Our second year offering the well-received Girls Leadership (GOAL) training program is underway at Nava Prabhat Higher Secondary School in Pokhara. Most of the participants come from low income families and most parents are day labors and migrant workers. This program is designed to build self-esteem in teen girls, reducing their risk of school dropout, early marriage, domestic violence and abuse, human trafficking and increasing the likelihood they will pursue the advanced training and education. Another objective of this program is to help girls think about future jobs/career so that they will support themselves and their families as needed in order to have some economic independence.
In this second training, we have a total of 32 participants from ages 12 to 17 years old. “Light My Fire (LMF),” a US-based NGO, is sponsoring this program, “Empowering Women of Nepal. (EWN)” is implementing it.
Archana Karki Chhetri is the Program Coordinator. Our lead facilitators include Dipjaya, Ekshana Karki Chhetri, Isha Patakh and Tara Upreti. Four young girls from the first Girls Leadership Program are assisting the training program.
Based on feedback from last year, several modifications have been made to the program this year.
- We requested parents/family members to be included during orientation of the project
- Invited mothers/sisters to participate in the girls health course
- Included healthy snacks/fruits
- Developed more hands on materials
- Have given more duties and responsibilities to the girls
- Used four former GLP student to become future facilitators
- Used more energizers
- Improved our communication with the school program coordinator to avoid cancellations due to school holidays
- Planned on hosting a friendly match between mothers and daughters
- Have brought steel plates, glasses, spoons and forks to minimize paper and plastic waste
- Bought more sports equipment compared to our first training course
- The facilitators are also a bit more assertive with the students to maintain discipline in class
In order to make use of the one month school holiday we are offering this program each week for 3 hours per day for 5 days instead of 3 hours session once a week for nine months.
During our first week of programming, the following topics were offered: Communication, Peer pressure and Conflict. Also, Ms. Manu Hirachan, an entrepreneur, shared her experience and insight running a café in Pokhara. Participants and trainers played volleyball after every session. We are very grateful to two volunteers, Alexandra and Sujata, for their valuable support with the sports program.
Participants were highly cooperative and active. They were enthusiastic and disciplined in learning and playing. Although most were still shy and reluctant to speak, we could see that they were trying their best to participate in class.
Our second week module started with learning about health and hygiene. Nine different topics were taught : Boys and Girls, Body Image & Real Beauty, Menstruation, Hygiene, Wants and Needs, and Contraception& HIV/AIDS. Additionally, Ms. Jyanti Gurung shared her experiences and insight running a beauty parlor in Pokhara.
This week’s class mainly consisted of group work, presentations, art work and individual reflection. The facilitators are already seeing a big difference among the girls. They are more active, engaged and speaking up. The girls love to play volleyball. Even after their session is over many girls still want to stay behind and play more sports. Compared to the first week the girls are more eager, happy, more confident, motive, determined and eager to learn and share with their friends. There is more unity, cooperation and encouragement between themselves.
For the menstruation and HIV/Contraceptive class we had invited mothers/family to attend the course. Despite the heavy workload of these girls’ mothers and the transportation challenges they faced, five mothers attended and gave their full participation in the subject matter.
Reflections on these first two weeks of programming
Both guest speakers gave the girls lots of important information about running different businesses. They inspired and influenced some of the girls who are interested in pursuing their dreams of becoming business women. As the leadership skills are developed in these girls, their confidence and abilities to achieve these dreams should improve also. Lastly, we are very excited that some of the mothers attended one of these sessions and that they participated so freely and fully. Through the girls, we can provide some much needed education to their families and, based on their participation, we may find ways of further improving our effectiveness.