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