“Girls Clubs” are groups intended to empower girls and offer them a safe space where they can openly talk to each other about their questions, problems and experiences. The focus is on topics around reproductive health, such as contraception, sexuality or sexual self-determination, but other issues are welcome, including women’s rights and violence against women.
The groups are led by girls of a similar age, as part of a “peer education” approach. The Girls Clubs are mainly established at schools, but the concept can also be extended to other girls’ groups such as sports clubs. This helps to reach additional girls who do not, or cannot, go to school.
These Girls Clubs were initiated by medica Liberia together with the headmasters or headmistresses at the schools and local Women Support groups. The concept has since been implemented in more project countries in the Great Lakes Region.
Example project Liberia
Experience has shown that it is particularly effective when public awareness work is carried out by people of the same age as the target group, so medica Liberia is training selected members of the clubs to pass on their knowledge to their group. They can also then mobilise other people in their social surroundings (for example, by means of demonstrations).
The Girls Clubs are part of the broader protection networks which medica Liberia develops in order to protect women and girls from sexualised violence. Two female mentors from medica Liberia assist each group. They have the confidence of the girls and can help deal with problems or acute cases of violence, accompanying the girls to clinics, for example.