Girls’ Advancement Program (Wezesha Vijana)
Numerous studies have shown that girls’ education is one of the most cost-effective strategies for promoting development and economic growth. Unfortunately, multiple factors get in the way of girls receiving the education they need.
Understanding relevant cultural, social, and health factors is critical to addressing girls’ education and the “keeping girls in school” gap. Asante Africa Foundation collaborated with parents, local leaders and other organizations with empirically proven models in the education, financial and health sectors, to develop a community-based program that changes the dynamic by:
Assisting schools in providing safe and healthy spaces for girls
Building peer support networks such as girl-led school clubs
Fostering greater communication between parents and their daughters
Educating girls in sexual maturation, reproductive health, and children’s rights
Mobilizing young women as community mentors and role models
Teaching boys to be a support system and an ally to the girls
• Girls are more at risk of dropping out
of school than boys and are less likely to advance to secondary school
• Girls are more likely to encounter sexual violence
• Girls are more often subjected to cultural traditions around early marriage, and practices like female genital mutilation that still exist in some areas.
• Girls lack the proper knowledge about puberty, pregnancy, and personal rights that lead them to immediately opt out of school once these issues arise.
Our partnerships with P&G, Weyerhaeuser, and community-based organizations focus on a multi-effort approach that reaches out to adolescent girls alongside mothers and male peers so that they can learn about reproductive health and rights, as well as financial literacy and personal safety.
All programming includes community support, parental engagement, peer mentoring, and boy inclusion. Our mother-daughter intervention model improves community support to keep girls in school longer while promoting improved long- term health outcomes outside of it. Girls also serve as peer facilitators and it allows their confidence and impact to multiply as they share their knowledge with mothers, sisters, and peers. Already, our data and stories demonstrate a direct impact on healthier choices, improved school attendance, and academic performance.
All programming includes community support, parental engagement, peer mentoring, and boy inclusion.
Our program results show that post-intervention, girls have increased knowledge on body maturation and puberty, with 85% of participants reporting that they confidently attend classes during menstruation and 70% reporting that they know the importance of preventing HIV. Financial understanding has increased, with 95% appreciating the significance of saving for future goals. 89% of girls at schools involved with the program have demonstrated an improvement in academic performance.
GIRLS’ ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM AWARDS
UNICEF awards a UN Girls Education Initiative grant for promising practice
Mary Kwena, Girl’s Program Manager, Receives WWSF Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life 2015
Anne Kiloku, Named Outstanding Woman of Likipia Country, Kenya-2015
“I learnt how to save money so I can help my mother buy school supplies, and rear chickens at home.”
“I can handle menstruation by use of pads and maintain body cleanliness unlike before the training.”
CAROLYNE, Kenya Girls’ Program Manager
“I had a strong will that one day I would change the trend in the male dominated society.”