Empower 10,000 Vulnerable Girls in Uganda

by Just Like My Child Foundation
Vetted
Girl Power Participants Exercise & Let Loose!
Girl Power Participants Exercise & Let Loose!

A lot of people in international development are asking just what is a "safe space" for girls when they are at risk for violence even in their classroom. Population Council research shows that girls are safest wherever they have a strong network of friends. In essence, they "watch each other's backs." The Girl Power Project® Clubs are a safe space where girls meet monthly with their peers to discuss critical topics that aren't openly communicated about at home or in school and which Just Like My Child Foundation (JLMC) has a comparative advantage to deliver.

Club sessions are led by Girl Power Mentors, girls who have successfully completed the first three phases of the Girl Power Project® curriculum and have been trained to share their knowledge with other girls. Any girl can attend clubs, which provides every girl with an opportunity to learn how to stay safe, know her rights, and understand her value. As a result, girls are building meaningful relationships and a powerful network that supports each member to set and achieve her goals.

The following are examples of 3 Girl Power Club Sessions that have been successfully piloted in 5 communities with approximately 250 girls to date:

Community Mapping & Safe Spaces:

In this session, girls discuss varying safety levels of their communities, including by time of day and particular place. One girl in the Ndabirakoddala community said “I didn’t know that even during daytime at the borehole (water well) one can be kidnapped.” Girls also learn about personal safety nets; the people around them they can call on in a time of trouble. In this way girls gain a more holistic and critical understanding of safety – am I safe in this place at this time? Who can I go to in case of a problem? Who do I trust?

Girls then work together to draw maps of their school communities and discuss further the safe and unsafe places, times and people. A teacher in the Lukyamu community said “you have given me an idea on how to teach better on maps during Social Studies class. This is a practical way for the girls to learn about their surroundings.”

These activities help the girls to determine where and when to hold their club sessions to be as safe as possible. When girls in one particular community pointed out that they didn’t feel safe at the local police station, Girl Power Advocates (GPA’s) and Community Legal Volunteers (CLV’s) trained by JLMC were charged to talk with appropriate authorities to try to rectify the situation. The officer in charge of that police station was replaced and the GPAs have made plans to advocate on behalf of the girls to the new officer in charge.

Girls and Children’s Rights:

In this session, girls and GPAs work together to complete hands-on activities through which they learn about human rights, in particular children and girls’ rights. Girls and their adult advocates sort cards with different rights on them by most important and least important. Each card represents one right or expectation, such as “protection from work that harms you”, “freedom from sexual abuse”, “education”, “nutritious food”, “a personal computer”. The girls and GPAs read through different scenarios of children whose rights have been denied. Girls identify which rights are denied and discuss what could be done for the children in each scenario.

In the Lukyamu community, girls agreed that the right to fair treatment and non-discrimination was important, connecting it to their community because of a disabled boy who had lived near the school but had died recently. They realized that he had been neglected and his rights to education and fair treatment had been denied.

In the Ndabirakoddala community, during a discussion on what can be done in case girls’ rights are violated, one girl stood up and explained that many community volunteers are not welcoming. Confidently speaking in front of at least 20 GPAs, she requested that they be open and friendly to girls to help them advocate for their rights.

Self-Defense:

While several of JLMC’s club sessions are facilitated by our own Girl Power Project Coordinators and led by Girl Power Mentors, we invite outside experts to teach some of the club sessions. For the topic of self-defense, we invited FitClique Africa, our partner organization, to facilitate a session on physical and emotional self-defense. They lead a yoga session, a discussion on emotional abuse and how to protect yourself, and teach physical self-defense moves and escape tactics to girls.

One teacher in the Kiwoko community said “I am so happy for the primary seven (7th grade) girls. They have got an opportunity to stretch their bodies today since lately, they are denied play time in order to study for their end of year school leaving exams.”

JLMC will continue to pilot club sessions throughout 2016, so stay tuned for more on upcoming sessions including Financial Literacy – Saving & Budgeting, Civic Education and Reproductive and Sexual Health.

Just Like My Child Foundation has so much in store for The Girl Power Project®. In 2016 we launched our commitment to action under the Clinton Global Initiative to reach 10,000 girls with the Girl Power Project® over the course of the next three years. Most recently JLMC made a commitment to reach an additional 10,000 girls by 2020 to the U.S. Government’s Let Girls Learn Initiative at the United State of Women Summit. The First Lady announced our commitment at the Summit Dinner.

On behalf of the million girls we hope to eventually reach through this project, we wish to thank you for your ongoing support! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress! Please click on all of the links we have provided and share not only our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved, but also your story! We would love to hear about why you are moved to support The Girl Power Project! Share your reasons here and we will not only share them with Girl Power Project participants, but also feature our favorite in our next Global Giving report! 

