The Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, Ghana began the Girls Empowerment Club project in 2013 with the overall goal of empowering girls to reduce gender-based violence. The project is now in six schools across three regions, and over 300 girls benefit directly from the club. To date, 18 teachers and community members have been trained as facilitators of the program. The Africa Executive of Global Ministries visited the Girls Empowerment Club programs in Ghana, and shares that there has been a tremendous increase in participation and services provided through the programs.
Each Girls Empowerment Club location meets weekly to discuss topics such as human rights, gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health, child rights, hygiene, advocacy, leadership, human trafficking, and more. The empowerment clubs have a strong rights-based focus. These clubs also engage community leaders, traditional chiefs, local authorities, and school leaders to understand the issues facing young girls and to seek their support of the Girls Empowerment Club program.
The EP Church, Ghana shares that girls participating in the clubs are running for elections in their school governments. Girls from the clubs are more aware of the violence against women and girls, reproductive rights, communication styles, and leadership skills. Last year, one girl from the program achieved the highest score at her school on the Basic Education Certificate Exam.
In the upcoming years, the EP Church, Ghana has identified several priorities for the Girls Empowerment Clubs as they continue to be a place of meaning for many girls in Ghana. These priorities include
· Hosting workshops on entrepreneurship,
· Providing skills training sessions in beadmaking, dyeing fabrics, breadmaking and soap production,
· Running a mobile library,
· Establishing an alumni network
Global Ministries welcomes gifts for the Girls Empowerment Clubs of the EP Church, Ghana.
Update: July 2020
The Girls Empowerment Club offered new skills-training sessions to create income-generating opportunities for young women and girls. Prior to deciding which courses or topics to include in the new workshops, the EP Church visited communities involved in the project to include their input and to carry out a stakeholder analysis with the families they spoke with during these visits.
In 2019, the EP Church, Ghana hosted three skills training workshops for young women and students. The workshops included special training on bead crafting, making Ghanaian beverages made with millet or sorghum, and how to make infant formula. The EP Church, Ghana shares that young women participating in the projects are becoming more excited and committed to learning new skills. Following the three training workshops, many of the girls are continuing to develop these skills outside the club, especially in bead crafting.
The EP Church, Ghana shares there has been an increased engagement from mothers of participants over the course of the past year. Initially, the EP Church, Ghana did not intentionally seek the participation of mothers in the program. Throughout the year, they found the girls and young women were benefitting from the presence and support of their mothers. Once mothers were invited to participate in the clubs, the EP Church found that all were more engaged and the family relationships in the community are stronger.
The Girls Empowerment Club project is helping to foster a stronger community of girls and their mothers. The EP Church, Ghana believes this program is helping to prepare more women for leadership in the community, which will have long-term improvements toward gender equality.
Update: October 2020
Financial support to the Girls Empowerment Clubs enhances the academic performance and skills development of club members through diverse means. New teaching and learning materials, and skills training opportunities such as jewelry-making, pastry-confection, and selling refreshments are carried out. Due to the growth of the Girls Empowerment Club, the EP Church Ghana has built a new library and skills training center in Wegbe Kalema.
The EP Church, Ghana has begun work on a new facility for a library and training center near the Wegbe Kpalime School. Through the new library, EP Ghana will help club members and their classmates on improving reading skills and will offer access to educational resources to assist in preparing for college entrance exams.
The EP Church, Ghana renovated and converted an existing structure to reduce the costs of the new facility project. Based on the recommendation of an architect, most of the carpentry was replaced, including updates to the roof, doors, window frames, and ceiling. Updates to the electrical components were made, and new masonry for the exterior of the building and to create rooms and hallways were placed. The EP Church, Ghana has completed approximate 70% of the construction.
In the video below, please enjoy pictures of several different skills-training workshops, which took place prior to the pandemic, as well as an update on the construction of the Library and Training Center in Wegbe Kpalime.