The project sounds really interesting and I really enjoyed reading the proposal. I am working for a small London-based peacebuilding organisation and we work a lot with young women throughout our projects so I definitely agree with you on the importance of empowering them. Well done to your organisation for adopting this approach as well!
On the best tools to provide trainings to the young women, I have to admit that I am not that familiar with the context in Pakistan but I am assuming you might have to deal with a lot of issues within these women’s family in terms of willingness to let the women attend trainings? If this is the case, I think you will have to do quite a lot of advocacy in the initial stage of the project to ensure the purpose of the project is being discussed and that family members are being given the opportunity to ask you any questions they might have. I think it is really important in patriarchal societies like in Pakistan to spend time explaining the rationale of the project. Using committed volunteers might be a good way to do advocacy as well.
On the tools to be used, I think it is important to ensure that the trainings will be held in a safe space where young women will be comfortable enough to come and share their experience. I would not go for lecture-style trainings but I would rather adopt a softer approach where women will be given the space to reflect.
On the monitoring tool, it really depends on what M&E capacity you have within your organisation. If you only have low capacity, I would advise to start with basic tools such as weekly reports. These reports could for example include the trainers’ observations on the participants’ interactions and responses. In addition to these internal reports and observations, simple questioners could be designed and filled out by the participants at the beginning and at the end of the project in order to help the project team identify and support needs at the beginning as well as the changes that happened as a result of the project.
As you go through the project, one additional advice could be to organise regular feedback sessions to make sure the women are being given the opportunity to raise any issues or challenges they have faced. This will be important for the project and for the project team to be able to identify challenges and to adapt to these.
I think it will be really important for you to collect content for external communication. Collecting pictures or success stories can be a really powerful advocacy tool and could also be beneficial when it comes to creating links with the corporate sector (which is never easy, let’s be honest!). What about organising a visit where some representatives of the corporate sector could come to your office and potentially talk with some of the beneficiaries (not sure how feasible this would in Pakistan though)?
Hope you will find some of these advice useful and relevant to your work!
The project sounds really interesting and I really enjoyed reading the proposal. I am working for a small London-based peacebuilding organisation and we work a lot with young people throughout our projects so I definitely agree with you on the importance of empowering young people. Well done to your organisation for adopting this approach as well!
I am unfortunately not an expert in branding or marketing but drawing from my experience, I can share a few insights on making sure your project can be as inclusive as possible and include a lot of different actors. A good starting point is to start mapping the actors in the environment you are working in. Once you have a clear picture of what an average community looks like, you can better decide who you want to engage with and develop strategies around that.
You raised a good point when you wrote that you were a bit wary of solutions coming from the outside and being imposed on beneficiaries. I think it will be really important to ensure ownership of the project by young people by making sure they are given the opportunity to feed into the project. Organising initial consultations or a start-up working and making sure you regularly hold feedback sessions/evaluations will be essential to achieve this. If you are able to provide some trainings to young people in financial management or marketing, it might also be a good way to ensure long-term commitment and sustainability of the project, while at the same time further empowering youth.
As you go through the project, it would be good to show impact at any early stage and to collect any material that can be used for external communication (stories, pictures, …). This could be really useful to reach potential partners and build bridges with other sectors. Hope you will find some of these advices useful and relevant to your work!
I am working for Peace Direct, a peacebuilding organisation based in London. With our local partners, we work a lot on similar types of projects and i would happily share a few ideas on the 3 unanswered questions/challenges mentioned above. I am not that familiar with the context in Ghana but hopefully you will find these useful !
1. Our Beneficiary Feedback interviews showed us the children who know about their rights are the ones who are in school, and those who aren’t in school are the ones who know nothing about their rights, so how can the Integrity Institute target children who are not in school and therefore least informed about their rights?
It is indeed not always easy to work with kids who have no knowledge about their rights and to approach them with a new approach which is often met with reluctance, more especially in remote communities where education level is really low. Drawing from our work in Congo, it is important to build long-term links with the community leaders to ensure that the project is understood and accepted within the community. Without community endorsement, it will be hard to approach kids who are not going to school as they do not have any influential figures to look at besides the community leaders (as opposed to the ones going to school who have their teachers for guidance and advise for example). Discussing with the parents and building close relationship with them is also a really important step to make sure you will then be able to talk to the kids who are not going to school. Doing a start-up workshop at the beginning of the project would be a good idea to build a common understanding of what the project means to achieve.
2. How can we best address the cultural implications of age hierarchies that exist in Ghana? What examples do you have of successful approaches to challenging this hierarchy to create a space for youth to have a voice?
Related to the first question, a lot of these issues are tight to whether or not there will be community-buy in of the project. In a lot of communities, an organisation cannot start a project without ensuring it is benefiting from full community support. I am not familiar with the specific context in Ghana but I would advise you spend time explaining the project to the different groups within the community, including the elders one, and find a way to integrate them into the projects so they do not feel completely left out.
We have seen in our work in the Great Lakes region that a lot of young people are stigmatised within their community and tend to be seen as trouble-makers if they do not give back to the community. Another approach could then be around showing the older generations that youth can have an added value within their community. This can be done by setting up youth club or community mobilisation groups where young people work together on a project (road or market rehabilitation, depending on where the community needs are) that will benefit the entire community. In our work in Congo, this approach has helped eased the tensions between different generations and young people have been more accepted as valuable community members.
3. Beyond reserving spaces for a balanced and equitable gender distribution of attendees, how can we continue to disrupt the power imbalance between genders that is prevalent in Ghana? For example, you may notice in our Student Feedback Interview, Obed almost always answers before Faustina. We believe this is representative of classroom dynamics in Ghana, and would like feedback on how to best approach this cultural norm?
Disrupting the power imbalance is a long-term project and one needs to do in an appropriate way so as not to add fuel on the fire. This is definitely not easy. How about organising some workshops for the kids at school on basic women rights and on the importance of gender equality? I think it would also be important to organise the same workshops within the communities where the kids are from as many kids tend to mimic the behaviour they see around. For sustainable and long-term changes, this issue would need a project on its own but doing some advocacy at the grassroots level would be a good starting point.
I really enjoyed reading about your project ! Keep up the good work !