The program aims to eradicate factors that contribute to making young girls run to the streets or find themselves in harmful environments. Adolescent girls are empowered through forming girls clubs guided by mentors and local artisans and are provided with training/education on issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, health and sanitation, human rights, and self-esteem. They are also especially given handicrafts training and financial literacy training so that the girls, with the help of micro-credit, can start their own small businesses and become responsible, self-reliant young adults.
Under this program, AGH has implemented a project titled Maisha Mema. Maisha Mema, Kiswahili for a good life, focuses on adolescent girls (14-18 years) in Mwanza, where poverty and gender discrimination result in a high dropout rate for girls, violation of girls’ rights, and making some girls run to the streets. Dropout girls include all those who have not been able to finish their basic education (i.e., completing form IV, which can be reached in a minimum of 11 years of education). The project aims to work on eradicating factors contributing to making young girls run to the streets of Mwanza or find themselves in a harmful environment, such as extreme poverty, unemployment, neglect, discrimination and/or abuse. This is done first by empowering them through girls clubs of 15 members which are a guided by a mentor chosen from among them. Every club receives training on issues like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, sexual reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, sanitation, personal development and parenting in relation to ECD, and human rights. The training provides regular opportunities to develop life skills such as negotiating, building self-awareness, and assertiveness. The club meetings continue for a full year. During the second half of the year, each girl is connected to a local community member to learn that person’s job (a job that can be learned in 6 months: e.g. handicraft, salon, cooking, tailoring, small business management) so that she can start, with the help of micro-credit, her own small business and become a responsible, self-reliant young adult.