Empowering Grandmothers to Empower Girls
Partnership: The Grandmother Project (GMP)- Change Through Culture + Institutional partner (District Education Office, its school directors & teachers) and community partners (elders, adults and adolescents, and especially grandmothers)
In southern Senegal there are three critical interrelated issues threatening children and families:
- Breakdown in communication between generations with communities distressed by the problem but with no strategies to solve it;
- Loss of positive cultural values and identity in children with both families and schools neglecting teaching of these values;
- Girls’ Holistic Development: girls have limited educational opportunities and are at risk of child marriage, teen pregnancy and FGM, all prevalent throughout the region.
GMP believes that solving these community problems requires improved communication between generations and between sexes. Their innovative and participatory Change through Culture approach promotes community-driven change involving all key community actors in intergenerational forums and participatory learning activities to elicit dialogue and consensus-building on culturally-adapted solutions to problems facing children, especially girls. Community actors identify actions they can take, combining “old” and “new” ideas, to promote and protect children, specifically girls, in today’s world. Key partners in the process of positive change for children are teachers and grandmothers who share concern for children’s education and development. Training of grandmother leaders, building on their experience and status in society, empowers them to play a central role in catalyzing community change regarding all issues listed above.