Xam sa bopp. Fonk sa bopp. Gem sa bopp: The Sixth Annual Kaolack Girls' Leadership and Empowerment Camp

By Peace Corps Senegal
Aug. 31, 2015
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One of the counselor's daughters, Safie, became the mascot of the camp and a willing participant in the trust fall exercise.

To celebrate international youth day, Peace Corps Volunteers in the larger Kaolack-Kaffrine-Fatick region gathered with 39 Senegalese teenaged girls for the 6th Annual Kaolack Girls' Leadership and Empowerment Camp.  16 volunteers were joined by four Senegalese women passionate about girls' rights, who volunteered their time and talents at the camp.  Girls were chosen throughout the three regions by Peace Corps Volunteers and local educators, seeking out high performing girls in danger of being taken out of school or disadvantaged in other ways.  The five-day camp focused on self-identity, female health, environment, gender, and setting goals for the future.

The goals of the camp were to introduce new knowledge, increase individual self-esteem, encourage critical thinking, and create a peer support network within the group of girls.  Our mantra throughout the camp was:

Xam sa bopp.  Fonk sa bopp.  Gem sa bopp. ("Know yourself. Respect yourself. Believe in yourself.")

From those of us on the planning team, we'd like to extend our many thanks to those involved.  From the generous donors to the courageous girls to our guest speakers to those goofy, hard working Peace Corps Volunteers, you created a wonderful camp for us all.


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Volunteers Erica and Austin speak Wolof upside-down with goggly eyes stuck to their chins. A real crowd pleaser.
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Agriculture Volunteers Dana and Rita assist with some leadership games to help the girls get more comfortable with one another.
AgFo PCV Denise Garcia does some cross-culture work with her traditional Mexican dance routine, complete with twirly skirt!
Agroforestry Volunteer Denise does some cross-culture work with her traditional Mexican dance routine, complete with twirly skirt!
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The girls took time to journal throughout each day to reflect on what they learned and create a memento from camp.
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Peace Corp staff member Sidy Touré discussed domestic violence, the importance of education, and how this generation is part of a revolution for gender equality.
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Community Economic Development program assistant Tall Diop led the girls in a money management activity called the Best Game.
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Senegal recently passed a ban on plastic bags, so the girls made their own reusable ones out of colorful Senegalese fabric.
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The fearless Peace Corps Volunteer counselors.
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Peace Corps Volunteers took the girls swimming in the mangroves, a new experience for some.
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Volunteers Denise and Erin lead a session on social geography.
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Agroforestry Volunteer Carly poses with some of the girls.
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Agroforestry Volunteer Angela has mastered Senegalese dancing.
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One of the local facilitators shows off her moves!
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Counselors and campers take a crazy shot at the end of the week.

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