Three is our magic number! Today, we held the third session of our #TYW4Girls Mentorship Programme, funded by UNFPA The Gambia, and it keeps getting better.
The girls started with a recap on last week’s session, sharing the lessons they’ve learned and giving an opportunity for the new intakes to catch up with the work we have done together so far. The discussions centered on understanding gender, sex and gender roles in relation to our current social context.
Today’s session took the girls a step further, examining the concept of Gender-Based Violence, what it means, its different forms, what they can do to seek help and how they can support one another. We discussed several scenarios, some based on true stories, and the girls shared their thoughts on these examples and had great debates to defend their thoughts.
Understanding GBV also linked to discussions on masculinity and femininity, with a focus on the former and the harm it can cause when perceived wrongly. The girls spent a considerable amount of time debating these issues and eventually arriving at a general understanding that one’s gender should not be a determinant of what they know or how they act.
Because these topics are tricky and can get very emotional, we also talked about creating safe spaces and being the support systems our sisters need to get through tough situations. Our photo of the week represents this value, where we all stand together, bonded by our common struggles, ready to support one another through life.
It’s Week 2 of our TYW4Girls Mentorship Programme, and it’s been a very exciting Saturday morning!We had more girls and mentors joining the group today, and went through fun introductions, with very interesting questions from the girls.
They also had a chance to share the results of their homework from last week which tasked them to identify an issue affecting girls and women in their community and think of what they can do to change that. One theme that kept coming up was the concern for girls who fall victim to sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation by older men. The girls linked these mainly to the underprivileged backgrounds of the affected persons, creating an opportunity for exploitation without much consequence on the perpetrators. The group shared inspiring perspectives on how they can support their friends, create safe spaces for dialogue and guidance, as well as contribute to holding these men accountable for their actions.
We also had discussions on the notions of gender, sex, gender roles, violence, and other connected themes. The girls explored these concepts, and how they fit into their lives, gaining a better understanding of the society around them.
The beautiful space we’ve created and the inspiring work happening there is made possible with the support of UNFPA The Gambia.
Think Young Women has launched the third edition of our Girls Mentorship Programme, targeting a total of 60 girls from Latrikunda Upper Basic School, St. Theresa’s Upper Basic School and Glory Baptist Upper Basic School.
Every week, for the next three months, our mentors will work with these girls in clusters, guiding them through discussions and practical training on personal development, public speaking, sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as information sessions on gender-based violence, with a focus on FGM and Child Marriage. The girls will make use of this safe space we have created to discuss often difficult topics and find solutions to the challenges they face. They will build strong relationships and start a 60 girl-strong sisterhood and network, with the assistance of their mentors and the wider TYW team.
The first day was filled with excitement! We were blown away by the expectations listed by the girls and challenged to meet these expectations, while ensuring that we nurture the safe space to deal with the fears they also shared with us. A wonderful team, and it’s only Week One.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for weekly updates from our sessions! The programme is made possible through the support of UNFPA The Gambia, to whom we owe much gratitude, on behalf of these girls!