A sustainable year-round program
empowering girls and their communities
January 2020 – Current
Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
40 community leaders
35,000 community members
Providing opportunities for girls to achieve gender equality and freedom from violence through art
(meaning leader in Swahili) is our current long-term program and partnership with M’Shujarts, a girls art collective (GAC), born out of our previous two projects with girls in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Over a three year period this program will:
- Provide training and technical support for GAC toward becoming an independent and sustainable female-led organization serving the girls of their community.
- Provide opportunities for 120 marginalized out-of-school adolescent girls to build psychosocial and life skills through arts-based activities. Girls will gain skill sets and capabilities that help them to participate in their communities, local economies, support their families, and in turn contribute to the larger country goals of development and peace.
- Foster and enrich community participation through the creation of public murals and posters.
- Train 30 young women mentors and pair them with girls to provide role models, and build trusted and supportive relationships with adolescent girls.
- Engage 40 community leaders through a community arts council that will guide the program.
- Reach 30,000 community members through public engagement.
This program will cultivate a population of empowered girls in Goma who effect positive change for themselves and their community in the pursuit of equality and freedom from violence.
PRE PROGRAM PREPARATION
We are continuing and expanding on our work with local organizations toward sustainable partnership. Activities include: collaborative research, awareness raising, program design and development, and outreach.
Establish a year round sustainable program in Goma DRC for 40 out of school adolescent girls.
> STEP 1: Program design through collaborative process with community members and Girls Art Collective (GAC) leadership.
> STEP 2: Conduct a 2-month intensive training for 4 GAC team members and 10 mentors, building capacity in organizational development and program content and facilitation.
> STEP 3: Commence girls programming with weekly sessions.
Add a second cohort of out-of school adolescent girls, increasing the number to 80 girls, and increasing the mentor group to a total of 20.
Add a third cohort of out-of school adolescent girls, increasing the number to 120 girls, and increasing the mentor group to a total of 30.
This program is located in Goma in eastern DRC, which has been affected by war for decades. The conflict leaves lasting reverberations across a society with historically-rooted gender inequalities.
Girls in Goma face gender discrimination and its harmful effects every day. They are regularly excluded from societal benefits and protections, and majority have experienced sexual and/or gender based violence (SGBV).
Research confirms that investing in adolescent girls not only transforms their lives for the better, but has a ripple effect that positively impacts the health and development of their communities and countries.
Women’s and girls’ participation is crucial in the fight to end SGBV and promote gender equality. Girls are not just defined by their vulnerabilities. They are knowledgeable of and able to create solutions to the challenges they face if provided the opportunity.
We are committed to putting women and girls at the center of changemaking, an approach that is built in collaboration with the community.
To protect the safety of our collaborating team in Goma and our Colors of Connection staff,
some aspects of this program are on hold due to COVID-19.
Learn more about our response by checking out
A Girls Arts Collective: is a women-led group supporting girls and young women through art in Goma, DRC. It’s the only group of young women visual artists in the region.
The Population Council, a research-based international non-profit offers us guidance and support for evidence-based program design. The Population Council has the world’s largest body of research on programs to improve the lives of adolescent girls in developing countries.
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