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Seeking your input for meeting with Nike and peer funders next week!

Hello Everyone-

I'm heading to New York mid-next week for a meeting with Nike and some of our peer organizations (that also receive funding from Nike to support adolescent girls). One topic at that meeting is focused on better understanding adolescent girl-led organizations---their challenges, most effective strategies, and how funders can most effectively support them.

It would be wonderful to hear your thoughts on this and to be able to share them with Nike next week on your behalf. Specifically, are there any additional ways, besides financial support, that funders can support adolescent girl-led organizations?

Any thoughts you have on the matter, based either on your own experiences or observations, would be very much appreciated! Given the short time frame of next week, even just a few sentences with your opinions would be wonderful.

Thanks in advance!

Anjali

Comments

gayatri's picture

FAT's experiences

We are trying to hand over the tech center we run to the girls we have trained so far. It has not been successful as yet. I am going to list the challenges we are facing:

1. It has been a challenge to get the girls to come to the center as participants because of the limitations on their mobility as imposed by family members as well as the work load at home. Now they have started to come for 2 hrs a day for learning. However to get involved in the management of the center, they have to commit more time which is again challenge.

2. Due to our interventions, many girls have gone back to continue their studies. Some of them are attending college while some have taken private classes so that they can appear high school exams as private candidates. This is a success and we are very happy about it. However, this also means they have to make good amount of time for studies and attending regular classes. Education is always the priority.

3. While they all want to do a lot, we have failed to see initiative taking. We are still struggling to solve this issue. They tell us that they feel very enthused and determined after their discussions at FAT office but they lose all enthusiasm after reaching home. By the next day, its all back to the same as before. We feel this means they need more confidence to negotiate within the family and community.

That's all for now from FAT.

Gayatri

"I wondered if you want to start now creating a 'parents/community group' of a few relatively supporting older folks with whom you can sit, and talk about how important this process is to build the girls' skills as well as their livelihood opportunities (since, of course, that's what will sell the idea). And slowly build up support for the centre from their end, so the girls don't feel isolated in their enthusiasm.

It's one of the strategies I've used in the past around building support for young women's SRRH - start with the girls, then the parents/community, then put together if possible. Perhaps with a little party where the girls demonstrate their new found prowess - perhaps looking at an issue that is based on the community - like, searching for maps that show the water connections in the slum or electricity or... you know what I mean - strategic community entry points!"

Thanks, Gayatri, for this response! I wonder if others of you are also facing similar challenges or found successful strategies to work around those challenges?

INFOTEKA Zenica's picture

Money dummies

Well, one thing that we have been constantly talking about is the fact that we have never learned to take care about our own, private, finances and taxes.

And we have seen the same thing in the new generation of feminist activist - none of us really knows how to spend money (and by that we do not mean going to a shopping Mal or spending all money during one drinking session with friends :-) in a local women's cafe).

Are feminist activists really dummies when it comes to personal finances?

Is there a way to develop a program that would give personal financial skills to adolescent girls?

Is there a program that supports women's friendly investing in future - savings, health care, retirement plan?

I applaud both your organizations for the work you do.

Gayatri, I agree with the effectiveness of Anjali’s strategy of creating opportunities, such as the party, to showcase the immeasurable skills that you are empowering young women with. I think both the girls you train and their families/communities would greatly benefit from realizing that the girls are tremendous assets to their communities. From my experiences, I am learning that giving young girls ownership over their work and a voice to (experience and) share the value of their work with those who could be their biggest supporters or pose obstacles – is transformative. Your work really hits home the idea that I think the Nike Foundation’s projects emphasize: when you educate a boy, you educate an individual. When you educate a girl, you educate a whole community.

To my sisters at INFOTEKA: I think as feminists, we need to frequently acknowledge the very real continuance of structures that oppress and disempower women. The systems within which women, especially adolescent women, operate as financial agents, are constructed in a manner that exacerbate the following dichotomy: those who can thrive financially, and those who cannot. I resonate with your statement about women-friendly financial programs and believe that we need such programs. Such programs can begin with identifying the binary within which women are placed in the less empowered space and then sharing tools and trainings that honor their experiences and support them in feeling successful as financially independent and confident young women. There are such economic empowerment programs over the world, and are even represented in the organizations part of this forum, which focus specifically on building economic skills amongst adolescent girls.

