Imagine if every neighbourhood provided opportunities to young women to develop their skills and self-belief? If young women were given opportunities to lead and understand how to get better jobs? What would need to happen to make that possible?
Since 2019 we have been working, through the EU-funded Project GROW with women leading youth work in Africa- women like Lynette, who enables girls in a Johannesburg township to have a space to play and study, and Ella who is a peer mentor and delivers a leadership programme for students in Nigeria, many of who do not have a safe or quiet place to study. Or Jacinta, who dreams of building on her experience as an educator in Nairobi to start a youth programme in the village where she grew up.
There are hundreds of women like them who dream of empowering women and girls in their communities. But how do they start? How do they ensure that they are laying solid foundations so their projects can be sustainable and have a long-term impact?
The toolkits that we have developed together, through discussion and sharing of experience seek to provide a roadmap for anybody seeking to lead or develop projects to empower women and girls in their communities, seen through an African lens.
They can be used as a workbook, providing information and reflection questions that allow you to consider different elements and how they apply in your own context, whether that is working with university students in a city or girls in a village
They can be used as a training resource, enabling group discussions on different youth work topics, allowing established youth projects and experienced youth workers to reflect and increase their impact
The principles apply to any youth project, anywhere, because whilst there is a lack of resources for women seeking to deliver programmes in Africa, the foundations of good youth projects are the same everywhere.
These resources are designed to be shareable and accessible - our consultation showed that African women want to access resources primarily through their smartphones and without using up lots of data.