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Exciting Updates from the Girls’ Advisory Council!

Posted 25 July 2018 in EMpower News   |   Share

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Girls in India have a lot to say. At EMpower, we’re listening.

On April 20-22, EMpower hosted the first ever Girl Advisory Council in Delhi! This council, formed by 16 adolescent girls who have been part of EMpower-supported programs run by our grantee partners, will inform and consult on EMpower’s work in India in order to best meet the needs of adolescent girls.

The Council meeting was a highly participative workshop where the girl leaders provided inputs for EMpower’s India Strategy. They brainstormed on the barriers that girls in their community face in accessing programs and proposed ideas to address these barriers. After collating their ideas, EMpower put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to current grantee partners, in order to put the girls’ expertise into action. This RFP will enable our grantees to look at obstacles faced by girls, create a proposal in partnership with girls and to test creative solutions suggested by the Girls Advisory Council. In addition, through implementing girls’ suggestions within their organizations, our grantees will be able to provide us with key insights about the feasibility and impact of the ideas suggested by girls.

The review process is happening now! Up to four awards will be made for INR 3,00,000 to INR 5,00,000 for the most innovative and feasible ideas to implement September, 2018 - February, 2019. The results from these awards will feed into our next Girls Advisory Council convening in April 2019, where the Girls will be instrumental in helping us craft our India Strategy for 2019-2022.

The 12 key themes that the girl leaders identified are:

  1. ENGAGING WITH PARENTS - The girls feel that their parents are their biggest gatekeepers. If organizations engage more frequently with parents, the girls’ chances of success would be higher.
  2. CONNECTING GIRLS TO GOVERNMENT SCHEMES / FACILITATING PAPERWORK - There are many government schemes, benefits and incentives that the girls are eligible for but they feel they do not know about them, or do not know how to access them.
  3. BEGINNING EARLY - Programs often begin too late. The girls spoke out about how it is vital to begin engagement early so that young people’s mind sets can be broadened before they have taken decisions about their education/careers.
  4. COUNSELOR / SUPPORT - Counselling is a key method to helping girls overcome issues.
  5. CREATING A GIRLS ONLY SPACE - The girls stated that it is vital to provide a safe space for girls to network and more importantly for them to complete their homework.
  6. TEACHERS AND TRAINERS - Teachers need to be gender aware, and sometimes it is difficult to communicate with teachers about concerns.
  7. ENGAGING WITH ALUMNI / ALUMNI AS TRAINERS - Alumni girls are the best community mobilizers and trainers, because they know exactly what the girls are going through in every step, and can serve as role models.
  8. LIVELIHOODS: ENGAGING WITH EMPLOYERS - Organizations must conduct a market mapping of which employers are out there and what skill set they are looking for, to best prepare girls for success.
  9. WHO ARE THE YOUNG PEOPLE YOU’RE WORKING WITH? -They suggest that NGOs consider expanding the scope of whom they are working with.
  10. FOCUSING ON OUR MINDS - Before any form of technical training, the girls have to work on their own minds first including self-confidence and the ability to make their own decisions.
  11. WORKING WITH BOYS - The girl leaders came up with a list of sessions that they believe are vital when working with boys.
  12. GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE - GBV affects all of the thematic areas, and must be addressed in terms of girls’ rights and recourse.

In addition to these broad themes, the girl leaders identified key outcomes and specific methods that organizations can use to implement the girls’ suggestions.

We look forward to the innovative ideas that our grantee partners, in conjunction with the girl experts, come up with to make these themes a reality!

The Girls’ Advisory Council pushes forward EMpower’s commitment to empowering girls to be the leaders and experts in changing their lives, communities and beyond.

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