Global Girl Project - Changing Our World One Girl at a Time.
Global Girl Project mobilizes girls globally, through cultural leadership exchanges, to create social change through community development.
What problem does your innovation solve?
Global Girl Project is addressing the issue of the lack of leadership training, opportunities, and role models for young women within many developing countries. GGP works with girls to challenge their self-perceived limitations by engaging them in cross-cultural leadership exchange and travel and community project development, thereby seeing themselves through another culture, where women are participating, leading and asserting more control over their own social and educational futures.
Explain your innovation.
Global Girl Project catalyzes change through 6-week leadership exchange projects that bring 15-18 year-old women from developing countries together in Nepal to participate in intensive leadership training, attend a local school, explore a culture different than their own, and be a part of cross-cultural learning with Nepalese students. While in Nepal, participants create individual projects to forge change in their own communities, and work collaboratively with local high school students to foster global understanding. GGP scholars keep video blogs to document their progress, catalyze reflection and growth, and inspire their peers locally and abroad to join their work or start their own community change projects. After Global Girl scholars return home, GGP works on-site in home countries, through each girl’s local community organizations, to support girls in implementing and sustaining their initiatives. Additionally, GGP works with the girls throughout the year, both pre and post exchange, to run monthly group leadership trainings where each girl from each cohort comes together over the web to learn from and inspire each other.
There are substantial barriers to accessing these life-altering exchange opportunities including familial obligations, language and funding. International exchange programs cost $4,000-$40,000 per student, and thus access to exchanges has traditionally been limited to those with fairly substantial means.(United States Institute of Peace, 2011)
Global Girl Project's target populations are varied and located throughout a number of developing countries around the world. Our main target population is young women between the ages of 15 and 18 years. Additionally, our scholars must live in extreme poverty within each of our partner countries. Each scholar must show interest in community development or social action and leadership potential. We currently bring two girls from each country each year (Brazil, Haiti, India, Sierra Leone). Additionally, each of our scholars then implements a community project back in their home country, and henceforth, each impacting the lives of 100 young people. With our recent move to Nepal as home, we will also be working with 600 Nepalese students aged 5 to 16 years. In terms of scale we will increase our reach by at least one new partner country each year with a possible focus on Afghanistan in 2019. Success is measured through questionnaires, reports from each girl, and community feedback.
How is your innovation unique?
If I were to describe Global Girl Project the word I would use is unique. I have been unable to find any other project/organization that is exactly like us. What makes us different is that we use the student exchange model but turn it on its head by working only with young women from developing countries and doing the exchange in another developing country. Additionally, the exchange is a leadership training specifically for girls from the most impoverished situations and we bring all those girls from different countries together in one single location. This is not being done elsewhere. The unique advantage we have is through our strong relationships with each partner organization in each home country. Through our relationships we can access marginalized communities that are most often inaccessible to foreigners, such as the red-light district in Mumbai or the small village of Bumpe, Sierra Leone. This is what makes us truly unique and sets us up to be able to create lasting change.
What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?
What keeps me up at night is how do we ensure that we help create impactful change with our girls and their communities. We are working on how we support each scholar in implementing their community project back home and helping it to become a more long term initiative. We have implemented an educational stipend that each girl receives once she completes her initial project implementation and this money is to support her ongoing educational endeavors. Additionally, we are focusing our attention on how we can provide monthly and ongoing leadership training for not only our GGP scholars but for the other young women who were not selected for the exchange, from each partner organization. And of course there are many financial challenges.
Tell us more about you.
I am the Founding Director of Global Girl Project, which is a registered nonprofit. We partner with Soccer Girls in Rio de Janeiro, Foundation TOYA in Port au Prince, Kranti in Mumbai, Sierra Leone Rising in Bumpe, and Deepika Academy in Kathmandu. Each partner organization offers programming to girls and they are responsible for nominating the girls, pre and post exchange support, project implementation support/supervision, and collaboration on our monthly leadership trainings with GGP cohorts.
What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?
Emergency Setting - Elaborate
GGP works in two partner countries that have experienced earthquakes and one that has gone through 11 years of civil war and an ebola crisis. We focus solely on working within developing nations, and therefore, the majority of our work is done in countries that have experienced some type of emergency situation. Our work helps to create lasting community change instead of short-term, immediate support and we are training our scholars to be leaders and prepared for the next emergency situation.
Where will your innovation be implemented?
Initially, our exchange phase of programming took place in the U.S.A. with the implementation phase of our programming occurring in Brasil, Haiti, and India. In 2018 our exchange phase will take place in Kathmandu, Nepal and the implementation phases will take place in Haiti, India, and Sierra Leone. As we scale we plan to start partnerships with NGOs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and more into Africa. Our program is tailored according to the cultural norms around feminism within each country.
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for less than one year.
GGP's partnerships in Brasi, Haiti, India and Sierra Leone have been previously mentioned and they describe the In-country supports for the implementation phase of our program. In our exchange phase of programming in Nepal we have formed a partnership with the Deepika Academy for schooling and accommodation, Aasra Eco Treks for visa support and trekking adventures, and LOCWOM, a woman's collective that empowers disadvantaged women through entrepreneurship, for community action programming.
I've worked in a sector related to my innovation for more than a year.
Sector Expertise - Elaborate
As the Founding Director of GGP I am a trained Social Worker and have worked in Community Development for the last twenty years in Canada, the US, and the UK. I have focused my career, during this time, on the growth and empowerment of young people. I have also travelled and worked in numerous developing countries and most recently, have been the Director of my own international NGO, Global Girl Project. Through this position I have worked in Brazil, Haiti, India, Sierra Leone and Nepal.
Existing Prototype or Pilot: I have tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.
We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.
GGP is registered in the United States and has Board members in the US and the UK. Our Director now lives mainly in the UK. We have an intern in Nepal