As part of it's strategic partnership with the department of Women and Gender Studies to train the next generation of women right activists, Girls Excel is hosting three interns from the department of Women and Gender Studies from the University of Buea. Due to the global pandemic and it's disruption of the academic timetable, these three dynamic young women Ndingwan Nicoline, Mbencho Nora-Bleur Bih and Ekwa Dorcas only spent one month (8/9/2020 to 11/10/2020) working at the Girls Excel Office in Limbe.
This year's internship program kicked off with a two day orientation and training session where the staff of Girls Excel had an exchange with the interns on understanding the organisation, its vision, mission, and bottom-top approach in the implementation of it's projects. During this orientation session, the Girls Excel team also discussed the basics of project management. To put the knowledge to test, the interns were assigned to work on the Girls Excel Mentoring club project. As part of their responsibilities, the interns had to create and manage a minimum of two girls- led clubs within Limbe I and II council areas. Thanks to passion, hardworking and commitment of the interns and the Girls Excel team, they were able to create and lead a total of 7 girls-led clubs in New Town, Lumpsum Quarters, Mile 4 and Buea. The objectives of these clubs is to create a safe space where girls can freely talk about issues affecting their bodies and ask questions without fear or shame.
Menstrual hygiene management, Gender Base Violence (GBV) and body image have been some of the main topics discussed during these club activities. Part of club activities also include educative talks, sharing personal experiences, lessons learned and solutions suggested by participants and facilitators on curbing some of the most challenging obstacles that adolescent girls face in our society.
According to the interns, the non formal educational approach used in these clubs truly engages participants, building their confidents and making it easier for them to open up about some of the challenges especially Gender Based Violence that they face at home, school and community. Talking to one of the interns, she comments as follows;
the reaction gotten from these participants ought to act as an eye opener for many to realise the level at which Gender Based Violence is deeply rooted in our society. From their stories, most of these girls have been victims or come from homes where GBV is perpetrated.
Attesting to the efficacy of the program, another intern Ndingwan Nicoline, stated that she has gained a lot of experience and new skills in just a few sessions of managing her clubs. She equally said that she has learned a lot from the adolescent girls that she serves in her club and learned bravery from their personal stories. She hopes to have a beautiful time at Girls Excel while braving all odds to have a successful internship program.
It is worth noting that within the framework of this partnership, Girls Excel hosted two interns from the department of Women and Gender Studies in 2019.
This article was written by Mbencho Nora-Bluer Bih (Student Journalist and Intern, Girls Excel)