We extend our utmost gratitude to The Population Council, whose research, toolkits and technical support have been invaluable and to Fitclique Africa for their partnership in providing essential outreach services to The Girl Power Project® clubs.

Girls Learn Emotional and Physical Self Defense!
Girls Learn Emotional and Physical Self Defense!
Girls Know "Freedom from Sexual Abuse" is a Right!
Girls Know "Freedom from Sexual Abuse" is a Right!
Girls Rank Their Rights In Order of Importance.
Girls Rank Their Rights In Order of Importance.
Girls Strategize Around Safety in Their Community!
Girls Strategize Around Safety in Their Community!
Girls Map Their Community for Safe & Unsafe Spaces
Girls Map Their Community for Safe & Unsafe Spaces

Links:

Empowered Girls = Healthy and Secure Planet!
Empowered Girls = Healthy and Secure Planet!

The Girl Power Project is transforming communities by disrupting harmful cultural practices through community engagement and empowering girls to reach their full potential.

Just Like My Child Foundation’s (JLMC) very first step in implementing The Girl Power Project in a community is to lay a critical foundation, before girls are trained, by engaging with parents, teachers and local leaders in discussions about the legal and human rights of children and the benefits to the entire community when girls stay in school, avoid child marriage, early pregnancy and disease. Through this process, community members sign a covenant agreeing to not only allow girls to fully participate in The Girl Power Project, but also to create an enabling environment for girls to achieve their dreams.

As a result of this important first step, JLMC has witnessed communities go from treating girls like second class citizens to actively working towards solutions to protect girls. For example, Namumira, a rural community in Central Uganda has gone so far as to begin saving funds for justice, so that when girls in their own and neighboring communities fall victim to sexual violence, they are able to help her seek recourse. In a recent rape case, funds were utilized to transport a young victim to the hospital to obtain appropriate medical tests and reports as well as pay for police transport to investigate the perpetrator. The rapist was arrested and is currently serving time in prison.

Mr. Mpoza, a Girl Power Advocate and Community Legal Volunteer trained by JLMC’s Project Justice in the Namumira community, explained to our team that the Girl Power Project lays the foundation for justice and respect of children. Mr. Mpoza also says that a community must have empathy towards injustice, which he feels has been developed through the community dialogues he has held in his capacity as a Community Legal Volunteer. According to Mr. Mpoza, it was easy for community members to understand their obligation to look out for the girls after the Girl Power Project was implemented. Community members saw saving for justice as a logical way to fulfill their obligation to the girls.

Through our three year Clinton Global Initiative commitment, JLMC will reach 10,000 girls over the next three years, administering a social vaccine by laying critical community foundations and reaching 50-80% of girls in every community where The Girl Power Project is implemented. On behalf of the million girls we hope to reach through this project, we wish to thank you for your ongoing support! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress. 

We encourage you to click on all of the links we have provided and share not only our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved, but also your story! We would love to hear about why you are moved to support The Girl Power Project! Share your stories here and we will feature our favorite in our next Global Giving report! 

We extend our utmost gratitude to our mentor Population Council whose tutelage and support have helped us greatly in understanding the effectivness of our work and strengthening our programming. 

Girl Power Advocates Stand Up for Every Girl!
Girl Power Advocates Stand Up for Every Girl!
The GP Project Engages Future Fathers and Husbands
The GP Project Engages Future Fathers and Husbands
Community Members Work Together to Protect Girls!
Community Members Work Together to Protect Girls!

Links:

JLMC Identifies Off Track Girls in the Community
JLMC Identifies Off Track Girls in the Community

In November of 2015, The Girl Power Project ® implemented Population Council's Girl Roster Community Resource Scan in Central Uganda as part of our three year Clinton Global Initiative Commitment.

The purpose of the exercise was to: 

  • Map resources that could be accessed by girls
  • Highlight unsafe spaces for girls to avoid
  • Survey homes to identify off track girls who may have trouble accessing The Girl Power Project due to circumstances such as early dropout, early marriage or early pregnancy. 
  • Share available resources and unsafe spaces with as many families in the community as possible 
  • Analyze the data gathered to further improve The Girl Power project, ensuring that 50-80% of girls ages 10-15 are able to participate and benefit from The Girl Power Project.

JLMC first trained 20 well respected community leaders in how to carry out the Girl Roster exercise utilizing GPS enabled phones. The training was well attended and participants reported gaining invaluable skill sets and tools to improve the community. Those trained were then given the opportunity to apply what they had learned by carrying out the Girl Roster exercise. As a result, JLMC gained crucial information that will expand the reach of The Girl Power Project, ensuring greater overall impact.

