Celebrating International Women’s Day

By Anna Kessler | March 7, 2022 | Africa & The Middle East, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, The Americas | Gender Equity

In honor of International Women’s Day, Global Fund for Children is taking a moment to highlight some of our partners and the work they have been doing over the past year to support young women and girls.

Supporting girls in Sierra Leone with counseling

CASE SALONE helps girls in Sierra Leone succeed in school, improve their public speaking skills, and take on leadership roles. The organization’s goal is to raise awareness about issues like female genital cutting, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy so that adolescent girls have the information they need to make informed decisions.

CASE SALONE also works to destigmatize menstruation and to ensure that a lack of feminine hygiene supplies doesn’t keep girls from attending school. The organization has provided local teachers with pads to distribute to their students and encourages young women to talk about their periods.

Girls participating in a CASE SALONE activity

During a CASE SALONE activity in January 2021, girls shared their opinions about how they would like to be treated in society. © CASE SALONE

Back in 2020, CASE SALONE joined GFC’s Ending Violence, Empowering Girls initiative. This past year, Founder and Executive Director Rassie Bah and her team opened a new office. This office contains a special room that allows for one-on-one counseling between CASE SALONE team members and local girls.

Empowering women and children in India to prevent trafficking

Her Choices Trust (HCT) works to prevent sex trafficking across India through its partnerships with communities, local NGOs, district administrations, donors, and strategic partners.

In September of last year, HCT received information via its national anti-trafficking helpline about the potential trafficking of 20 young women in West Bengal, India. HCT’s Operation Red Alert team immediately took action, informing local police, the state child protection agency, and partner organizations. Collaboration between all stakeholders led to the rescue of the young women from a regional transportation hub. The HCT team later learned that the young women, who were between 15 and 21 years old, had been forced into commercial sexual exploitation. With support from a partner organization, the young women were provided with shelter in safe homes and legal and psychological support.

Women listening to information about preventing and responding to trafficking.

Village residents participating in a Her Choices Trust presentation. © Her Choices Trust

HCT has also created a comic book called Light of a Safe Village, which helps to initiate discussions with children on trafficking. The comic book tells the story of an inspiring young girl who fights human trafficking challenges in her community and carries an empowering message that every child is a vehicle of hope.

Sharing the pandemic experiences of young women in the UK

When the UK went into lockdown during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Warren Youth Project saw a surge in demand for food and counseling services. The data the organization gathered showed that young women made up almost 85% of callers seeking help.

To combat period poverty, The Warren put out an appeal for menstrual products through the radio, on TV, and in the press. Women in the community started dropping off period products at The Warren’s free community resource center, and a local health provider donated £5,000 worth of period products, which gave the organization enough to share with other charities.

A family The Warren Youth Project supported during lockdown, pictured in a doorway. © Jason Shipley

The young women who use and work for The Warren wanted to capture the pandemic experiences of young women, so they filmed a documentary. The result, a film titled Unsilenced, premiered last August and highlights the challenges young women faced during lockdowns, including isolation, food insecurity, and parenting amid the pandemic.

Storytelling in Guatemala to celebrate girls’ voices

Asociación AMA is dedicated to promoting leadership, democratic participation, sustainable economic development, and access to comprehensive education on sexuality and sexual and reproductive rights for women and youth in Petén, Guatemala.

Anabella from Asociación AMA

Anabella speaking in the Stories in the Making video. © GFC

The organization also supports youth-led storytelling through video production. The girls who participate in Asociación AMA’s girls’ empowerment programs tell their own stories about overcoming obstacles and transformation. In January, Anabella, a 20-year-old project technician at Asociación AMA, was involved in a GFC video project called “Stories in the Making.” She spoke about the work Asociación AMA does and why it is important for local young women and girls.

“For AMA, it is important that young people lead the storytelling process because our work is focused on teenage girls and young women. So, they should be the main characters,” Anabella said. “Also, more young people see the work and it gives them hope that their dreams and aspirations will come true.”

Educating girls in Liberia about menstrual health

Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI) educates girls in Liberia about their sexual and reproductive rights, health and hygiene, and the harmful effects of early marriage and female genital cutting, while also providing safe spaces for girls to discuss issues that affect them.

CHI's Executive Director Naomi Tulay-Solanke and a young person read the new book Kolu's Moon. © Community Healthcare Initiative

One recent CHI project centered around Menstrual Hygiene Management Day 2021. Kolu’s Moon, a book that teaches children and young people ages 9 through 25 about the menstrual cycle, was the menstrual hygiene project’s centerpiece. Working with the Ministry of Education, CHI ensured that each school library in Liberia has a copy, and the organization has also provided copies to rural areas without schools.

Header photo: Children holding the Light of a Safe Village comic book. © Her Choices Trust

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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