In 2015, the Kapani School Project initiated a Girls Club at Yosefe Basic School as a way to connect with and inspire young girls at such a critical age of their development. Both Chipembele and Project Luangwa, educational non-profits in Mfuwe, run girls clubs at Mfuwe Day Secondary School, but these are focused primarily on girls in their mid to late teens. Consequently, the younger female students at Yosefe (ages 10-14) did not have school-based structures through which they could discuss the transition to secondary school and pre-adolescent physical and emotional changes. The Yosefe Girls Club aims to change this by engaging personally with the young female students of Yosefe School and providing them with a safe platform to share their experiences, anxieties, and future aspirations.
This year, the teachers at Yosefe identified the need for a separate girls bathroom with running water so that girls do not have to excuse themselves from classes during their menstrual cycles. Thanks to donations from NCS guests, the Kapani School Project began a water and sanitation initiative at Yosefe and now helps to maintain a stock of sanitary items at the school.
The club begins each year with brainstorming sessions about the focuses for the year, during which we encourage the girls to share their perceptions and expectations. After initial ice-breaking games and informal discussions, we hold a multi-week career module to expose the girls to strong, powerful and inspiring women with careers in Mfuwe. Over the weeks we introduce the girls to a variety of less-common female professions and challenge some of the stereotypes of young women in rural Zambia.
The final weeks of the term focus on body image, development, and safe sex education. The club welcomes knowledgeable educators from the community who candidly engage the girls about the risks of early sexual activity and teen pregnancy, as well as how their lives might change should they decide to become sexually active while still in basic or secondary school. Thereafter, we discuss and practice how to say no to sexual advances and discuss the inherent rights all young women have over their bodies and sexual decision-making.
Please feel free to download the newsletters from the 2015 Girls Club and watch some of our very amateur club footage. Visiting South Luangwa soon? If you have a spare corner in your suitcase, Yosefe School is always re-stocking their feminine hygiene closet with sanitary napkins and wipes!
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