Financial Independence Training for Girls

  • Education
  • Community Growth
  • Women & Gender
  • Youth
  • Georgia
This project is led by Ross Babineau, a Volunteer from Maryland

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The purpose of this grant is to support the development of the communities young women by giving them a space to overcome barriers to their employment and financial independence. In tandem with a set of trainings, the project will be aided by the creation of a designated room equipped with the necessary technologies and materials for trainings in resume writing, applying to universities and job prospects in Georgia as well as two trainings lead exclusively by Georgian young women in the school. The room will continually motivate young women to overcome the socio-political barriers associated with gaining financial independence as a woman in Georgia. This project has two primary components. The first is the creation of a sustainable space equipped with the proper technologies and renovated infrastructure to facilitate long term, effective and motivated participation of young women to continually strive towards financial independence in the village. The second portion is the facilitation of immediate training followed by the rooms completion, as well as continued use by a motivated counterpart and newly motivated students who will strive to erase the barriers to financial independence of women in the community.

During preliminary discussions held in October, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counterpart, and the Director of the local School (herein referred to as Director) spoke about a number of potential focuses for a grant project under the Peace Corps' guidelines. As discussed during this time, one primary problem women face in the local community is the issue of domestic violence and in particular the options survivors of domestic violence have for intervention into their own circumstances. After a problem tree exercise between CP, Director, and PCV it was apparent that a large issue facing survivors of domestic violence was a lack of financial independence. As described by Director and CP, many women do not have the material recourse to support themselves and their families in the case of an abusive partner often trapping them in a cycle of violence. Addressing the issue of financial independence for young women in the community became the focus of the grant. Following this discussion CP and PCV made a needs assessment for students to bring to their families. A total of 29 completed surveys were counted. The needs assessment measured the financial independence of women in the community, the normative culture surrounding the issue of work in the house as well as annual income and financial security of the families. It is common wisdom in the village that financial problems remain substantial barriers to the wellbeing of families however, PCV requested that a formal needs analysis take place to bolster the argument of the grant, the needs assessment also reflected the idea that women face a number of challenges to securing their financial security (refer to background section). Following this analysis, CP, Director and PCV sat down for a strategic planning session to discuss what addressing the problem of financial independence of women would look like. With a substantive needs assessment complete, a number of critical insights could be determined with an adequate representative data set. CP and Director noticed from the surveys that although women recognized that they would have more trouble supplying for their family independently than men, they did not recognize that their was institutional sexism in the job market working against them. CP and Director agreed that addressing the problem would require a two pronged approach to addressing financial independence. Trainings on skills associated with (resume building, job opportunities in Georgia, financial literacy, and acquiring a marketable education in Georgia), would be complimented with gender sensitivity training for young men as well as women on the socio-economic barriers to women. Finally, to support the longevity of a program geared towards continually supporting the financial independence of women, CP and Director agreed that a refurbished space in the school should be created that would be dedicated to carrying out trainings to support the financial independence of women. The Director, CP and the Director Assistant will be helping to carry out training's and designing the curriculum for the training's. PCV will help compile research and use his laptop for the creation of the presentation only. In addition, the school maintenance keeper has promised to oversee the refurbishing of the room, calling contractors and making sure the project is finished on time. Even installing the new door knob for free. 5 other teachers will also be present to the sessions to keep students involved in group work and making sure they continue to contribute.

After the training series is concluded, the young women participants will be asked to make a 1, 3, and 5 year plan that supports their financial independence. One of the points emphasized by PCV for the creation of the room will be that it will facilitate yearly training's for young women to support their financial independence. Director views the room and its curriculum as a critical contribution to education which will distinguish it from local schools. Director and CP are excited to continue the program once PCV leaves. CP will use the technology in the room and the motivated space during the 'off-season' to strengthen her English language classes. This will keep her motivated to upkeep the room. The room also has a lock to protect it from people who will want to steal from it. In addition, PCV will download anti-virus software on the computers to protect it from viral damage.

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