How to empower a poor school of young girls with no access to the internet?

Just recently I was approached by a friend of my mom that asked me for advise on what to do in order to empower some young girls from a remote area where she is living now. They do not have access to internet and she told me that the only aspiration the girls have is to get marry and have a husband that supports them economically. I suggested her the following things (please see below) but I would like to know, based in your experience, about which other things I can suggest this lady to do? Thank you 1. Change the story telling : instead of telling stories about Disney princess talk about powerful women that have change their societies. Focus on the work of the main character of the story and not in their relationship adventures (as with princesses) 2. Change their role models: Invite powerful women that can tell their stories and have a talk with the girls in the school. 3. Create a Women Collective: create a group that have regular meetings (not compulsory) where women can talk about their problems or about something they read on the news. Also this group can be used as a "secure place for shelter" if any of the girls have been abused or is being harassed. Belonging to a bigger community that supports her can help them to not to be afraid of talking about it. 4. Involve parents and teachers: Although not many of them would like to be part of it, initiate a conversation with parents and teachers and discuss together what can be done to empower girls at the school. Any more suggestions would be really greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot!

Relevant Tags:

Social dialogue
  • Lourdes Gallego

    Hi everybody! I agree with you all, the points you wrote down are very interesting. We have to show the girls all the things they can do by themselves, and the best way is by economic empower women who share their cases with them, and gives them the idea to try themselves with the career they choose.

    But I think it is also crucial to involve the whole community on the task: families and teachers, but also neighbours, businesses, entrepreneurs, friends, and known people. All of them have to know that they can get a better community if all of them participate on it, if girls and women have their own space on the community and take and active part on it. I think it is necessary to invite economic empower women to give a talk in order to share their cases with everybody.

  • Dear all, I have decided to write a blog post about this issue and by talking to you and more people I could gather eleven actions that can be done. Unfortunately the post is in Spanish but if you use google translator  you can understand what they are about. Briefly here I will point them out :

    1. Promote group activities such a sports where they can find a playful environment of friendship.

    2. Change the children tales from Disney type to tales about women changing their societies

    3. Expose the to new role models

    4. Create a women's collective

    5. Involve parents and teachers

    6. Selfteach yourself about the empowering of women, do it for them.

    7. Train them into learning new skills such as handcraft, making cheese, making earing, fix cars, etc. Make their enterpreneural self to show up

    8. Explain them that the term "things for boys/girls" is obsolete, nowadays everyone has to learn to do everything.

    9. Fundraise for taking the girls for an expedition to the closest city or some different environment.

    10. Bring books, promote reading

    11. Promote gender equality among their moms, they are their first role models.

    Here i leave you the full story : https://ekpapalek.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/como-promover-que-ninas-sin-acceso-al-internet-incursionen-en-ciencia/

  • jannatul ferdous

    Dear Clarissa

    I absolutely do agree with your amazing suggestions in low resource setting. However, dealing with elderly people n making them understand might not always be easy. But we can always be hopeful towards good changes in community and making small circle of women might bring a bigger change one day for sure!

  • jannatul ferdous

    Dear Clarissa

    I absolutely do agree with your amazing suggestions in low resource setting. However, dealing with elderly people n making them understand might not always be easy. But we can always be hopeful towards good changes in community and making small circle of women might bring a bigger change one day for sure!

  • Heeshma Chhatralia

    Clarissa, the points that you have mentioned are very good. Having women to share their success stories would be excellent. Parents and teachers are primary role models to students and by engaging them to empower girls can be effective. You may also want to consider adding a practical course to the curriculum - like working in groups and trying to come with a solution to an existing problem in the society. For example - solving a health problem by creating awareness through posters, speeches, etc. They could apply their textbook knowledge to come up with solutions. Field trips to organisations and industries can help nurture interests to join such places and help develop their society. They can pick up these skills and values and in turn support economic development. 

  • Roman Girma Teshome

    I totally agree with the suggested points. In addition, she can use books to inspire these girls and change their perspectives. I believe books can play a great role in shaping personality and creating motivation. Hence, provide inspirational books to these girls depending on their level of understanding.

  • THank you so much for all your comments, wow I really love the Empower women platform and all the engaged members....THANK YOU. There is one more thing to add to the list that a friend of mine just told me:

    * Teach girls to do the things that are just for men so they realize that they can also do it and there is no such a thing as "men's job" because a women can equally do them. In the same sense, men should be taught on how to do things that are traditionally for women, in that sense we empower both and create an equal environment "

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    Also, re: point #3, women's collectives: I talked about this in another discussion post, but examples of successful women's groups are illustrated in both Bangladesh and Malawi, among other places, where both women and men form groups in their local communities to discuss maternal and child health and access to health care, economic endeavors, equality, etc. These groups are encouraging communities, especially in rural and developing areas, to collaborate and share their ideas and struggles with one another, and it looks like they're doing a great job of uniting each other. You can read more about, and watch a supplemental video, here: http://girlsglobe.org/2015/10/20/women-and-communities-working-together-to-improve-maternal-and-newborn-health/#sthash.I9JKN0WO.dpuf

