The beginning of a new school term means that not only are our after school programs kicking off, but our Girls’s Leadership Program is starting to hold regular meetings again.
In the Ahodwo program, the girls were very excited to meet our new PA, Kaia, who will be taking over the program, as well as our new Ghanaian helper, Vivian. Meanwhile, in Antoa, the girls were so excited to start that they showed up at our house a week early! Even though we didn’t have a meeting scheduled, they hung around to talk about their breaks, teach us some Twi, and describe their new classes.
It is this kind of fun and relaxed environment that makes GLP so special. By providing the girls with a safe space where they feel comfortable coming to visit and talk, we’re able to act as mentors and friends, encouraging them to stay in school, teaching them about their role as women and future leaders of their communities, and guiding them through their service projects as well as the challenges that come with being a girl.
This session is going to be a very exciting one for GLP. First, our discussions are moving into more serious topics such as the rights of women and girls and domestic violence, which represents a huge step forward from the topics typically covered in Ghanaian girl-child programs, such as menu-writing, sewing and hair care.
Second, we are partnering with a girls’ club in India this session to create digital postcards composed of video, text and photos. By sharing these digital postcards with each other, the girls in both countries will be gaining a rare glimpse into the lives of other girls their age living in a completely different culture.
What I’m most excited for this term, however, is the beginning of each club’s service project. The service project is one of the most important components of GLP and is meant to give our girls the confidence, tools, and leadership skills to take action against a problem in their community that is of particular interest to them. The majority of our meetings will be spent critically discussing community issues, voting on one to work on, brainstorming possible solutions, and designing and executing an action plan. The entire project will be chosen and led by the girls, with minimal guidance from us.
So far it has been great to watch them recognize the potential for their projects, and we have high hopes for what they’re going to accomplish in this term. This upcoming year will also see some exciting changes and expansions in GLP, so we hope that you’ll continue to follow the progress of this program as we continue to learn and grow with our girls!
Rachel Widany, our senior program manager, has been working with the girls' leadership program since she started with Exponential Education in April.