The primary goal of GLOW/BRO camp is to facilitate growth and empowerment of 40 youth ages 15-18 in a town in Ecuador. Together, Peace Corps Volunteers and Ecuadorian counterparts will lead a 4-day overnight camp with activities focused in four themes; sexual education, gender, self-esteem, and leadership. Through these four topics, the campers will be encouraged to be change agents in their high schools and communities. They will become more aware of the rights of women and the impact of gender roles in their communities and Ecuador. We will reflect on the representation of women in society and how this affects their daily life. They will explore self-esteem, body image, communication and decision making practices to boost self-confidence and leadership. They will set goals and define skills they possess that could drive their career. Furthermore, they will break down myths and norms of society that give way to healthier relationships. Four Ecuadorian counterparts are involved in the planning of the camp and will co-facilitate the camp alongside Peace Corps Volunteers. The facilitators are from the same communities as the campers and are prominent leaders. The youth who attend the camp will be more informed about their own sexual and reproductive health, gender stereotypes and gender in their communities. More importantly, they will know strategies, tools, and people they can rely on and use to create change. They will have strengthened leadership skills and self-confidence to positively impact their communities and to continue GLOW and BRO programs alongside their Ecuadorian counterparts.
The counterpart of PCV Emma Peel is the head nurse and director of the Ministry of Health center in a rural community in Bolivar province. Significant planning and execution assistance was also provided by the principal of the high school. The Ministry of Health and its employees work consistently with children and youth to increase leadership of young people in the community. The foundation has strong ties and is considered a prominent actor in the province. This past year, PCV Emma Peel and her Ecuadorian counterparts have worked in the high school by conducting an 8-week GLOW club with a group of 13 young women, ages 15 to 18. We have discussed topics ranging from gender roles to goal setting. From this club, we are gaining more experience in gender equality work as an organization, as well as best practices for working with youth. The local counterparts will play strong roles in facilitating the camp with their experience in co-directing our GLOW club. The camp will help strengthen the counterpart’s goals and experience in female empowerment as well as working with boys on gender equality.
Each volunteer helping with the GLOW/BRO camp, alongside their Ecuadorian counterparts, has already formed and successfully executed youth and/or girls groups in their respective sites. Prior to the camp taking place the PCVs will host a training of trainers (TOT) for the facilitators. This will be a full day training where they will learn more about GLOW, the mission, purpose and goals and how to implement them through activities. The counterpart organization chosen for this camp, the Ministry of Health, already works in youth groups, promoting sexual and reproductive health as well as gender equality and female leadership. After the camp, counterparts and participants will share the information with their current youth groups and then seek to grow their youth groups or form more groups where they can share this subject matter. Part of the camp will address how to spread the information into the community, specifically how to involve men and boys in promoting gender equality. In this way the camp not only attempts to make the activities sustainable, but to give the community a start on spreading these messages of gender equality to a larger audience, one not always reached with this invaluable information.