Empowering Women and Girls
My organization, Just One Person, is developing a Global Women's Village in Kakamega, Kenya. The Village members are women of all circumstances who are working together to empower both themselves and the next generation of Kenyan women...high school girls. Local women's groups, with the assistance of informal micro finance programs, are starting small businesses with the support of Just One Person Kenyan volunteers. Once the businesses are profitable, rather than repaying monetary interest, the women's groups make small donations to to our adolescent girls programs.
High school girls attend life skills workshops organized and presented by women from the local community. Our life skills programs use 3 year curriculum tailored for girls in grades 10- 12. Girls who are Just One Person alumni also participate. They act as mentors and presenters at workshops.
In addition, JOP alumni have the opportunity to form a group and start an enterprise, enabling them to learn about entrepreneurship, economic independence as well as giving them the means to "pay it forward" for the girls who follow behind.
The goal for our Village model is to create financial and developmental sustainability on the ground. It doesn't rely on U.S. donors to "push the program along". It will only succeed if the women in the communities believe in the value of empowerment and are committed to the program's success.
Just like every other small NGO working in Africa, getting funding almost impossible and we all must rely on a few loyal donors to help the program grow. While we may be small, we all are passionate, hardworking and manage to accomplish a great deal on the ground with very little money.
I really think it is vital that we build a very strong coalition of small nonprofits who CAN get their voice heard. We need leverage and visibility as a collective....otherwise, we will continue to be frustrated as we watch the funding for girls' empowerment and education disappear into research and conferences.