This year, in addition to the quality education offered to both boy and girl students at the Amadou Hampaté Bâ Middle School, a special Girl Empowerment Program has been put in place with activities focused specifically on girls.
Girls are able to attend a special Home Economics class, designed to suit their needs. This innovative empowerment program trains girls to identify and understand the problems that affect them, articulate these problems and take action to solve them. Girls acquire self-confidence and develop assertiveness as well as decision-making, problem-solving, and leadership qualities. The Home Economics class also covers cooking, nutrition, hygiene, child development, managing money, family relationships, sex education and drug awareness. It assists in preparing students to fulfill real-life responsibilities at home and in their communities.
The sex education program helps girls address sexual maturation issues, improve their knowledge of reproductive health issues and protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS.
“We are told how HIV gets into one’s body, how to prevent it and so on. This kind of knowledge helps me make better choices," explains grade 8 student, Safiya.
Girls at the Hampaté Bâ School are better equipped to overcome life challenges because they have teachers who are specially trained to meet their needs, learning materials that portray them in positive and equitable ways, a school environment that is welcoming and conducive to learning, and a school administration that supports them.
“ We want girls at our school become life-long learners with the capacity to be top academic and social achievers and confident and active members of society”, says the school’s senior administrator, Mr Moussa Haougui.
Thanks to the in-service Teacher training programs, teachers have changed their habits and have become more gender-sensitive. They realize that instinctively they are used to call on boys more than on girls. Classroom observations now indicate that both boys and girls are called upon with the same frequency. Moreover, through empowerment classes, girls learn to be less hesitant in raising their hand to answer teachers’ questions and participate in class.
We believe that for meaningful transformation of gender relations, girls must participate in efforts to eliminate the discrimination and inequalities they face within their schools and communities. And this is precisely what the new Girl Empowerment project enables the girls at Amadou Hampaté Bâ School to do. Thank you for you donations. They really count and have made the dream of these girl students come true. Thanks for continually supporting these girls.