Ashmore Consulting

International Programs for Girls and Women

Last week I spoke on Investing in International Programs for Girls and Women at the Council on Foundations conference.  In order to introduce the concepts important for girls in a developing country, I wrote a short skit and asked three audience members to act out the parts. The audience enthusiastically understood the points.

Actors portray needs for  international programs for girls and women

Actors portray needs for international programs for girls and women

Here is the skit:

Karen: This is Skit One — before the involvement of several donors:

Mother: Anisa, time to go fetch water for the family!

Daughter: Yes mother. But I do wish I could go to school. I have to walk 5 kilometers to the river to get water and then 5 kilometers back. By the time I get home the day is almost over.

Father: You know it is the job of girls to fetch water for the family. Anyway there is no teacher. The group that built the schoolhouse did not train a teacher or provide learning materials so the building is unused.

Daughter: I know. And even if there was a school, my brothers would go instead of me.

Mother: Your future is to marry a nice man and raise a family. Why do you need to go to school for that?

Karen: And here is the scenario if several foundations supported women and girls programs:

Mother: Anisa, time to go fetch water for the family!

Daughter: Yes Mother. I am glad that we now have a well nearby. I will be back in 5 minutes with the water, then I am off to school.

Father: Yes the new teacher is doing an even better job since she went through the teacher training.

Daughter: And I am learning a lot from the books and learning materials we have in our classroom.

Mother: I like the fact that there are separate latrines for boys and girls at the school. Oh by the way, I learned in the mother’s class about ways to start a small business. I have some ideas. Maybe you can help me.

Daughter: OK. But remember, after school I am going to the girls program. Some of the boys still don’t like the fact that girls are going to school now and said they are going to put us in our place. We are going to discuss with our mentors ways we can protect ourselves and stand up for our rights.

Mother: Ok but be careful!

Mother and Father: Bye!

Karen: So you see, everything from teacher training, learning materials, wells, latrines, micro-enterprise training, parental support, girls empowerment programs and safety are all different approaches to support women and girls internationally.  But there is no panacea and we must remain vigilant about new problems that surface. The concepts presented in this skit are excellent cornerstones for successful programs for women and girls in developing countries.

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