W-GDP Young Women's Leadership Training

  • Youth
  • Women's Global Development & Prosperity
  • Albania
This project is led by Derek Cary, a Volunteer from Illinois

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The goal of this project is to empower 24 adolescent girls, ages 14 to 17, from three small rural communities in the far south of Albania by providing them with the training and tools necessary to lead both emotionally and physically healthy lives, animate change in their communities and support local development by bridging divides between their communities. To achieve this, three Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) will run an expanded Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) camp in partnership with the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation (MWL). Further support is provided by regional municipality officials and service providers working in the communities. Through their extensive outreach work in the communities over the last five years, MWL staff have documented youths’ expressed needs for better socio-psychological services and skills training. To best meet the needs identified by community members and service professionals, this joint PC/MWL project is comprised of four integrated components. The first is a 5-day GLOW camp with a focus on building the leadership skills and service learning necessary to set the foundation for collaboration and collective action. The second camp module provides the girls with the tools and concepts needed to run small community service projects implemented in working groups. The third module focuses on their self-realization and healthy relationships as they transition to young adulthood. As the final component, project sustainability will be supported by the creation and regular meetings of a GLOW club facilitated through an Advice and Service Center of MWL located in the region.

One desired outcome of the project is the creation of a corps of motivated and trained young women who can act as an engine for change in their communities and the region. To maintain the momentum gained through the training modules, a GLOW social club will be formed. Units of the training have been designated for the girls to work together to create a name, logo and identity for this club. Furthermore, time will be spent during training to develop an action and time plan on how to continue their activities past the dates of the camps. These will be completed under the coaching and mentoring of the trainers. MWL is committed to continuing its strong and active engagement with the three target communities. To this purpose, a move from their current local community center to a new regional “Advice and Service Center” serving all three communities is planned for September of this year. From this location, the resident MWL social worker, Peace Corps volunteers and local service providers can maintain their active engagement with the GLOW club and follow up with the participants. Finally, the local government has promised to commit funds and support to the continuation of a GLOW social club. Acting as a consultant to the responsible regional municipality, MWL is providing support to local government officials in formulating a social policy plan for the region. The necessity to address the needs of youth in rural communities to help stem outward migration has been recognized by local officials as a priority. For example, the municipality has committed to providing a currently unused space as a meeting place for the GLOW social club.

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