Last summer, we announced the launch of Healthy G.L.O.W., our second initiative meant to specifically address the physical, emotional and social well-being of adolescent girls around the world. Our HerStory Campaign gave us the opportunity to spend time on the ground with girls in 27 countries globally, and our conversations with each of them made one thing clear: health-related issues often present insurmountable barriers to their education and opportunities. The Healthy Glow curriculum is the first of its kind to take a holistic approach toward all aspects of girls’ wellness, with an emphasis on educating girls on their healthcare options and giving them the practice, support and resources they need to advocate for their health needs.
Our first pilot rolled out across two different sites in Kenya. Girls in the program were different, yet shared many similarities. In their community, there is a lack of formal education available for most girls. This results in a high rate of illiteracy, as well as cycles of abuse and oppression. Many women are taught that their honor is in their marriage, yet they rarely have a say in who they will marry. They are fully dependent on their husbands and there is a deep belief among many girls that their wealth is attached to a man. Gender equality is such a far-fetched dream; there is a desperate need for mentors and role models among the young girls to show them a world of possibilities.
Beginning in August, 151 girls and their mentors met in a safe space where they felt comfortable opening up and expressing themselves. They were guided through a 16-week curriculum that helped them to understand their sexual and reproductive health and well-being needs, become empowered to articulate those needs and identify sources of support.
In such a short amount of time, we have noticed dramatic changes in each one of the program participants. They have developed confidence and believe that they can be independent and successful. Their teachers have reported an improved performance in school and some girls have communicated that the program has made them feel loved, respected and appreciated.
The thoughts of one of our Kenyan participants:
“I like the Glow Club because it has informed me of the things I don’t want in my life. From now on I will not allow anything to shake me from what I have learned from Glow Club. I am so happy about it. And also, I am so happy about our teachers. May God bless them and give them the strength to teach us more and more for years to come. To me, I just tell you thanks a lot.”
In 2018 we also launched a pilot in Cambodia and this month we will introduce Healthy G.L.O.W. in Southern California and Haiti. We can’t wait to see the positive change it brings to girls around the world, and to continue to update our Global G.L.O.W. community on our progress.