Girls' Livelihood and Empowerment Club
- Women & Gender
In order to promote education and empowerment of female students in the community, we are creating a girls’ club. The club will offer classes on health, empowerment and leadership; and programs such as basic ICT, sports, baking, and beeswax pomade and soap making. The community has provided an “office” space for the club. The office is located in a secured compound. The compound is gated, and is located next to the local police station. The building itself has windows with metal bars, and will be further burglar-proofed with new padlocks. The grant request will cover the cost of renovating the venue, and purchasing supplies for the club, including: six bikes, three computers, a projector, a printer, and several books to start a small library. We are intentionally investing in the aesthetic and resources that is available in this space, because we believe that a thoughtfully designed and resourced space, will be an environment that promotes empowerment, hope, and dignity in our girls. Many of the aforementioned materials will also generate income for the club, as we are able to open their use to the community, at a fee. For example, we are able to rent our bikes to the community; we can also charge the community a small fee to use the computers and a fee to print. These fees, along with the revenue from our food security projects, will be able to maintain our space and technology, as well as fund excursions for the girls.
The teachers and community members expressed interest in providing community girls with a program to support their education and promote empowerment. They believe that a girls’ club would be the best way to achieve this goal. For the past 3 months, the teachers from the local Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) have been working along with the PCV, to design a program that would best impact the girls. Together, they have reached the conclusion that a club that promotes education, health, empowerment, and leadership, would best benefit the girls of this community. As a result, we have designed a club that will meet weekly, to address these needs. The teachers also expressed concerns over the poor attendance of female students, resulting from their lack of access to hygienic products when they are menstruating. In order to address this issue, the club will host a Reusable Menstrual Pads (RUMPS) training. We will provide the girls in the club the training, and the materials to sew their own reusable menstrual pads. At a later date, they will host a community event to share this information with other women and girls in the community. To ensure sustainability and commitment, the community has offered part of the old waterboard office for the girls to use as their office, and meeting space. They have also offered to cover the cost of electricity, carpentry and electrical labor.
The girls in this club will become peer educators, mentors, and leaders in their community. They will share the knowledge that they have acquired from the club, with their peers, and the larger community through various community-wide programs. As a result, the club will have a broader reach and impact on the community. In addition, by training peer educators to serve as advisors to the club, we are ensuring that there will be many qualified and interested individuals available to run the club after the PCV has left the community. After the initial funding of this program has been exhausted, the girls will still be able to sustain their club through the revenue from their food security projects, printing business, bike rentals, and movie nights. In order to market and sell the products of our food security projects, we will be hosting monthly “pop ups” in the regional capital, Cape Coast. This is to target a market that will be more interested in these natural products: tourists. Selling these products around tourist dense areas, will result in higher revenue, than simply attempting to sell in the community and market town. We will also partner with local shops to distribute the products. Currently, individuals and organizations in the community, including the schools, must travel to the market town to print. It costs about 20 cents per page to print at the market town. If we are able to get a printer, and market it to our community, as well as surrounding communities, this would generate great revenue for the club; as it would redirect communities members, neighbors, and local organizations, to the club for their printing needs. As for the bikes, the girls will be able to use them for short errands around the community and neighboring communities. However, we will be charging community members to rent them for short errands, as well. We are confident that this will also be a source of great revenue, considering there are very few bikes in the community. Another business venture that we have recently contemplated is movie nights. We would use the projector to play a movie at the venue every weekend, and community members would pay a small fee to come in and watch the film. The funds generated from this program, would also go toward maintaining the club.
The club will have a committee, including a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. While these positions will be held by the club members, the treasurer position will be shared by a member and the SHS business teacher (who will also serve as an adviser to the club). We will open a bank account, and they will be the authorized signatories on the account. We will require very strict record keeping: income records, receipts for withdrawing money, pay slip for deposits, as well as receipts for any purchase or service paid with the club’s fund. Furthermore, we plan to use the money earned from all of these income generating ventures to maintain the club: purchase stationary, technical maintenance of the computers and projector, fund future food security projects, club activities, etc. In the event that the food security products are not as lucrative as we are expecting, we plan to charge the club members a small ICT fee, and open the ICT courses to women in the community, for a fee. The venue of the club is located within my compound; so for now, I am able to manage it. But we are looking for recent SHS graduates in the community who will be trained to manage every aspect of the venue.