Swaziland Girls’ Empowerment Clubs: Creating confident leaders one school at a time

Swaziland Girls’ Empowerment Clubs: Creating confident leaders one school at a time

Manzini, SwazilandManzini, Swaziland
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

GEC respects and represents the needs, values, rights and opinions of each empowered girl on her journey to becoming an empowered woman.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

A survey conducted by UNICEF in collaboration with SWAGAA in 2007 provided population based estimates on the prevalence of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in Swaziland. According to the survey, approximately 1 in 3 females have experienced some form of sexual violence as a child and only in less than 1 in 7 incidents did females seek help. These findings spoke to the need for partners to come up with interventions that would address this problem. In 2008 SWAGAA introduced the Girls’ Empowerment Club Program which is a concept adopted from the Girl Child network (GCN) In Zimbabwe and revitalized in Swaziland.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Through the Girls’ Empowerment Club we envision a society where girls are free to enjoy their economic, social, sexual and political rights and to develop into empowered women that they have the potential to become. Our mission is to prevent and eradicate abuse through the empowerment of the Girl Child by facilitating a platform for her to discuss her rights, her experiences, her sexual health and her dreams. Clubs are established for girls in both primary and high schools as an empowerment strategy to build a positive self concept and self esteem among young girls. The initiative further aims to equip young girls with appropriate knowledge and information around issues of GBV, HIV and AIDS to encourage the adoption of protective measures
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Since February 2008 GEC has provided a safe and collaborative space to deliberate on their issues and discuss solutions to problems identified. SWAGAA sensitizes schools to understand the importance of this program through presentations and staff trainings. The girls are supported by teachers or mentors who have been sensitized in their schools and play the role of club coordinators to monitor and activities. The weekly club curriculum includes topics such as Abuse, HIV/AIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health, Child Rights, advocacy, leadership, and gender. Through the facilitation of an open forum, where girls lead discussion a supportive network and accessible resources, the club gives Swaziland’s forgotten girl child a place to express her opinions and solutions toward sensitive issues such as rape, forced marriage and HIV/AIDS. It is an outlet for young girls to not only address issues in their personal lives and communities’, but to come up with solutions as active changemakers in a solution. The club is a place for the Girl Child to feel free, safe, and strong. It is a place where she will learn about her rights, and her opportunities. It is a space that she owns and a place where she will find the guidance of mentors, role models, friends and counsellors.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Save the Children, the Ministry of Education, and FLAS have attempted similar programs and have not received the same success rate. Others focus on one social issue such as Youth Action Movement and SRH. The Girls Empowerment Club Programme is unique in developing a comprehensive curriculum and placing importance on mainstreaming all topics for creative forms of discussion. GEC also involves the use of mentors and volunteer teachers in order to maintain sustainability and ensure weekly curriculum is facilitated. It is extremely difficult in Swaziland to gain the trust of institutions to enter a classroom and implement unconventional curriculum that gives children a voice in finding a solution where they are often silenced.
About You
Organization:
Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse: Girls' Empowerment Club
About You
First Name

Ntombikayise

Last Name

Nyoni

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse: Girls' Empowerment Club

Organization Country

, M, Manzini

Country where this project is creating social impact

, M, Manzini

Your role in Education

After-School Provider.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

GEC respects and represents the needs, values, rights and opinions of each empowered girl on her journey to becoming an empowered woman.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

GEC allows Swazi children to find Swazi solutions to Sexual and Gender Based Violence by giving them the opportunity to SPEAK!

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

When the clubs were established, a baseline study was conducted. The following evaluation methods were used in order to assess the impact: evaluation surveys and interviews with club members, teachers and community members.

• Girls use the knowledge they have gained to defend themselves against abuse and HIV/AIDS
• Girls actively advocate for their rights in regards to abuse, HIV/AIDS, gender equity and reproductive health.
• Improved social responsibility and girls participate in local community structures.
• Girls inspire others in their communities by acting as knowledgeable mentors and role models.
• Reduced rate of teenage pregnancy within the schools.
• Increased reporting of SGBV cases to SWAGAA.
• Reduced vulnerability to HIV infection and SGBV and improved access to SRH services.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

• Expand programme to 25 schools per year reaching 100 girl children in Swaziland
• Build sustainability in schools and strengthen the capacity for the schools to run the clubs
• Mentors teach GEC curriculum and activities effectively
• Successfully implement the concept of social assets for girl children and safe spaces
• Increased number of girls improving their academic performance and accessing tertiary institutions after graduating from the clubs

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Time table changes at the beginning of every term cause major disruptions in the club meeting schedule and the availability of safe spaces for the girls. Another challenge is teachers transferring schools which mean additional club coordinators have to be identified and trained to ensure that club activities are not disrupted. In order to address these challenges, two teachers are trained at each school and SWAGAA has introduced the use of mentors as club coordinators instead of volunteer teachers. SWAGAA continues to strengthen their relationship with each of the schools and the Ministry of Education.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

The next six months will focus on baseline studies, effective implementation and the transition to the use of mentors.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Conduct baseline study in order to assess the improved knowledge and attitudes of SGBV.

Task 2

Recruit, train and implement the use of mentors to act as club coordinators instead of volunteer teachers. Print and distribute

Task 3

Continue with weekly club meetings and sessions.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

The plans for the year will focus on proper monitoring, providing guidance to the mentors and club members and the endline.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Conduct site visits to monitor the clubs, participate in girls campaigns and document the progress of the clubs.

Task 2

Provide mentorship to the club coordinators, facilitating exchange visits and the opportunity to learn and share.

Task 3

Roll out endline survey for evaluation purposes.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

The GEC programme aims to promote a sense of social responsibility within the girls, to encourage them to be leaders within their communities. Several schools developed fundraising initiatives such as hosting concerts, staging plays, writing letters requesting funding, food and material support from retail outlets, to support the needy within their clubs, school and communities. For those who could not afford material support, they went and assisted in elderly, disabled and child-headed households by doing manual labour. Seeing the girls embrace the spirit of community giving through their outreach activities was a significant moment in the club. SWAGAA recognized the potential the programme had to change the lives of girls and the impact these girls will have on their communities.

Sustainability
Tell us about your partnerships

SWAGAA collaborates with several partners in Swaziland in order to ensure a unified approach to fighting gender based violence. Current partners include the Family Life Association of Swaziland, Population Council, National Childrens Coordinating Unit, Ministry of Education, Police Child Protection Unit and Child Protection Referral Network and Save the Children.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

The Prevention Department at SWAGAA is responsible for the Girls Empowerment Programme. This includes the Girls Empowerment Club Coordinator who is the primary implementer of the program. The GEC Coordinator monitors the work of the Club Coordinators and the participation of the club members. The Programme Officer for Prevention and the Programmes Manager are also involved in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programme.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

SWAGAA is eager to network with other organizations in order to learn and share through the exchange of research, information and ideas. SWAGAA is also interested in investment and capacity building opportunities.