the final decisions on selecting 20 organisations each year as With and For Girls Award winners. 

In November 2017 we awarded another 20 inspirational winners across the globe, including organisations such as Girls United for Human Rights in Pakistan.

The conservative Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the country. Hadiqa Bashir was 7 years old when one of her closest friends was promised to marriage by her parents. As a child, Hadiqa’s first thoughts turned to the celebrations, the parties and the dresses but the darker side of the situation began to emerge as she saw her friend, now engaged, banned from any form of play and from school. Her friend soon began to show cuts, bruises and other signs of the violence inflicted by her new husband. 

Based on this experience, Hadiqa set up Girls United for Human Rights (GUHR) in 2014. Today, it is an all-girl organisation working to end child marriage and promote girls’ rights in the conservative north-western Swat Valley of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. GUHR works with adolescent girls and local stakeholders to promote girls’ rights, empowerment, school enrolment and safety. The organisation has developed educational materials for young girls to learn about their rights that it distributes in schools and publishes online. GUHR runs a media campaign to raise awareness and its members go door-to-door to engage with religious leaders, community elders, parents, grandparents, school teachers and legislators. It also addresses government and department representatives to try to change the mindset that allows for girls to marry at such a young age.

The organisation promotes theatre projects as a medium to educate and mobilise communities. This helps drive the message that girls have a right to health, education, elimination of all forms of violence and encourages community participation. GUHR is a strong girl-centred organisation whose activities are girl-led. It is successfully challenging the gender roles embedded by patriarchal systems in the conservative communities it works with and has reached over 5,000 girls in the process of its work.

Winners of the With and For Girls Awards receive flexible funding of up to US$50,000 and capacity building support. They will also join an existing network of inspiring past award winners, funders, organisations and individuals from the girls’ and women’s rights sector. All 20 award-winning organisations were celebrated at an awards ceremony in London on 14 November 2017. Please go to http://bit.ly/2zI1k4X for more on this year's other 19 inspirational winning organisations. 

Many thanks again for your support, The With and For Girls Collective

The Girls Legacy, Zimbabwe
The Girls Legacy, Zimbabwe
Young Womens Freedom Center, USA
Young Womens Freedom Center, USA
ADWAR, Occupied Palestinian Territories
ADWAR, Occupied Palestinian Territories
Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun, Cameroon
Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun, Cameroon
Ponton Group of Sex Educators, Poland
Ponton Group of Sex Educators, Poland

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Organization Information

Stars Foundation

Location: London - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @StarsFdn
Project Leader:
Emma Tallamy
London, London United Kingdom

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