This is an exciting time here at Global G.L.O.W.: we have launched the first pilot for our newest program, Healthy G.L.O.W., to specifically address the physical, emotional, and social well-being of adolescent girls.
Through our HerStory campaign, we mentor more than 6,000 girls in 27 countries to encourage self-expression and self-advocacy. We lead by listening. We know that girls are the experts on their own experiences, and what we have heard from listening to girls is that health-related issues often present insurmountable barriers to their education and opportunities. So we conducted a more formal needs assessment, listened in depth to the various health and wellness issues that are affecting girls most, and have developed Healthy G.L.O.W., a specialized health & wellness curriculum unlike any other.
While programs do exist to address girls’ reproductive health issues, and other programs tackle challenges girls face with mental and emotional health, and still others focus on the social health of girls; Healthy G.L.O.W. is the first of its kind to take a holistic approach toward all these aspects of girls’ wellness; with an emphasis on educating girls and giving them the practice, support and resources they need to advocate for their health needs.
It is well-documented that girls have different and more serious health-related challenges compared to boys, such as lack of access to sexual and reproductive health care. A report by The Coalition for Adolescent Girls, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation and the Nike Foundation, states that in many communities around the world, girls are less likely than boys to receive adequate information and services during adolescence, which holds girls back in many ways, including their ability to attend and stay in school. Adolescent girls also often have disproportionate responsibilities within a family, such as caring for younger siblings or housework, and can be isolated as a result. In conditions of scarcity, families may feed males (or even livestock) before girls, and adolescent girls are at greater risk for malnutrition and anemia compared to boys.
In alignment with our efforts to empower a future generation of women as leaders and productive citizens, Healthy G.L.O.W. will give adolescent girls the tools to deal with the most common issues they face, including:
• Early pregnancy and childbirth and exposure to unsafe abortion
• HIV and other sexually transmitted infections
• Mental illness
• Intimate sexual and partner violence
• Alcohol, tobacco use, and drugs
• Nutrition, malnutrition and obesity
The Health G.L.O.W. curriculum aims to help girls:
• Understand their sexual and reproductive health and well-being needs
• Become empowered to articulate their needs
• Identify and/or create sources of support
• Seek preventative health services and understand the linkages to health status over the course of one’s life
• Address isolation and build a community of peers
With the launch of our program in Kenya, we have officially begun rollout of our pilot phase, which will take place in three locations: Kenya; Santa Ana, California (beginning in September 2018); and Cambodia (beginning in October 2018). Each pilot will last for three months and at the end of the pilot period, we will assess and activate the program on a wider scale to help girls around the world advocate for their health and wellness needs so they can stay in school and accomplish their goals. An integral part of the program is our partnership with clinics and other healthcare facilities that girls can be referred to in order to receive care.
60 Girls in Kenya are now attending the first Healthy G.L.O.W. pilot program, and the girls and mentors participating in the 14-week course are already extremely positive about the experience.
“The activities are captivating,” says Hellen Inoti, Healthy G.L.O.W. program coordinator at the AIC Kajiado Girls School in Kenya. “It is a big WOW from this end.” The AIC School educates girls from the Maasai community, many of whom have been rescued from harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (circumcision) and early marriage.
At Global G.L.O.W. we know that when girls come together in safe spaces with supportive mentors, they are free to examine and articulate what inspires them, what holds them back, and what they hope for. When one girl speaks her truth, it emboldens others to tell their stories too. We believe this is the first step toward igniting girls’ power as a force for global transformation.
Look forward to receiving regular updates on Healthy G.L.O.W. as the program progresses in Kenya and launches in Santa Ana and Cambodia.
To support Healthy G.L.O.W. and help us expand our programming to accelerate girls’ greatness, please join our campaign by making a tax-deductible donation and following us on social media.