Kaolack Girls' Empowerment Camp 2014: 36 Girl Leaders Take on the Future
Peace Corps Senegal's annual Kaolack Girls' Empowerment Camp brought together 36 outstanding female students from the Kaolack, Kaffrine and Fatick regions for a week of activities that encouraged leadership, critical thinking, peer support and self confidence.
The week-long camp is planned by volunteers and supported by friends and family all over the world. Campers in attendance represent the best and the brightest in the region. They are nominated by their principles and Volunteers in their community. Camp features five theme days: Identity, Health, Environment, Gender and Future.
Camp is a week of firsts. For some girls, especially those from rural villages, it’s their first time away from home. They arrive as strangers and leave as friends. The girls keep journals and share their highs and lows each day before dinner in small groups led by their counselors. Each morning they practice yoga with Peace Corps volunteers and participate in leadership building activities that they can take home.
Today, girls are challenged to explore their thoughts and dreams. They collage journals which become a safe place to tackle the topics of their personal, familial and social identities. The girls even tie-dye t-shirts for some colorful fun.
We kick off the day with an interactive presentation led by a female health worker. With her guidance the girls approach sensitive health topics they may not otherwise be exposed to like personal development and sexual health. We practice treating minor cuts and burns during the First Aid. At the end of the week the girls return to their communities with health know-how and a homemade first-aid kit to share with their families.
This day is a celebration of women and their contributions to Senegal. The most moving activity is the gender question activity. Volunteers and counselors pose questions and the girls move to the "yes" or "no" sides of the room. The discussions this activity sparked kept the gender conversation going all week. The day ends with a traditional Sabaar drum circle.
The final day of camp is all about what's next. A panel of Senegalese professionals present their career paths and answer questions. Volunteers and counselors share their experiences and offer fresh perspectives on women in the workplace. Campers play theater games that highlight what they’ve discussed and finish the day with a broader view of the world and their place in it. The camp ends with a talent show from campers.
This camp is funding by the Peace Corps Partnership Program.
The Senegalese counselors and participating Volunteers are not compensated for their work at the camp. Donations fund food, transportation, supplies and lodging for the girls. Your donations create a week of memories that last a lifetime. Join Peace Corps Senegal in championing the women of the future. For more information on investing in your world through PCPP please visit http://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate