Throughout Thailand, gender inequality contributes to Thai youth displaying an inaccurate sense of self-worth, capabilities, and potential. This barrier is the driving force behind GLOW/BROS. GLOW (Girls Lead Our World) is a global movement and the inspiration for Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) projects worldwide, in which PCVs and their communities create camps and clubs that enable young girls to become confident leaders. The most recent evolution of GLOW Thailand is GLOW/BROS (Boys Respecting Others and Self), which includes both girls and boys, as we recognize that all youth have an important role in promoting gender equality within their communities.
Youth from PCV host communities across central and east Thailand will be invited to attend a five-day camp in Prachinburi province. The camp will take place just after Halloween, which is three weeks before Loy Krathong, a festival synonymous with teen romance. The camp will emphasize respecting yourself and others, finding your voice through activities focused on self-esteem, leadership, goal setting, and healthy relationships. By focusing on topics such as these, youth participants will gain an increased sense of control over their own circumstances and the tools necessary to make informed and healthy decisions. Another key focus of the camp is the promotion of swimming safety through different courses, and hypothetical scenarios which will test their decision making.
Youth participants will be accompanied by their PCV as well as a host country counterpart, such as a teacher or youth group leader. With the support of the PCV and their Thai counterparts, these youth leaders will be motivated and prepared to start GLOW/BROS clubs when they return home to their schools, further educating and encouraging their peers to create positive change in their communities.
The GLOW/BROS camp is a product of two years of work between the Peace Corps Volunteer, the Sub-Administrative Organization (SAO), and two schools in the Prachinburi province. The SAO is concerned with the growing rate of teen pregnancy in their community, and youth leadership/confidence. To address this concern, they provided support for a PCV to initiate GLOW/BROS clubs in two community schools. The GLOW/BROS model has been fully embraced by the directors at both schools. Eight students from each school along with two Thai teachers from the GLOW/BROS clubs were previously trained in the gender-leadership curriculum and will help with the planning and implementation of the camp. During the camp, the youth leaders will co-facilitate gender-related sessions, teachers will support the counterpart training, and the SAO will offer logistical support. The community will also be providing discounted lodging and space for the camp to conduct teacher training and GLOW/BROS activities. The aforementioned lodging is also equipped with a swimming pool for safety training, as well as their own leadership camp activities.
The communities new to GLOW/BROS will be sending a local Thai counterpart to the camp along with the PCV and youth. This will require excusing a teacher or staff member from their daily responsibilities for the duration of the camp, and by doing so the community acknowledges the camp’s value. Additionally, each community will pledge to start GLOW-related clubs in their schools, further demonstrating their commitment to the camp’s objectives and promoting the growth of the GLOW model nationwide.
PCVs, youth, and counterparts will be asked to list ways in which they can take the skills and information gained during the camp and implement it in their respective communities. This will manifest in the form of more clubs in the participating schools. Currently, there are already two GLOW/BROS clubs at two of the participating schools. They understand that the goal is to spread this model to the other schools. The Youth Council participation along with the Local Government Agency (SAO) provides a source of funding and organizational support to the schools as well. This will ensure that the benefits of the camp have an ongoing effect in the attendees’ communities in addition to impacting their individual lives in a lasting way. The schools will also work towards running a GLOW camp next year and invite the group of PCVs, counterparts and students to further ensure the program’s sustainability moving forward.