Girls in UK and USA and round the world Invited to form girls clubs in support of our work
“The worth of a nation is measured by the number of its empowered girls.” -Betty Makoni
Each day, girls form empowerment clubs in order to initiate healing, to strengthen confidence,
increase knowledge, develop empathy, enhance creativity, and to act as a forum to discuss the issues and obstacles they face individually and collectively so they can devise solutions. In addition, girls organize self-help projects, mobilize for fundraising events, and connect at household, community, local, regional, and international levels to safeguard their rights. Through club involvement girl children learn about all forms of abuse, that it is a crime, and how to seek justice without fear. With an emphasis on the restorative process, girls’ empowerment clubs aim to promote a culture of resilience and peace.
GCNW is operated by and for girls, who remain central at every level of the organization. The GCNW mandate comes directly from the girls who make up the membership of the organization. This element is fundamental to the structure of every girls’ club. At the international platform, girls from all walks of life combine in their efforts to alleviate violence, poverty, HIV/AIDS, as well as other disasters that befall them. We know that girls want to see concrete action on the ground, not mere verbal condemnation of violations of their rights. Girls want to see everyone mobilized within their communities, acting collectively and proactively.
In order to advance the circumstances of girl children, we will establish 300 additional girls’ empowerment clubs around the world within five years to combine with the 700 that currently exist in Zimbabwe alone. In order to streamline the empowerment process, all girls’ clubs will access the empowerment training based in the United Kingdom. The key steps that need to be taken in order to progress toward this goal include:
- Evaluating where GCNW clubs are already established, what stages they are in, and what support they will need
- Creating and sustaining a clear operational system so as to avoid constantly reacting to ad hoc inquiries without a strategy
- Continually employing and developing the girl child empowerment model, which is needed by individuals and communities throughout the world. This principle underlies all tiers of the model, even if development takes different paths in different countries
Young women who emerge as leaders contribute greatly within their local community as well as the global community and they continue to be supported by a team of experts within GCNW. Women who have gone through the empowerment program join the GCNW Alumni group on Facebook and they are proud leaders in their various spheres of life. Their stories of success give hope to girls everywhere and clearly show that women and girls are prepared to initiate social change.
Streamlining Club Practices
GCNW replicates a best practice model that has secured sixteen global awards for excellence, innovation, and effectiveness in the delivery of girls` empowerment programs at the local grassroots level. It is a globally acclaimed organization anchored in many parts of the world and stands as a great inspiration to girls and women worldwide who want to actualize their full potential.
The systematic transmission of the GCNW Empowerment Model as developed in Zimbabwe, through streamlined activities, leadership development, and established quality standards will advance the circumstances of girls worldwide.
These are formal and informal GCNW clubs in the West. These individual girls groups from across the world, particularly in the U.S., UK and Canada prepare and empower young philanthropists to raise funds to support GCNW affiliates in Africa. We need to customize each club according to the needs and abilities of girl-members and what they can offer the network. Other groups who approach GCNW for training (e.g. Forward UK on FGM in Ethiopia) could potentially have an important fundraising function although this is not to be divorced from the empowerment model.
Typical Activities Within Girls’ Empowerment Clubs
- Confidence building training programs for club members
- Weekly/monthly meetings on empowerment
- Using art in the form of poetry, drama, pictures, stories, songs, dances and speeches which depict issues affecting the girl child and presenting them at exhibits or school assemblies.
- Sharing information on child sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS and children’s rights
- Keeping a journal to track goals, career and activism.
- The discussion of challenges in girls’ lives and the production of solutions
- Peer-to-peer counselling
Networking, Advocacy, and Leadership Opportunities
- Visits by female role models, such as female pilots, doctors, lawyers, and directors etc. to share their experiences as a way to inspire girls to break into male dominated fields
- Participation in awareness campaigns on child sexual abuse
- Speaking out on girl child abuse issues and writing petitions to legislators
- Inviting parents for an open day on Girl Child Empowerment
- Participation in GCNW annual national programmes (i.e., Child sexual abuse workshops, arts festivals, drama competitions, sporting tournaments and the Million Dollar Girl-to-Girl Campaign)
- The dissemination of information on HIV/AIDS prevention, reproductive health, STDs etc.