The successful Outcomes Include: 

  • Mapped the perimeter of three communities using gps enabled devices from the back of motorcycles
  • Identified the resources and unsafe spaces that were not previously apparent or known to the three communities and pinned them using gps enabled devices
  • Surveyed 1,249 households containing 7,353 people representing 76% of the total population in three communities and in doing so learned about the circumstances of nearly every girl.
  • Provided nearly every household with a flyer that included a map generated from the phones with resources as well as unsafe spaces highlighted and the contact information of important local resource persons such as police and child protective units.

JLMC honored the trainees's committment to community improvement by holding a celebration after the work was complete, providing each participant with a certificate proving their Girl Roster credentials. We are so proud to be empowering community leaders and working alongside them in advancing opportunities for adolescent girls. 

Just Like My Child Foundation has so much in store for The Girl Power Project® in 2016, including implementing our three year Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to reach 10,000 girls with our Girl Power System and preparing to responsibly scale up to reach more girls. On behalf of the million girls we hope to eventually reach through this project, we wish to thank you for your ongoing support! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress! 


We encourage you to click on all of the links we have provided and share not only our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved, but also your story! We would love to hear about why you are moved to support The Girl Power Project! Share your stories here and we will feature our favorite in our next Global Giving report! 
We extend our utmost gratitude to our partners The Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation whose committment, love and support have helped to move this project forward and The Population Council, whose technical support in helping us better understand the effectiveness of our work has been invaluable. 
Mapping the Perimeter of Communities Using GPS
Mapping the Perimeter of Communities Using GPS
Pinning Resources and Unsafe Spaces for Girls
Pinning Resources and Unsafe Spaces for Girls
Visiting Homes to Learn about Girls
Visiting Homes to Learn about Girls' Circumstances
Girl Roster Trainees Learn how to use GPS Devices.
Girl Roster Trainees Learn how to use GPS Devices.
JLMC Celebrates Community Leaders, Helping Girls.
JLMC Celebrates Community Leaders, Helping Girls.

Links:

Building Confidence through The Girl Power Project
Building Confidence through The Girl Power Project

Throughout 2015, Just Like My Child Foundation has been piloting innovative Girl Power Project® curriculum materials that have been being developed in beta phases of the program for several years. The purpose of testing the materials is to ensure they are most effective in helping girls to avoid the deadly pitfalls common in their community such as HIV and early pregnancy, so they can instead reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. The curriculum consists of a carefully designed step-by-step series of workshops, discussions and activities that are engaging, culturally relevant, easy and fun for the community and girls. 

As part of the pilot, approximately 250 girls ages 10-15 from 5 vulnerable communities have so far benefitted from 2 comprehensive, three-day workshops totaling 42 hours of training at their schools on critical social survival skills, including personal empowerment, strategies for avoiding violence, and sexual and reproductive health. The specific curriculum materials that were piloted for effectiveness and that the girls were taught with in workshops include: 

The Girl Power Lesson Plan Book & Training Videos: A Teacher’s Step-By-Step Guide 

The Girl Power Book: How to live a Smart, Healthy and Empowered Life So You Can Achieve Your Dreams 

Just like My Child Foundation gained invaluable information from the workshops, which has already resulted in enhancements to the curriculum. Perhaps most importantly, we learned directly from the girls that The Girl Power Project® curriculum is proving successful as is highlighted in the following quotes from curriculum pilot participants.

"The Girl Power Project has helped me to know the value of being a girl as well as being aware about myself and relating well with others." - 14 year old, Joyce 

"I have learned through Girl Power what to do and who to tell in case of rape. I have learned how to be a good mentor." - 12 year old, Hope  

"Girl Power has taught me the importance of having a high self esteem, preventing myself from having sex at a young age and increasing my confidence. I am a strong woman!" - 13 year old, Gift

"Girl Power has helped us to understand our reproductive health, especially on menstruation. I am practicing to be confident!" - 11 year old, Shakira 

In November of 2015, 50 of these girls will attend Camp Girl Power where they will graduate as mentors and return to their communities in 2016 to continue to spread the seeds of empowerment through Girl Power Club Activities.

Just Like My Child Foundation has so much in store for The Girl Power Project® in 2016, including launching our three year Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to reach 10,000 girls with our Girl Power System and preparing to responsibly scale up to reach more girls. On behalf of the million girls we hope to eventually reach through this project, we wish to thank you for your ongoing support! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress! 

We encourage you to click on all of the links we have provided and share not only our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved, but also your story! We would love to hear about why you are moved to support The Girl Power Project! Share your stories here and we will feature our favorite in our next Global Giving report! 

We extend our utmost gratitude to our partners The Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation whose commitment, love and support have helped to move this project forward and The Population Council, whose technical support in helping us better understand the effectiveness of our work, has been invaluable. 