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    Hi Clarissa, I think you've provided excellent suggestions! I agree with everyone else, especially Catherine's idea of teaching girls skills like making crafts that they can sell through buyers/each other to generate income and empower themselves and their communities. Groups like Aid to Artisans (http://www.aidtoartisans.org/what-we-do/) connect with artisan groups in local communities around the world to provide training and build profitable businesses. While I've only been on the buying/receiving end of these types of artisanal products, I can easily see how this emerging market can flourish given the proper training of skills and tools for production. The final products are authentic, beautiful, and handmade works of art, with the business model truly supporting and unifying not only a local community but the global community as well. When girls and women are involved in revenue-generating activities like this in a communal setting, they're also able to share their stories with each other and pass down wisdom from one generation to the next in addition to teaching each other important and practical skills. 

  • There need to be a mind-set change for young girls to start thinking on how to do things on their own  without depending on men. Other women inspiring young girls will help a lot by show casing what women can really achieve without involvement of men. Let them utilize the little resources available like school libraries and female teachers they need to be involved in motivating and inspiring young  ladies. Young girls have big dreams so they need someone that will act as a bridge to help them achieve them.

  • Catherine Nyoike

    That is good advice Clarissa and I also agree with Stella. Activity groups are excellent ways to motivate. One of the challenges in the rural areas is that, we also have educated girls who have not managed to secure jobs. Hence, teaching them skills like craft making and linking them with buyers for their final products will give them confidence in their ability to generate their own income instead of seeking employment. They will in turn become the role models in their communities and will help break the poverty cycle through entrepreneurship.

  • Nelly Andrade

    Hello Clarissa! Those are great insites! I'm from Mexico, and something that I've seen that is working a lot is that if they don't have access to internet (and most likely not to technology) its amazing to get that closer to them. Maybe like your #4 (through the parents and teachers) on their community school, or involving university students from STEM backgrounds. In this way what I've seen is that girls definitely aspire to new role models, discover a new world and broaden their opportunities! 

     

  • Michel Choto

    Hi Bisi, this is very sad to hear, but very common in most rural settings. Really the future of these girls seem bleak as all they can do is to aspire to get married. Thank you for all the ideas you have listed above. I think girls need role models and mentors to look up to. Also knowledge is power, if they can know and understand the potential they have to become anything they so desire, they can get very far in life.

  • Thanks Clarissa for your critical thinking and insightful advice to this friend of yours. However, may I share with you a personal experience in the local community I live. When I moved in, I noticed that only the men go to work in the mornings. Well, I had a job to attend to so I was practically the only working woman. At weekends other young girls (friends) will come visiting me in beautiful dresses and nice cars and before long, all the young ladies wanted me to help them get a job in the town.

    No woman had a car in my neighborhood, and the young girl whose boy friend could afford to drop them off in a car was so proud and felt so lucky. When I bought my first car  (a space bus) it was such an unimaginable thing for a single girl to do. Within my neighborhood, so much was changed, a lot of girls now have jobs or business, they now believe they too can buy their own cars and rent their own houses, they tell me they want to be computer literate, ask me how they can get into the university and I have mothers bring their daughters to me, asking me to help their daughters to be like me. That for me is INFLUENCE. So more than teaching and talking, people believe what they see.

  • Thanks Clarissa for your critical thinking and insightful advice to this friend of yours. However, may I share with you a personal experience in the local community I live. When I moved in, I noticed that only the men go to work in the mornings. Well, I had a job to attend to so I was practically the only working woman. At weekends other young girls (friends) will come visiting me in beautiful dresses and nice cars and before long, all the young ladies wanted me to help them get a job in the town.

    No woman had a car in my neighborhood, and the young girl whose boy friend could afford to drop them off in a car was so proud and felt so lucky. When I bought my first car  (a space bus) it was such an unimaginable thing for a single girl to do. Within my neighborhood, so much was changed, a lot of girls now have jobs or business, they now believe they too can buy their own cars and rent their own houses, they tell me they want to be computer literate, ask me how they can get into the university and I have mothers bring their daughters to me, asking me to help their daughters to be like me. That for me is INFLUENCE. So more than teaching and talking, people believe what they see.

  • Teresa Abila

    Thank you for this conversation.I used to be in such areas and the best thing I did was to engage intimately with the girls,opened up about my life,from there they build their trust in me.I learnt that they love to hear great stories from women who originate from those particular communities,who have made great strides in their lives(they get to learn more from their own).This broadens the girls mindset to know and embrace education.

    Also taking experts in different fields to mentor girls one on one can be of great significance.
     

  • Stella Bakibinga

    Thank you Clarissa for this brilliant idea. I can also add that activity groups are formed based on hobbies, such as games, craft making and music. These will help the girls spend their time more meaningfully, and also help them earn some income wherever and whenever their services are needed.

17 of 17 comments