The adolescent girls program in Bangladesh has been going well!
We have received reports from the field that have indicated that all 50 clubs are in operation, being led by their trained teenage leaders and mentors. The microfinance groups are also running, and many of the club girls have become microfinance group members. All of the microfinance group members are saving with the program on a weekly basis and approximately 40% of members between the ages of 15 and 21 have already borrowed from the program to invest in an income-generating activity.
The Financial Literacy training module has been developed and piloted with a small portion of the girls to ensure that any obstacles are addressed before the module is mainstreamed in the second year of the program.
There have been lessons learned throughout this process, and one includes the importance of community involvement. The Girls’ Clubs are officially opened by holding ceremonies involving the girls and community members. This is done to inform the communities about the clubs and to address any negative opinions or concerns immediately. The girls have expressed that they find it easier to come to the clubs after knowing that their parents and guardians understand the concept better and are more supportive of the program. From our side, including the community in ceremonies such as the club opening allows for community members to become more invested in the program, thereby providing additional support networks for our adolescent girls. In this vein, the clubs plan to provide guardian’s forums and community forums on a regular basis beginning this month, as material development for the forums wraps up.
Thanks to all those who have continued to support BRAC and the adolescent girls in their quests to contribute meaningfully and independently to their societies! Stay tuned for further updates, and continue to check our blog (http://blog.bracusa.org) for updates as well.