Youths most especially girls face great challenges in our society which limits their abilities and increase their vulnerability to reach their full potentials. Early pregnancy, vulnerability to HIV, prostitution accounted for by lack of knowledge on reproductive health, financial literacy, lack of finances, barbaric traditional practices (Female genital Mutilation, early marriage) and sexual assault as well as unfavorable gender attributions excluding women’s participation characterize the day to day lives of young girls in our community. Women account for 59% of People Living with HIV – PLWHIV (2011/2015 NSP-HIV) in Cameroon with 5.3% prevalence among young people. 5.7% of young girls are pregnant at the age of 15-19 while young girls account for 50% of deaths related to complications and unplanned pregnancies. And for every 10 school dropouts 6 are girls (DHS – 2004). These are deplorable statistics and obviously show there is still a lot to be done.
D’GIRLS INITIATIVE in a bit to contribute to the global agenda to empower young women, our vision is to create opportunities for young girls to meet their full potentials and believe in their ability to own personal visions.
It seeks primarily to strengthen the capacity of young girls between the ages 10 -19 who represent the hope of the future generation as well as create a network of inspiring young girls who envisage to strike the balance in gender inequality by engaging themselves in educational activities as a tool to secure a sustainable livelihood as well as engage themselves in self sustaining activities. Through this program we hope to instill respect for self and others, develop self esteem and most especially instill respect for culture, environment and humanity.
Areas o focus
- Career and leadership orientation,
- Reproductive health education,
- Financial literacy,
- Community service
- Home economics/Home management
This program will give them the opportunity to build up on their leadership skills, share their experiences, meet young pro-active leaders in our community, and create a solid network of inspiring young ladies. This will break the silence that excite and push youths to be pro-active, engage in community service which is lacking greatly in our society. We do believe in the potential of youths to change current trends and perspectives.
WHY TARGET YOUNG GIRLS BETWEEN 10-19 YEARS?
This program targets young girls between the ages of 10 -19years. The breaking point of every individual’s life is that point where (S)he has total control over his(er) thoughts and actions. We believe this is a decisive period in their lives, and at this age they are prone to adopting certain behaviours or attitudes. Habits cultivated can shape and define who they will be in future
WHY WE FOCUS ON;
CAREER & LEADERSHIP ORIENTATION
It is clearly evident that women constitute the minority (8:92 senators) in our country governance which significantly indicates lack of women’s participation and inclusion in leadership position and decision making in our country. This lack inclusion may be characterized by women’s unwillingness to take of post of responsibility or the lack of orientation and skills. Career and leadership orientation will build on the leadership skills and orientate girls towards choosing a specific career path and acquiring leadership skills. This will give them the essence of career education and personal development which is very important to the growth of every individual. It will prompt girls to take leadership roles and confidently move towards a specific career path.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH EDUCATION (RHE)
Access to RHE continues to be a major issue and accounts for thousands of deaths among women in Cameroon. The limited access of RHE to young girls accounts for thousands of unwanted pregnancies among teenager, 50% of deaths as a result of complication and unplanned pregnancies and high rate of HIV prevalence among young girls. Enhancing young girls knowledge or increase their access to RHE will permit them better understand and manage their sexuality and get more access to reproductive health services.
The inability for youths in general to manage their finances (spend within their limits), make a clear distinction between their wants and needs and the inability to take initiative to build up profitable ideas or invest in money making venture is one other reason why youths most especially girls stay unemployed or fall prey to sexual exploitation. Financial literacy will permit them to understand the clear distinction between wants and need, making wise financial decisions and know the value of money and how to better manage their financial resources.
Working together to build and develop our own communities. We all have a duty toward our nation and it is very important to make youths understand that they can participate in nation building. Engaging in community activities and encouraging young girls to take initiative, will give girls the opportunity to carry out their civic duty while contribute towards the development of their communities hence creating the world they want to see and securing their future and that of the future generation.
HOME ECONOMIC LESSONS
A well grounded African woman is that who can make a perfect blend of her career and responsibility towards her family. There is so much truth in the proverb that says a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and as African women, we have a responsibility to properly handle, manage and take care of our family. Which other better way is it than to learn some basic secrets about home management. Girls shall be trained on meal planning and practical lessons on baking, frying, roasting and short crust pastry/ pasties. These skills in essence are long lasting livelihood skills that can be used for commercial purposes hence ensuring girls self reliance and sustainability.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR?
So far we have had 9 insightful sessions since January 2013 covering various topics such as self discovery, role modeling, making future plans, sexual reproduction (STI and STD) and empathy reaching out to over 100 girls. A special edition organized to mark the celebration 24th edition of the international day of the women voicing out the realities of gender based violence among young girls with special focus on rape and incest. These sessions have been quite exhilarating, and inspiring. Approach of training delivery consisted of interactive teaching, discussion method, storytelling, illustrative/ Demonstrative teaching, narrative teaching method, indirect and direct teaching methods, extracurricular activities (dancing and singing lessons), community inter related activities. We leverage greatly on the skills, knowledge, expertise and experiences of some young dynamic Cameroonian who are making it as intellects, social entrepreneurs and youth leaders in our community.
OUR SUCCESS STORIES
“I think this program is very educative and also very important because I now know my limits, my talents and weaknesses. It is a great program and I will say I am privilege to be part of it”
“My participation in this program has built up my self-esteem (can publicly express my opinions), be objective and can practically set and strive to accomplish said objectives”.It was interesting to know that the 1st time she made a public appearance was during group presentations on Rape and Incest and would seize any given opportunity to share her views and opinions whenever necessary. She now believes she has the potential of being a great leader, that leader of Today and not tomorrow.
At the end of this program we hope to create a network of inspiring, self-confident pro-active young ladies who understand the role they play in their communities and are willing to contribute to nation building.
Rural Women Development Center
P O Box 408 Buea
South West Region Cameroon
Tel: +237 777 704 96 / 333 323 124