Empowering young women #GirlPower

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Young girls empowerment is an initiative of vital social importance and strategies are being implemented by government agencies…

Not-for-profits…

And by the girls themselves…

While these established and well-intended organizations are doing good work, I’m going to focus on an organization ran by young girls… since isn’t that the goal? Not to shelter these young girls from the world but to open them up to it and all of its opportunities.

Girls for a Change maintains the true model of #GirlPower in my opinion. Girl to girl, they are uplifting each other. The organization focuses on low-income areas nationally but can be found internationally in El Salvador, India, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Uganda and Mexico. Specifically, I’m going to focus on Rwanda.

Source: Girls for a Change

Source: Girls for a Change

Source: Girls for a Change

Source: Girls for a Change

In Rwanda, the Girls for a Change has worked with the Akilah Institute since 2010 when it opened its doors up to 50 future leaders, all 18-25-year old women.

At the institute, the women discuss the issues in their communities and then develop projects as solutions the problems they want to change. The website noted four projects the women are currently working on.

  1. Creative and innovative development to raise employment

  2. Child malnutrition solved through educational programming

  3. Limiting alcoholism and drugs

  4. Limited the transfer of HIV & AIDs due to prostitution

Comments: I think these types of organizations produce the most impact. The goal is being completed everyday that Girls for a Change runs. Their work is their own solution. I love that. They are impact every single worker and providing a more reasonable approach to dealing with a serious issue: women discrimination and mistreatment.

In class we talked about culture norms and how another culture could impose their values of non-female circumcision

In class we talked about culture norms and how another culture could impose their values of non-female circumcision on those who believe in it for historic, religious or other reasons. This isn’t that and is one of the reasons I really appreciate it. There are girls from the same community sharing their thoughts, experiences and ideas with other women.

Another reason I like these grassroots missions because they seem more genuinely involved. It seems that with aid or large programming, sometimes real impact gets lost in a series of tricks like gaining big name endorsements, political favors and business tricks. I am not saying they aren’t effective or even that these grassroots campaigns don’t go for the big names (see the Youtube video about) but I think they have a much different effect. Big organizations spread themselves out so much, everyone that needs help tends to get a watered down or altered version of what they actually needed.

For the second part, I am focusing on child rape, HIV/AIDS and sexual violence against women, child trafficking, and coercive behaviors. I remember when the above video went viral of women making a movement in the Red Light District to raise awareness. I think it says something that the organization that put this video on Youtube labeled it as, “Girls going wild in red light district” because they knew that what was going to get the attention an anti-human trafficking video deserved. I created a list of 5 holistic approaches that could be implemented:

1. Education

2. Entrepreneurism and Jobs

3. Health Care

4. Limiting Corruption

5. Read 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking

and research other ways you can help because every day counts.

These were broad and intentionally so. It is difficult to create holistic approaches that are specific because the violence on women is so widespread and so varied, to refer to the whole we must think of the many different approaches within education, within creating job opportunities and really to help create whatever small changes are in our capacity right now.

Nigeria

Source: Buppey

Source: Buppey

Source: Buppey

Source: Buppey

Yes, the young girls have not been returned to their home. No, they are not lost. Many believe these girls to be located yet nothing has been done to secure their release. They are being held by Boko Haram, a terrorist group currently targeting many towns in northeastern Nigeria, including Chibok where the girls were taken.

The #BringBackOurGirls may have lost its 5 minutes of fame but the fight continues. However, in a recent article by the New York Daily News, the captors have said they sold the girls to their militants for $12 and shipped them in small groups to Chad and Cameroon.

The National Women Commission is reported to be boycotting the upcoming elections because of their government’s lack of attention to this problem and focus on upcoming elections.

Sources:

http://www.girlsforachange.org

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/14/nigeria-girls-kidnapped-5-months_n_5791622.html

http://leadership.ng/news/390274/chibok-girls-nlc-womens-group-wants-boycott-2015-elections

https://bblearn.missouri.edu/webapps/blackboard/execute/content/file?cmd=view&content_id=_1813193_1&course_id=_34861_1

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