RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOOD GIRL PROGRAMMING*
CASCADING LEADERSHIP – Girl to Girl
In both countries the evaluation revealed many testaments to the key role girl leaders and mentors play in successful girl programming. Girls value girl leaders and mentors, particularly because they share common ground with girls participating in the program and understand the ‘language’ of other girls from a similar background. Given the important role that they play, girl leaders and mentors should be supported. Also transitions between leaders should be carefully managed so that girls participating in the program have a consistently positive experience.
"Share the learning of how Abriendo Oportunidades from Population Council Guatemala works with other organizations working with girls… Girl leaders or mentors should be supported by the organizations because they are the backbones of the program, they are the ones who mobilize girls, they are the ones who stay with the girls. Without them the membership would collapse." (Stage 4 girl recommendations)
The role of parents in the girls’ lives is central. Programs should aim to raise awareness amongst parents, about their core activities and aims as well as about the needs of the girls taking part. Programming should particularly look at supporting mothers because they have been identified in both evaluations as one of the key agents that enable positive change in the girls’ lives. Sensitizing fathers is also vital, as they have been identified as blockers of change.
"Mothers play a big role in supporting daughters. They are the first people girls go to… Fathers are generally not involved in the lives of their daughters. We have to find ways of involving fathers in the lives of the girls." (Stage 4 girl recommendations)
EQUIP GIRLS WITH PRACTICAL SKILLS
Girl beneficiaries in Guatemala and Uganda clearly expressed that learning new skills was the key to supporting them in creating change in their lives. They highlighted life skills, reproductive & sexual health education & vocational trainings as the key new skills to strengthen their process of empowerment. The girl trainees in Uganda found out that deepening knowledge in how to run small businesses was considered to generate more significant change than the small loans themselves. Guatemalan girl beneficiaries shared this interest in livelihood trainings, mainly in the form of handicraft skills. In both countries, girls expressed that they wanted deeper, longer trainings.
"Create more girl programming linked to opening opportunities for girls, training and knowledge as well as women and child rights." (Stage 4 girl recommendations)
"Trainings have a greater impact on adolescents and the community than microfinance. Our evaluation says that more emphasis should be put on trainings." (Final Video Report by Trainees- Uganda)
SPECIFIC TO GIRL CLUB STRUCTURES
These have been identified in both countries as a safe space: a place for girls to develop their talents, bring them together and create a second home for the girls.
"In this space, they lose fear and shine and learn to participate in the group. Girls grow in self-esteem; they are able to speak in front of others." (Stage 4 girl recommendations)
GIVE GIRLS PUBLIC PLATFORMS TO AMPLIFY THEIR VOICE
Participatory Video made the girls ‘visible’ in the community and the story collection process and screenings they organized raised their stature in the community. The videos and screening events served to raise awareness of the issues faced by girls and their needs & rights.
"Replicate participatory video techniques with girl clubs. Share stories from girl to girl. Participatory video has helped girls become visible in their communities. Through the collection of stories and through the screenings different people in the community become aware of girls’ concerns." (Stage 4 girl recommendations)
SPECIFIC TO THESE PROGRAMS
Microfinance is a key component of the ELA program in Uganda. The girl participants expressed that it is important to get loans after receiving training and support to run a microenterprise.
"Support for girls after trainings using microfinance is also important." (Stage 4 girl recommendations)
ADDRESS THE REALITIES OF GIRLS’ LIVES
Violence against women and girls is widespread in Guatemala and is a reality that many girls participating in the Abriendo Oportunidades program face. The program places girl leaders in internships to learn about gender-based violence and women’s rights and pass on the learning to girls participating in clubs. Providing access to counseling, and orientation to overcome gender-based violence has been identified as essential to support girls to create change in their lives.
"It’s important that the girl leaders replicate training on how to overcome violence, speak up and find out how to denounce it." (Stage 4 Guatemala paper animation)
*At the AWID forum in Turkey, the trainees discussed commonalities between the results they had found in their respective programs and were able to present their ideas directly to the Nike Foundation staff member participating in the workshop.
The above quotes were recorded from the six trainees from Uganda and Guatemala who took part in stage 4 and the video reports created both in stages 3 and 4.