- The production and circulation of the girls’ club newsletter— Newsflash
- Leadership training and opportunities to lead in empowerment programs in Africa
- An opportunity to be an intern and volunteer for GCNW and gain knowledge and skills for your international development experience
- A certificate of membership similar to a referral letter detailing your achieved skills and experience
- Networking with various organisations
- Representing GCNW at various international forums
- Donating a dollar per year to girls in Africa who do not have basic necessities like food, sanitary pads, underwear, or money school fees
The Benefits of Joining a Girls’ Empowerment Club
- Increased confidence and empowerment
- Improved communication and public speaking skills
- Increased awareness and knowledge of child abuse
- Improved academic performance
- Increased awareness and knowledge of HIV/AIDS and other issues related to health
- Knowledge of Reproductive Health rights
- Better access to information about career development
- Enhanced leadership skills
- Prevention of abuse by being proactive
- Access to services and programs to keep you focused on education
- Ability to stand up for your rights
Girls as Leaders
At every level, girls are able to participate as members of clubs and are represented through the democratic election of club presidents, which practically instills democratic values and principles. Each elected club president is sent to the National Executive Committee to represent members of her club. Normally club membership ranges from 20 to 50 girls. Volunteer club coordinators are usually female teachers, social workers, university students, church leaders, or anyone who has passion and commitment for girls’ empowerment and development coordinate clubs. Our principle regarding the empowerment of girls views them as decision makers rather than mere beneficiaries, therefore the National Girls Executive Committee initiates all important discussions that are thoroughly considered by GCNW staff and board members when formulating policy. Decisions regarding staff recruitment, grant dispersal, and policy development are made by the board after consultation with girls’ club presidents.
During the initial stages of training we make sure to evaluate each girl’s level of empowerment, taking into consideration her past experiences. Thereafter, every girl keeps a journal to track her journey of transformation. Participatory evaluation is incorporated into our training and when girls submit stories of personal change we want to readily see the indicators of empowerment to assess the effectiveness of our program. GCNW uses the “ladder of empowerment” to illustrate a girl’s upward journey toward attaining her full potential. Our goal is to evolve a new breed of young woman who will readily stand up to defend her rights.
We have 10 indicators every girl must exhibit after receiving empowerment training. These include:
- Identifies and names an abuser
- Articulates and lives up to her rights and ensures they are protected and promoted in the home, school, and community
- Develops and lives up to her life goal and vision
- Guards her body through keeping a “one meter space” between herself and potential abusers
- Plans, implements, and evaluates gender, HIV/AIDS, and Human Rights activities with or without an adult
- Analyses the status quo and knows which behaviour to apply as each situation arises
- Demonstrates sharp gender analysis skills and applies them in her daily life
- Use information provided to her in a positive way
- Loves, respects, and appreciates herself
- Communicates effectively and efficiently
Starting a Girls’ Empowerment Club
- Gather a group of interested girls. Members can be recruited by advertising on school bulletin boards, making announcements in classes, or at school assemblies
- Invite a passionate and committed female or male teacher to act as club coordinator.
- Ensure that all members understand the aims and objectives of GCNW.
- Ensure that all club members fill out a GCNW registration form
- Choose a day, time, and venue to meet each week
- Make a list of realistic objectives and identify activities that will help you achieve these objectives. Create a plan book where activities can be planned and recorded
- Call the GCNW team to train your club members. As long as you have paid your $10 fee you receive at least one empowerment training session per year
- Make sure you receive a detailed club manual before the training so that you can acquaint yourself with GCNW work and programs
- Formal registration will be done for clubs that conform to GCNW criteria and once GCNW has provided formal training.
- Girls’ empowerment clubs can be formally launched after one year of being in operation and all members of the club are then certified
- All registered clubs will be shown on our website with their brief profiles
- If you are in USA register your club here…http://gcnclubs.wordpress.com/
- If you are in UK and elsewhere join us on FB to start discussion on how you can form a girls club…https://www.facebook.com/pages/Girl-Child-Network-Worldwide/109935497517?fref=ts
We encourage every girl to pay a membership fee of $10 per year for administrative purposes.
The GCNW Pledge
I (Insert your name), as a member of Girl Child Network Worldwide promise that I will abide by the objectives of Girl Child Network Worldwide and always be cooperative, reliable, efficient, determined and confident in all that I do. I promise to work hard with other girls to accomplish our vision that there will be equal opportunities in all the spheres of socio-economic and political life for all girls now and always.
I am prepared to carry out given tasks and always view the sky as the limit. With reliability and confidence I will do my duties in the best of my capacity and appreciate Girl Child Network Worldwide’s vision as well as mission. In solidarity I join hands with other members and pledge my full support and encouragement in life’s hardest moments and thus I will not fall.