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Conversation group for girls in North Ethiopia

Sharing information and experiences in a confidential group

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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

The main goal of the group is to increase the awareness of the young girls in communities and share information, knowledge and advice about sexual health, hygiene, female rights and support the empowerment, self-esteem and solidarity among girls and young women. Another important thing is that Yoha Resort will provide free preventives and free daycare for single mother's babies so that they can study or work during daytime. This arrangement will teach the girls in the new generation a totally different female role model and strengthen the women's social, and economical independency.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

In communities there are taboos and unspoken rules about women's behavior, menstruation, hygiene, sexuality, sexual health, HIV/AIDS, preventives, prostituution and pregnancy etc. It's important to create a confidential space for girls only to discuss and get education about these matters from educated social and health care professionals. In addition to sharing information it is necessary to discuss, share experiences and get emotional support from the group.

Explain Your Idea

The idea is to gather small groups in North Ethiopia max ten participants. At first the health care professionals meet together and make a strategy plan. They gather groups of 10 local social and health care workers to spread the idea of a confidential girls group. These professionals go to their own towns or villages and gather ten workers who in their order meet ten volunteer workers each to teach them the idea of the group. These volunteers communicate at schools, churches, and other places where young girls spend time. In the ideal situation there are two leaders in every group meeting, for example one voluntary worker and one nurse or social worker. There has to be a strategy plan for how many times the group will meet, what are the subjects for each meeting etc. One of the most important things is that the leaders are the same every time the group meets, that people promise to not talk about each other's private issues outside of the group, respect each other and that each member of the group has an equal right to express their opinions or participate silently by only listening to others. the leaders of the group should encourage all members to join the discussion though. it's important that all participants commit themselves to join every group meeting unless they are sick. the leaders will tell the group in the beginning how many times they are planning to meet , the dates and times. if necessary there should be childcare arranged during the meetings.

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

This form of group discussion is especially targeted to the young generations because the earlier the girls get the information and the faster it will change the attitude in the society. 1. the girls and women in the commumity will experience a new level of trust, togetherness and intimacy when they learn to support each other in the group. 2. the teen pregnancies in the Community will decrease by time as the girls learn about preventation and family planning. 3. the amount of HIV positive girls will decrease as the girls learn to talk about their own needs and respect their own value. there will be free preventives available at every meeting. 4. The number of illitterat and uneducated women will decrease since there is free daycare.

How is your idea unique?

The most important difference is to create an unique confidential feeling within the groups. the fact that it continues for a long period for time, once a week for a whole year or six months guarantees that the group discussions will have a deeper influence on the Community. the group will become a very important factor in women's lives. in best case it will improve not only the women's lives but even the lives of their families.

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

I have not had time to consider the challenges and problems so time will show.

Who are your end users?

All girls and young women between 12 - 29. i would like to start in Quiha where we already have a perfect location for the group meetings. the following place would be Adigrat where we also have a suitable building for this kind of purpose. even boys should have their own Forum for discussion but in this project i only concentrate on strengthening the position of girls and women in the society.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Ethiopia

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Natural disaster
  • Armed conflict
  • Prolonged displacement
  • Extreme drought
  • Epidemic
  • Community at risk of disaster
  • Other

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

Girls and women are especially vulnerable in emergency situations, under war, conflicts, nature disasters and crises. the groups should be held in the participants mother tongue but sometimes the meetings could be in English translated into Tigrinya or Amharic.

What is your organization's name?

Yoha Resort

Tell us more about you.

I have worked over 14 years as nurse in the hospital for youth and children with psychiatric disorders such as depression, behavior problems, eating disorders, aggression, psychosis, trauma etc. I was in work training in North Ethiopia for three months March 1st - June 2nd 2017 and I noticed the need for supporting and empowering the girls and women's position in the society. I also lived in Kenya when I was young. I would like to be personally involved to start this movement in Tigray, North Ethiopia. In the best case it would spread all over East Africa.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Locally/community-led organization
  • International/global organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Still in planning phase and does not exist yet

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for less than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

In Helsinki, Finland and Quiha, Ethiopia.

What is your organizational status?

  • Registered for-profit company, including social enterprises.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.

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