Following our training of our new Girls’ Club facilitators Girls’ Club meetings in all 10 junior high schools began in earnest in the second week of June 2015, once they had been supplied with writing supplies and other materials by Women’s Health to Wealth, with support from WomenStrong International.
As of end-June, the 10 Clubs had a total membership of 209 girls between 12-16 years old. Club membership ranged from 14, at Worakose Junior High School, to 30, at Piase D/A Junior High.
Each Club has developed a special song and a message for welcoming members to meetings and for ending their sessions.
The Clubs agreed to have three sessions in June, with an expected 100% attendance. However, only 481 girls actually attended, representing roughly three-quarters of the possible 627, due to reported ill health. In the future, with the cooperation of teachers, parents and girls, Women’s Health to Wealth is planning to conduct medical screenings for all Club members and to provide appropriate treatment for those found to have health-related problems. The screenings will take place in September, as soon as schools reopen for the first term of the 2015/2016 academic year.
Meanwhile, each Club has been presented with a First Aid Box that contains medicines for headaches and pains, diarrhoea and dressings for scrapes and cuts, among other things.
WHW has been made aware of seven at-risk girls for whom financial constraints and other domestic problems, such as parental neglect and drunkenness, have made it difficult to attend school regularly. WHW has started the process of speaking with these girls and their parents, to try to find amicable solutions to their various issues and to help keep the girls in school.
Other feedback from both the facilitators and the girls has been heartwarming, as the Clubs are helping to foster bonds of friendship and trust among the girls, and between the girls and their facilitators. Both groups are enjoying the freedom to be themselves during the weekly Club sessions, and in four schools, the Clubs have already been shown to make a positive difference in members’ school attendance, even in these early days.