No one knows better than Peace Corps Volunteers that long-held norms and beliefs about gender can constrain female students, women’s cooperative members or female farmers – not to mention wives and mothers – from participating fully in their country’s development. In spite of the fact that women and girls are an important part of development, challenges to realizing gender equality remain 39 years after the United Nations proclaimed International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, 1975, and which we celebrate this Saturday. Every day Volunteers are inspired by their female community members as they take small steps to get their fair share of education, information and decision-making.

International Women’s Day: Peace Corps Volunteers Still Addressing Inequality in 2014

No one knows better than Peace Corps Volunteers that long-held norms and beliefs about gender can constrain female students, women’s cooperative members or female farmers – not to mention wives and mothers – from participating fully in their country’s development. In spite of the fact that women and girls are an important part of development, challenges to realizing gender equality remain 39 years after the United Nations proclaimed International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, 1975, and which we celebrate this Saturday. Every day Volunteers are inspired by their female community members as they take small steps to get their fair share of education, information and decision-making.

International Women’s Day: Peace Corps Volunteers Still Addressing Inequality in 2014

International Women's Day gender equality women's empowerment iwd2014 education health community girls Peace Corps Volunteers Peace Corps

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In all corners of the globe, “girl power” is a potent idea that has been transforming societies for many generations. From the economy to public health, female empowerment is a key element in the progression and evolution of any developing society. For this reason, Peace Corps has made Gender and Development a worldwide initiative. Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is a camp that has been held internationally in Peace Corps countries, and February 2014 will mark the third year it is held in Paraguay. Camp GLOW Paraguay includes motivational speakers, engaging activities on sexual education, self-expression, creativity, goal setting, value formation, gender roles and personal identity. With your support, our dream to fund Camp GLOW 2014 can turn into reality for this year’s motivated participants! Please unite with us in the movement towards female empowerment in Paraguay! To donate, click on the link below! Thank you for joining the cause!

http://tinyurl.com/qg3j8qz

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Peace Corps Volunteer Ginger Anderson works with participants at Camp TechKobwa. Created by Peace Corps Volunteers in Rwanda, Camp TechKobwa focused on empowerment for girls through gaining skills and confidence using computers and media technology. The camp encouraged young women to become active citizens by building their self-esteem and confidence, and helped them start computer and media clubs with their information and communication technology teachers upon returning to their schools. #Africa #Rwanda #camp #genderequality #girls #women #empowerment #computers #technology #media #USAID #latergram

Peace Corps Volunteer Ginger Anderson works with participants at Camp TechKobwa. Created by Peace Corps Volunteers in Rwanda, Camp TechKobwa focused on empowerment for girls through gaining skills and confidence using computers and media technology. The camp encouraged young women to become active citizens by building their self-esteem and confidence, and helped them start computer and media clubs with their information and communication technology teachers upon returning to their schools. #Africa #Rwanda #camp #genderequality #girls #women #empowerment #computers #technology #media #USAID #latergram

empowerment computers africa camp girls genderequality usaid rwanda media technology latergram women

"I took this photo of myself with three second grade girls in a village in Guatemala, where my site mate and I worked with the community to build a three-classroom bottle school. These girls helped us collect bottles and fill them with trash. Someday I hope these girls will be able to attend school there." - Peace Corps Health Volunteer Rebecca Dreyfuss

"I took this photo of myself with three second grade girls in a village in Guatemala, where my site mate and I worked with the community to build a three-classroom bottle school. These girls helped us collect bottles and fill them with trash. Someday I hope these girls will be able to attend school there." - Peace Corps Health Volunteer Rebecca Dreyfuss

(Source: collection.peacecorps.gov)

Guatemala education bottle school recycling girls Peace Corps Volunteer schools community development health sanitation

Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco recently hosted an HIV/AIDS awareness session for 60 girl students at a local high school in Tarmikt. Aside from info presentations and an awesome jeopardy game led by Peace Corps Volunteer Sairah Jahangir, the attendees also had a Skype session with two female HIV/AIDS patients from Washington, D.C. 
Moroccan counterpart Fatiha Haouat translated questions written by students who wanted to know things like what it’s like being HIV-positive, how the women found out their status, and what their lives are like with the disease. For all of the students it was the first time they had ever met an actual person living with HIV, nonetheless had the opportunity to talk frankly about what living with the disease is like. Perhaps it was one of the first times HIV-positive women have ever had a platform in Morocco to speak publicly about their status and be unashamed. Michelle and Charlene, the two women interviewed, did an amazing job sharing their life stories and helped to change many perspectives on the stigma of the disease, especially as it affects women. 
The resounding message was that HIV is like any other disease and that they lead very normal lives. They advocated inclusion and support of women living with HIV, and also helped promote a safe sex message among students. It was a moving interview that called into question ideas of victimhood in Morocco, and how blaming the victim is a kind of injustice: Charlene became HIV-positive when she was raped at the age of 8, an incident that also left her pregnant. Charlene is a practicing Sunni Muslim who is now a resident at N Street Village, the organization that facilitated the interview. The Volunteers who led the session said it was incredible to see the faces of these two women projected on the schoolroom wall, to hear their actual voices speaking truth to stigma in a country where HIV patients cannot speak out for fear of persecution.

Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco recently hosted an HIV/AIDS awareness session for 60 girl students at a local high school in Tarmikt. Aside from info presentations and an awesome jeopardy game led by Peace Corps Volunteer Sairah Jahangir, the attendees also had a Skype session with two female HIV/AIDS patients from Washington, D.C. 

Moroccan counterpart Fatiha Haouat translated questions written by students who wanted to know things like what it’s like being HIV-positive, how the women found out their status, and what their lives are like with the disease. For all of the students it was the first time they had ever met an actual person living with HIV, nonetheless had the opportunity to talk frankly about what living with the disease is like. Perhaps it was one of the first times HIV-positive women have ever had a platform in Morocco to speak publicly about their status and be unashamed. Michelle and Charlene, the two women interviewed, did an amazing job sharing their life stories and helped to change many perspectives on the stigma of the disease, especially as it affects women. 

The resounding message was that HIV is like any other disease and that they lead very normal lives. They advocated inclusion and support of women living with HIV, and also helped promote a safe sex message among students. It was a moving interview that called into question ideas of victimhood in Morocco, and how blaming the victim is a kind of injustice: Charlene became HIV-positive when she was raped at the age of 8, an incident that also left her pregnant. Charlene is a practicing Sunni Muslim who is now a resident at N Street Village, the organization that facilitated the interview. The Volunteers who led the session said it was incredible to see the faces of these two women projected on the schoolroom wall, to hear their actual voices speaking truth to stigma in a country where HIV patients cannot speak out for fear of persecution.

Morocco youth girls gender HIV AIDS AIDS-free generation N Street Village trigger warning: rape stigma Skype Washington DC global health health victim blaming HIV-positive HIV+ students school education

Today is the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child

The day was established by the the United Nations General Assembly to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world. It’s an occasion for reaching out and educating others about the status of girls and the positive results that can be obtained by investing in them and is a good platform for engaging girls directly and offering them an opportunity to interact with positive role models. 

How did you help empower young women during your Peace Corps service? 

(Source: dayofthegirl.org)

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