The Girl Power Book is Used An Empowerment Tool!
The Girl Power Book is Used An Empowerment Tool!
The Girl Power Curriculum is Innovative and Fun!
The Girl Power Curriculum is Innovative and Fun!
Girl Power Participants Practice Their Confidence!
Girl Power Participants Practice Their Confidence!
Girl Power Workshops are Engaging and Effective!
Girl Power Workshops are Engaging and Effective!
The Girl Power Team Discusses The Curriculum
The Girl Power Team Discusses The Curriculum

Links:

Empowering Girls to Achieve Their Dreams!
Empowering Girls to Achieve Their Dreams!

Just Like My Child Foundation recently celebrated its first of three Camp Girl Powers scheduled for 2015. We had the great pleasure of hosting an East Africa representative of Global Giving at Camp Girl Power, Kelly Kurz who came to see The Girl Power Project in action first hand. It was a joy to have him participate!

The camp brought together 100 girls ages 10-15 from 9 area schools. These girls spent much of last year participating in Girl Power workshops that taught them the life skills necessary to avoid early pregnancy, early marriage and disease, so that they can live healthy lives and achieve their dreams!

Camp Girl Power provides a space for girls to demonstrate and celebrate their empowerment as well as build friendships and learn how to become mentors to other girls in their homes and communities. One way in which these girls learned mentoring skills and strategies at the camp was through role models who have already started to do this critical work. The camp was facilitated by a highly skilled girls club that is led by a superstar Girl Power graduate, Nabatenzi Joan. This club illustrated an exemplary model for how The Girl Power Project is designed to spread critical, life saving information through strong and skilled older girls mentoring younger girls. Watch the Girl Power Results video to learn more about this amazing group of girls. 

This methodology is proving successful as is highlighted in the following quote from 14 year old camp participant Namiyange Jane. “I admired Joan so much! I want to be like her because she (Joan) talks about how she behaves and I know I can learn from that!"

The activities carried out at the camp event were all designed to help reinforce the training these girls have been recieving. One nail biting activity involved a group of girls lining up and tossing a clay pot to one another. The pot symbolized a girls life. Each throw of the pot represented a risky behavior, such as walking at night alone, accepting gifts from strangers, engaging in unprotected sex, etc. Inevitably the pot slips through a girls fingers and shatters into pieces on the ground. A girls life lost. The audience sighs loudly. It is heart breaking indeed. This activity becomes an important and interesting conversation starter. At first girls begin to blame one another for not being careful enough when throwing the pot. They don't want to take personal responsibility for their actions. This quickly shifts to personal blame for not paying close enough attention. Finally they conclude that the best strategy would have been to never risk throwing the pot in the first place. 

The activity that seemed to win the best metaphor award however was the candle lighting ceremony that was held at night fall after girls gave testimony of how important Girl Power has been to their lives around a camp fire. The candle lighting ceremony involves mentors lighting the candles of other girls who were once in darkness, but who now have the burning light of information. The mentors encourage girls to continue to teach other girls the knowledge and skills they have gained through The Girl Power project with this inspiring activity. It has been very exciting for the entire Just Like My Child team to experience Camp Girl Power continue to evolve! 

Just Like My Child Foundation has so much in store for The Girl Power Project in 2015, including piloting our system curriculum prototype in 5 new communities to ensure it is most effective and preparing to responsibly scale up to reach more girls. On behalf of the million girls we hope to reach through this project we wish to thank you for your ongoing support! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress!  

We encourage you to click on all of the links we have provided and share not only our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved, but also your story! We would love to hear about why you are moved to support The Girl Power Project! Share your stories here and we will feature our favorite in our next Global Giving report!

We extend our utmost gratitude to our partners, The Collective Heart and Feminine Power whose commitment, love, and support have helped to make this project possible.  We also wish to thank Kelly Kurz of Global Giving for trekking out to rural central Uganda to participate in camp! We welcome you back any time! 

Kelly Kurz of Global Giving Joins Camp Girl Power!
Kelly Kurz of Global Giving Joins Camp Girl Power!
Superstar Girl Power Mentors Facilitate Camp!
Superstar Girl Power Mentors Facilitate Camp!
Girl Power Project Participants Eager to Share!
Girl Power Project Participants Eager to Share!
JLMC
JLMC's Superstar Team of Girl Power Experts!
The Girl Power Project, A Million Girl Movement!
The Girl Power Project, A Million Girl Movement!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Just Like My Child Foundation

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.justlikemychild.com/​
Project Leader:
Vivian Glyck
San Diego, CA United States
$7,115 raised of $45,000 goal
 
174 donations
$37,885 to go
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