Girl Determined works to equip girls with the skills, confidence and support system to navigate Myanmar’s changing landscape, increasing their access to new potential benefits, while avoiding the growing number of pitfalls.
Problem to be tackled
Given the period of quickening change in Myanmar, risks of school dropout, trafficking, labour exploitation, early marriage and perpetuated cycle of poverty especially for girls have exacerbated. At the same time, the shifting landscape is creating the greatest potential opportunity for girls to access education, health and livelihood opportunities than at any time in Burma’s modern history. There are great risks and also great opportunities at play in the current transition to a more free and open economy and political system. Without targeted, specific investment in girls’ personal and group leadership skills, girls will be left out of this change and will certainly be unable to influence its shape.
Girls at the forefront of change: Girl Determined facilitates girls’ recognition of their personal and group potential. In Myanmar, Girl Determined is sparking a movement of girls with leadership skills to advocate for their own rights and a future that does not re-create the risks they now face.
Since 2010 Girl Determined has been working with girls aged 12-17 in rural and urban communities to develop girls’ abilities to take hold of their lives’ course. With 8 million adolescent girls in the country, more than half of those not currently in school, the need is evident. Girl Determined programmes enhance girls’ ability to make strategic life-decisions, manage their money, take care of their bodies and minds and organise positive social change around issues that affect them.
“Colorful Girls Circles”
“Colorful Girls Circles” are structured, weekly after-school programmes, following a two year curriculum, facilitated by trained women from the relevant communities. In 2013 Girl Determined began developing and implementing a sporting programme to compliment the weekly leadership circles; after careful consideration volleyball has been selected mainly because of its emphasis on teamwork as well as volleyball’s limited needs for equipment, specialty attire and space. 750 girls have immediately attended the weekly sports sessions, compounding the lessons learned in the circles and bringing physical health and body confidence to the fore. In addition to the clear individual benefits of regular sports, including fitness, building patience and reliance, and problem-solving skills, gender norms in some communities are beginning to shift around expected and accepted behaviours for girls.
“Colorful Girls Circles” are comprised of girls aged 12-17 from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds; the girls struggle daily with restrictive gender roles, poverty, discrimination based on ethnicity or religion, dangerous labour, displacement due to war, violence, school drop-out and early marriage.
There are currently over 2’000 girls throughout the country participating in the programme on a weekly basis.
Between the years 2018 and 2019, The SOL Foundation assists in the further development of the “Colorful Girls Circles” using the sport of Volleyball within the defined two year curriculum and delivered to communities across the country; elements of support include weekly sports and leadership sessions, annual inter-community volleyball tournaments, skills development for Coaches and Junior Coaches, development and production of a standardised, locally-relevant manual and documentation or equipment.
Girl Determined is an US-registered not-for-profit, based in Myanmar and operates there with agreement from the Myanmar Ministry of Social Welfare.