From Cameroon to Malawi, then Kenya, Uganda, and, soon, Zimbabwe in just six months.
We experimented with girls clubs a couple of years ago, but we felt traditional clubs were not as impactful as we had hoped. In response, we decided to design our own girls’ club curriculum that doesn’t just teach practical things like menstrual management, but that also inspires girls to become change agents in their communities. Our curriculum is discussion-based to encourage girls to think deeply about issues that are important to them.
- Tell us about a strong woman you know. Why do you admire her? What impact would you like your life to have on others?
- What do you like best about your culture? What do you like least? Brainstorm ways you can protect the best parts of your culture while minimizing the harmful aspects of your culture.
- What are some lines that boys use to pressure you into having unwanted sex? Brainstorm some good responses. Take turns role-playing with one girl pretending to be the boy and the other practicing some of the good responses you thought up.
- Have you ever treated a child rape victim as if she were in some way guilty? If so, make plans to share with the girl what you are learning. Make a commitment to be a good friend to her.
Topics covered include various aspects of culture, education, puberty, sexual activity, gender-based violence, child rape, and even suicide. With each meeting there is a focus on problem-solving and brainstorming solutions. We want our girls to feel empowered – able individually and collectively to improve life for women and girls.
Our plan was to test out the curriculum with a couple of clubs in Cameroon, but teachers in Malawi learned about the curriculum and asked to be part of our pilot. Kenya soon followed with clubs serving Samburu girls who struggle with cultural practices like beading, circumcision, and forced child marriage. Then a refugee community in Uganda became excited about our clubs, so now we serve girls there from seven different countries who fled violence in the region. We are even in talks with a community in Zimbabwe that is eager to begin clubs. Those girls were relocated by the Zimbabwe government to No-Go Zones that are very similar to internment camps – no one can enter or leave without permission from the police.
Across Africa people are thirsty for a practical curriculum that raises up changemakers from within the community, and we are eager to see how far this project goes!