Created as part of Convoy’s Women’s Empowerment program, Girls’ Empowerment provides adolescent girls with after-school and community-based sessions. They learn about their value and identity, along with topics such as menstrual health and hygiene, avoiding harmful practices, and how to make positive life decisions into adulthood.
Some of the girls say they no longer want to end their lives because they now recognize their purpose.
“We wanted to develop and implement strategies to mitigate risks, such as gender-based violence or early childhood pregnancy, while they are young girls instead of waiting for them to become women, who might have children and continue in the cycles they dream of breaking,” said Fortunate Zondo, Girls’ Empowerment youth programming manager.
As girls build friendships, learn about their body autonomy, manage their menstrual health, and empower their minds, they also gain financial literacy and learn to effectively engage with their communities.
The goal is to partner young girls with women in the community who can mentor them. “Across our global programs, the impact of intentional mentorship is widespread,” Fortunate said. “When girls have role models and observe other girls making positive choices, they are more likely to embed good choices in their own lives.”
Program leaders work strategically with community-based mentors in each country to contextualize curriculum and address local needs. The goal is to build local capacity to sustain effective programming and build trust.
The program has had significant growth since its inception. So far, more than 23,000 girls have been empowered.
Girls’ Empowerment team members believe participants one day could become mothers and entrepreneurs; they may own land or businesses. By focusing on empowerment programs for these girls, Convoy is creating spaces for them to believe in their capacity for greatness.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2022 edition of Hope Quarterly.
Before joining Convoy's Women's Empowerment program in #Ethiopia, Gebeyanesh worked in a factory, but didn’t earn enough to support her family. Then she met Convoy of Hope and everything changed. “It has transformed my whole life," she says: http://h.ope.is/3T2OWCC