Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Girls' Camp at Jon's site!

As some of you might know, Jon and I are both volunteers under the program "Girls' Education and Empowerment" (GEE) and while we've done our own respective projects/activities at site, we've always talked about collaborating and doing something together. Anything GEE-related! Plus, we only live 12km from each other, so really there was no excuse NOT to collaborate.

...and then it hit us. A Camp des Filles or Girl's Camp! Long story short, we applied for a Gender and Development (GAD) grant to help pay for transport, food and other necessities, organized a program based on four themes (I'll talk about it later) and worked with teachers and other school officials to get logistical details off the ground.

Choosing the girls was difficult since we each had our respective Girls' Clubs at the CM1 level (5th grade in the US) but to make it fair, we had the CM1 teachers of his school and my school choose the top 10 girls with the highest academic achievement. Sweet!

Because the second trimester was back in full swing, we decided to make it a weekend Girls' Camp -- the first weekend at Jon's site and the second and final weekend at my site -- so as not to disrupt their studies during the week. The idea would be that my 10 girls and I would leave Saturday morning from my site, do a full day's worth of activities on Saturday, sleep over, continue on Sunday and head back that afternoon.

Many of our girls haven't left their village in their lives, so it was really an adventure for many of them to travel a little distance and make some new friends!

Just to give you the basics, our Girls' Camp was centered around four (4) themes: Life Skills (future planning, goals and objectives, having model women speak), English (basic greetings, numbers), Health (hygiene and nutrition) and Sports (Frisbee and soccer).

All right, enjoy the pictures!

Jon found the best tree to sit under at his site. Got plastic mats out and our first session was pairing the girls off with name tags they made for each other, handing out pens and notebooks, and did a drawing activity on proper nutrition.

We also did a Life Skills session inviting model women in Jon's community to come speak about their lives how they got to where they were, and gave advice to the girls. Salimata is one of the higher-ups at the Mayor's office and Safi is a nurse at the CSPS (village medical center).

We did a little bit of English, which the girls seem to always love!

We also did a Life Skills activity that had them imagine their lives tomorrow, in a year, in 5 years, in 10 years and so forth (which explains why they have their heads down). Pretty interesting stuff and a great segway to establishing goals and objectives!

First group picture - Jon and I with our 20 girls!

For the Sports theme, we decided to focus the weekend at Jon's site with Frisbee.

Before dinner on Saturday night, we took a tour of Jon's site. In Lobiri, his village's name means "lake"-something so naturally the girls were interested in visiting the lake. Fun times!

One of our icebreaker activities was "telephone." Definitely a great activity but I honestly think it was either Jon or I that screwed up the sentence we tried to pass around the circle.

One of the health activities we did was invited Safi over again to give a 'sensibilisation' (awareness raising session) on malaria, how you can get it and how to avoid it. A huge, huge issue here in Burkina.

My girls getting ready to leave to head back home!

Weekend Girls' Camp #1 done...Weekend Girl's Camp #2 at my site up next!

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