It’s already Week 3 of the 4th session in our #TYW4Girls Mentorship Programme! This week, we discussed Gender-Based Violence, with a specific focus on Violence Against Women and Girls.
We’re working with a unique group of 80 girls from different backgrounds, and understand the realities of the society we live in, as far as gender is concerned. Guided by the mentors, the girls worked in groups to discuss GBV, its different forms, how to protect themselves, and where to go to seek help. We were pleasantly surprised by how much they already know, and inspired by their ever-growing desire to learn more.
Our exercises in trust-building last week came in handy as they worked together to determine safe spaces among their groups, in their homes and schools, and within their immediate communities. They explored the concepts of sex, gender and gender roles, and what roles they can play in breaking the cycle of inequalities that often place girls and women at a disadvantage.
As mentors, we are always happy to learn from the girls and their experiences, as this helps us to keep providing them with the support and services they need to thrive and serve their communities. Certainly creating a new generation of women leaders!
Special thanks to UNFPA The Gambia for supporting us on this journey, and to State of Mic for the fun photo session.
Think Young Women recently secured funding from the British Embassy in The Gambia through its Bilateral Programme Fund (BPF). The BPF is the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Offices (FCO) dedicated fund that supporting posts priorities overseas.
The 2016-17 Fund focuses on four key areas including “human rights issues such as Female Genital Mutilation, Female Participation, Human rights and extremism, LGBT issues”, which cover aspects of the work being done by Think Young Women. The selected project will focus specifically on Gender-Based Violence (GBV), as an umbrella for practices that affect the lives of girls and young women in The Gambia.
Through this collaboration, TYW seeks to create a platform where girls, young and older women will have the opportunity to engage in conversations on GBV, how the different generations encounter this injustice and what can be done to help bring an end to it in their communities. Intergenerational dialogue on such issues are not commonplace in The Gambia due to various reasons, and often linked to cultural norms and values which consider them as taboo topics.
The project, therefore, aims to close the intergenerational gap between these groups of women, foster a better understanding, and create a culture of exchange and collaboration in efforts to protect girls and women from GBV. This component targets 50 girls and women from the Greater Banjul Area.
TYW will also engage 30 girls and young women who have no formal education or have not been able to complete secondary schooling. This group of women is rarely a target for such initiatives, despite being at great risk of GBV and its effects. Their exposure to GBV within a context of human rights, as well as their physical and emotional well-being can help in alleviating the risk of falling victim to the injustice, while creating opportunities for empowerment at various levels. The project will include trainings for the participants to know their rights and demand that these are respected and fulfilled, by having a say in all issues affecting them and being involved in the decision-making processes at home and in their communities.
With relevant evidence on the role of the media in shifting perceptions and influencing behavioral change, TYW will leverage on the opportunities presented by the existing platforms to ensure a wider reach. A series of radio shows will be aired during the course of the project, in a bid to engage the wider public on issues relevant to gender-based violence and means of curbing its alarming prevalence in our communities. Other communication materials will also be developed, featuring striking messages on GBV and the need to ensure the protection of girls and women.
The project is expected to run from July to December 2016.