Just Like My Child Foundation (JLMC) commits to implement The Girl Power Project® System in a Box: an evidence-based, three-year pilot program designed to support girls at a critical moment in their adolescent development. The project is anchored around a phased training and mentoring program that will be rolled out over three years in five Central Ugandan communities. Since 2009, JLMC has tested and assessed several approaches to empowering vulnerable girls in rural Uganda. The Girl Power Project will build on these preliminary successes and teach girls living in extreme poverty the life-skills needed to stay in school; and, avoid early pregnancy, forced child marriage, early dropout, disease, and vulnerability to violence.
Through a new partnership with Population Council, JLMC will use their Girl Roster Tool Kit to conduct a community mapping exercise to identify the specific characteristics of the target population for the Project. JLMC will enumerate the universe of girls aged 10 - 15 in each community and identify relevant aspects about the girls backgrounds (e.g. in school or out of school, marital status, family composition). Through this mapping, JLMC will also develop an inventory of community assets in order to build on existing resources and capacities at the local level. The mapping will provide the landscape of potential beneficiaries and their backgrounds, and will become a resource for other implementing partners working in this space.
The first phase of the project will build on the mapping exercise, and will include the selection of 50 girls per community who will participate in a three day Intro to Girl Power The workshop will address a variety of topics, including personal empowerment, peer pressure, communication skills, self-esteem, understanding puberty and bodies, violence against girls/women, and role models. Due to the pervasive culture of sexual and gender based violence in Uganda, The Girl Power Project provides a comprehensive set of tools to help girls protect themselves against it.
In the second phase, Developing Mentors, the 50 girls will participate in another three day workshop with a more advanced curriculum. Topics in this phase include: healthy relationships, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS awareness, gender roles, and leadership development. At the conclusion of this phase and under the guidance of the facilitator, Girl Power Participants will select 10 of the most engaged, older girls to move on to the next phase. During phase three, the 10 adolescent girl leaders will be trained in mentoring through Camp Girl Power. This two day camp provides additional training in mentoring and leadership skills, increasing the girls ability to return to their communities as trained mentors.
In the fourth and final phase, Mentoring in Practice, the Camp Girl Power mentors and graduates will lead Girl Power Project Club meetings throughout the year, and will mentor and support an estimated 9,000 younger girls in their community. Each meeting includes a 30-minute presentation that mentors teach from their Girl Power Project guide, followed by a one hour expert partner presentation. These trusted professional adult experts include police officers, attorneys, bankers, and nurses who deliver additional assets to the girls, such as knowledge of human rights law, Ugandan law, financial literacy, basic disease prevention, and health care.
The action plan from September 2015 through September 2018 includes a needs assessment with a trial scale up:
- 12 members of JLMCs leadership, Girl Power facilitators and partners are trained by Population Council on the ground
- Mapping for scale up in five communities in Luwero District, Central Uganda: JLMC will utilize Population Councils Girl Roster Tool Kit to identify the total number of girls aged 10-15 in their communities. JLMC will enumerate the universe of girls in each community, divide the girls into relevant segments (e.g. in school or out of school, married or unmarried, has children or not, and lives with one, both, or neither parent), and conduct in-depth inventory and mapping of community resources.
- Analysis of mapping results and build strategy to reach 50 to 80% of girls in established communities.
January through February 2016
- Establishing Community Partnerships through meetings with school management committees, assessment of conditions of girl population through school based baseline surveys and through sensitization meetings targeting educators and parents focused on the human and legal rights of girls and the benefits of supporting their empowerment.
February through March 2016
- Preparing 4 new Girl Power Facilitators with backgrounds in education, gender, community development and health promotion. These individuals will become members of JLMCs local team of Girl Power Project facilitators throughout the course of the three year pilot.
- Gathering baseline data of girls who have been identified through mapping (prior to any Girl Power interventions).
March through May 2016
- Phase I workshops (number of workshops determined after mapping)
June through August 2016
- Phase II workshops (number of workshops determined after mapping)
- Midterm Gathering of Data of girls who have been identified through mapping (after Two Phases of Girl Power interventions).
- Phase III: Camp Girl Power with chosen Girl Power Project mentors
January through December 2017
- Phase IV: Girl Power Project Mentors conduct Club Activities
- Final Evaluation of a full cycle of Girl Power Activities which include Girl Power Clubs, mapping, and scale up to reach 50 to 80% of population of vulnerable adolescent girls in selected communities in Luwero District, Central Uganda.
January 2018 September 2018
-Assess JLMCs organizational capacity and fill any gaps necessary in preparation for a faster scale up should final results conclude that The Girl Power Project® system is an effective and proven model. Filling of organizational gaps may include hiring additional staff, acquiring an office, vehicles and equipment necessary to support a larger staff and potentially formally establishing implementing partnerships.
-Initiate scale up when fully resourced and prepared.
Uganda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa with 38% of the population living in extreme poverty and earning less than $1.25 per day (UNICEF 2015). Furthermore, 49% of Ugandas total population of nearly 40 million is under the age of 15 (UNICEF 2012), which highlights the importance of creating targeted, evidence-based programs that provide critical resources for Ugandan youth (Population Council, UNICEF 2013). This skew in population is a direct result of the AIDS epidemic, which decimated the older, working-age population (UBOS 2011).
As is true in many countries, Ugandan women and girls suffer the greatest burden of poverty, injustices, and abuses (UNFPA 2013). As a result of a social and cultural landscape that subordinates, excludes, isolates, and disempowers girls, 85% of girls drop out of school early (UNICEF 2014). This has alarming social, economic and health repercussions. Nike Girl Effect estimates a $10 billion loss in earning potential; according to The World Health Organization, childbirth is the leading cause of death for girls between 15 and 19 (WHO 2014); and 87% of rape victims are girls between the ages of 9 and 17 (ACFODE 2009).
There are close to one million adolescent girls aged 10-19 living within the Central 2 Region of Uganda where Just Like My Child (JLMC) works. Nearly 160,000 of these girls are considered extremely vulnerable by empirical studies done at the individual, household and community level by Population Council and over 900,000 girls experience vulnerability at the community level. (Population Council, UNICEF 2013, WHO 2015).
The trend in this region shows the vast majority of girls between 10 and 15 years old are enrolled in primary school, but nearly 50% drop out by age 15. The causes for this prevalence in dropouts vary, but often include forced child marriage and pregnancy. Girls become sexually active and begin producing children before their bodies and minds are fully developed (Population Council, UNICEF 2013).