The purpose of this project is to promote empowerment, self-esteem, and leadership amongst young girls in Samoa by providing them an opportunity to attend a Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) conference. Currently in its 8th year in Samoa, the GLOW conference is increasing in capacity by bringing together approximately 115 girls from 38 rural villages on the islands of Upolu, Savai'i, and Manono to this powerful platform for learning and growth. The conference will also host 38 village women for mentorship training that ensures capacity building, growth, and sustainability for GLOW in Samoa. Twelve Peace Corps Samoa volunteers will attend as collaborators with local organizations. The four days, three night conference is structured around the three pillars of GLOW: Careers and Education, Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds, and Ending Violence Against Women and Children. The girls will attend training sessions and activities implemented by influential Samoan women. Past activities and sessions have included a doctor educating about reproductive health, a representative from the Special Olympics providing hands-on activities, visiting the Samoan Observer newspapers to discuss careers, planting trees with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, learning first aid skills with the Samoan Red Cross, a female speaker from the Samoan Rugby Union, and UN Women hosting a discussion on the issue of domestic violence. This year's conference will entail similar sessions designed to expand the girls' knowledge of and encourage empowerment around the three pillars. Speakers will share advice and success stories with the girls to motivate them to develop their own success stories. At the end of the sessions, the girls will participate in goal setting and leadership activities to help them develop their ideas for how to take these messages back to their villages and local GLOW clubs and spread the information to more girls in the village communities.
Similar to the last three years, Peace Corps Volunteers are collaborating with the Ministry of Women and UN Women as the local partners for the conference. They are also bringing on three new cooperative consorts: Samoa Youth Council, United Nations Development Programme, and the Young Women's Christian Association of Samoa. These collaborative forces are taking an active approach in the planning process by providing input on scheduling, program development, and potential community contributors. The primary local organization acting as the counterpart for this project is the Founder and President of Samoa Stationary and Books.
The conference also encompasses the local sponsorship and support of several small business owners; some that have contributed to past conferences and some supplementary partnering organizations. To further ensure community involvement, all youth participants and counterparts will attend as representatives of an established GLOW club in their villages. Therefore, the knowledge and skills gained by both girls and counterparts will be shared with their local clubs post conference to increase overall capacity building of the program and ensure sustainability of the GLOW ideals and attributes.