Girl Advocate for Gender Equality (GAGE)
Over the past five years, Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Initiative and Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) have consistently engaged in national and international advocacy efforts to promote gender equality in various sectors, particularly in the education and health sectors in Nigeria. In May 2020, SEGEI team members participated in an international virtual dialogue on meaningful girl and youth engagement in Generation Equality / Beijing+25 that was hosted by Plan International. The team brainstormed with girls in Nigeria and the United States and provided suggestions for the kind of support and resources that are needed to ensure that girls – particularly girls in marginalized communities – are informed and able to participate effectively in UN processes and events in-country and abroad. One of the key issues highlighted during this consultation was the lack of female mentors for girls to sustain lifelong sensitization, empowerment and advocacy for gender equality. It is not enough to conduct advocacy training for girls over a few days; girls must be exposed to mentors who will inspire and educate them on how to use their voices. It is in light of this awareness that we are focusing on using structured mentorship as a key strategy for advancing gender equality in Nigeria and globally.
The Girl Advocate for Gender Equality (GAGE); Equipping Adolescent Girls in Nigeria to be Champions of Gender Equality Through Female Mentorship project was implemented by Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Initiative and Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI).
The project builds the knowledge and skills of 36 adolescent girl advocates (10-19 years) from across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria for the advancement of gender equality. These girls reflect the cultural, social, and economic diversity of girls in Nigeria, including girls living in rural communities, those differently abled, living with HIV, and other marginalized groups of girls. The girls are cascading the training to other girls (indirectly reaching at least 300 girls) and pushing for enabling policies and investment in girls’ education, health, and wellbeing.
- Gender based violence
- Sexual and reproductive health
- Girls Education.
- Innovation and technology.
- Female leadership.
The goal of the GAGE project was to equip 36 adolescent girls from all the 6 geo-political zones in Nigeria, with information, skills and resources to advocate for gender equality.
- Promote a supportive environment for meaningful participation of adolescent girls in gender equality issues
- Train 36 girls aged 10-19 years to be gender-equality champions and empower them to be change agents in schools and in the community
- Increase political commitment of government through policy actions, policy reforms and implementation, sustainable funding to promote gender equality
- Increase media (old and new) reportage on gender equality
- Increase gender equality buy-in by relevant stakeholders (parents, religious/traditional leaders, teachers, etc.)
- 36 informed girl advocates for gender equality, training other girls and pushing for enabling policies and investment in girls education, health and wellbeing
- 36 girl advocates positioned to represent the voices of all girls in Nigeria and be active participants in shaping policies and programs that advance gender equality in Nigeria and worldwide
- Robust and disaggregated data revealing inequities in adolescent girls’ access to education, health services and wellbeing
- Increased number of states domesticating and implementing the Child’s Rights and VAPP acts
- Positive shift in gender norms at home, community, subnational and national
- Budgetary allocations, disbursement and utilization at the state and national levels for advancing gender equality
- Accountability mechanisms at the community/grassroots level to ensure that girls and women are safeguarded and their rights protected
- 36 girls advocate capacities built on Advocacy and leadership skills.
- 12 media organizations including 2 Social Media bloggers trained on gender sensitive reportage
- 6 months mentorship session for Girl Advocates.
- 12 mentors assigned to groups of girl advocates based on selected thematic areas.
- Girl centered interviews with 5 Media organizations thereby increasing gender sensitive reportage.
- Advocacy training to over 300 girls.
- Review of gender policies from the Ministries of Health, Education and Budget and Planning.