Suparna Kudesia
Peer Educator, RAHI Foundation
www.supportrahi.com // www.rahifoundation.org

The biggest challenges include the following:

Inability of young people to team up and remain loyal to the cause over time, especially when funds are not regular to implement activities, they become bored and consider it a waste of their time.

Leadership is not sustained because of social mobility as a result of marriage, parent's relocation, further learning of trade, study, or search for greener pastures. This is from our experience in our Girls’ Parliament.

Interference in the organisation by husbands or would be husbands and diversion of funds. This was our experience in the Women in Secure Enterprise Program, in which some of the younger beneficiaries reported that their husbands were always demanding for money from them thereby not allowing them to plan and be strategic with their spending. In that way they could not re-invest any of the earned income.

Most effective strategies:

1. Empowering women-led organisations to identify girls wishing to lead organisations and execute specialised training this cadre of girls in resource mobilization to enable them begin on a stable footing from the word ‘go’. Occassional funding does not go well with such efforts.

2. Giving direct technical support to adolescent girl-led organisations by appointing older women-led organisations as mentors is a great strategy, in terms of organizational management, board development and community support, to forestall husband and family interferences

3. Conducting training for girls outside of the immediate location, such as in regional or international training, will be both an incentive and a means of equipping them with additional capacities and self-confidence through exposure and a means of gingering their commitment to set goals.

Thanks for representing us at the meeting.

Theresa

No world without women and girls !!!

I second Theresa’s appreciation – thank you for representing us at the meeting.

Following are some of the challenges we face in the delivery of our adolescent girl-centered goals that we require support for:

i) Creating more opportunities for regular follow-ups and professional development for our Peer Educators (PE’s) who complete the Peer Education Program (PEP): each of our PE cohorts could benefit greatly from regular collaborations and a sustainable way to share ideas for improving the PEP and becoming next-generation leaders of the PEP so that PEP can become a self-sustainable program.
ii) Resources to connect our Survivor Groups (first of their kind amongst adolescent women who are survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) and incest in India) and our PEP to address healing and advocacy more holistically: creating positive alumnae networks of the young women who are graduates of the PEP program and may also be survivors themselves, to build and nurture survivor networks.
iii) The need for stronger relationships with media that are engaged in making the issue visible.

Some of the most effective strategies we are practicing in our work are:

i) Creating opportunities for PE’s to stay connected to the larger work and movement of ending CSA and incest and building awareness: we have done this through building opportunities for adolescent girls and women to leverage entry points to the larger movement much into their adulthood.
ii) Providing technical assistance as an innovative leader in the field to end incest and CSA in India to other organizations, including, educational institutions, through our trainings.
iii) Build our internal capacity and skills for training, development and information sharing.

The ways in which funders can support our work:

i) Create more accessible opportunities for information and resource sharing (such as this forum!) for grassroots organizations all around the globe.
ii) Have more positive reinforcements in place for grassroots and smaller organizations to raise awareness around the connections between policies and change at the grassroots levels.

Suparna Kudesia
Peer Educator, RAHI Foundation
www.supportrahi.com // www.rahifoundation.org

INFOTEKA Zenica's picture

after the meeting

dear anjali,

we are still waiting to hear were you able to use our comments at your meeting? is there any result and suggestion?

we would love to hear your feedback!!

warm regards,

infoteka team

Anjali M's picture

Thank you, everyone!

Hello Infoteka team (and all!)-

First of all, thank you all for your extremely insightful and thoughtful comments! I read every single one of them out loud at the meeting and everyone in the room was so inspired and grateful for your input. In fact, there is a lot of interest in inviting grantee representatives to our next meeting in Amsterdam so that more of this type of learning from the grantees themselves can happen!

My apologies for the delay in sending you a reportback. Since I was facilitating this session, I wasn't able to take notes. The notes from the meeting should be shared with me this week, at which time I'll be able to share some of the highlights. I can say that although there were no concrete results that came out of this particular session, it did raise some questions that we hope to examine further. I'll elaborate more when I share the notes!

Thanks for checking, and again my apologies for the delay!

Thanks,

Anjali

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