A group of widows at a CARE screening are struck with powerful emotion as they watch Taking Root, which tells the story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai. One section of the film chronicles a year-long protest in 1992 organized by Maathai and a group of mothers whose children were being held and tortured as political prisoners, many of whom were killed upon their release by the volatile Arap Moi regime. Audience members wept along with the mothers they watched on-screen, as they learned of their children’s deaths. But later in the screening, tears turned to joy as the women began to sing along with a Kikuyu song in the film, highlighting the importance of forging ahead together through hardship.
“Above all, we need authorities to listen and understand our demands. That’s why the document we are preparing is so important.”
An upcoming election served as a rallying point for students in San Román in Peru’s Puno Region last month. Dressed in bright school uniforms, 160 students convened in a school auditorium to generate a list of local adolescents’ priorities to present to candidates for regional government positions. The event, the First Forum about Youth Problems and Proposals toward Educational Politics, was hosted by the Mesa Regional de la Juventud (Regional Roundtable for Youth Affairs) and CARE-Peru. Continue reading →
The weather was perfect for an outdoor film screening. Nearly 450 residents of Sunder Nagri, a slum community in East Delhi, buzzed with excitement as men and women, Hindus and Muslims, gathered together to commemorate International Women’s Day at an event hosted by Women and Girls Lead Global (WGLG) and Magic Bus. Eyes filled with wonder and curiosity, the crowd huddled close to watch the film Revolutionary Optimists.
In February 2014 Women and Girls Lead Global-Jordan coordinated three engagement events in southern Jordan, in collaboration with the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Humanitarian Development (JOHUD). One of WGLG’s main implementation partners, JOHUD has a network of almost 50 community centers and offers development programs in leadership, empowerment, and life skills such as computer literacy and resource management to women and youth. Continue reading →
By November, the grounds of Bangabandhu Peshajibi High School had been under water for three months, and most of the classrooms were un-usable. But the flooding didn’t stop dozens of students, parents and teachers from flocking to the launch of the Best School for Girls campaign at this secondary school in southern Bangladesh’s Sathkhira District. The Best School for Girls campaign challenges schools in three districts of Bangladesh to create girl-friendly educational environments. Continue reading →
The city of Calcutta in India is 10,961 miles from the community of Unocolla in the Andean highlands of Peru. But the distance did not prevent a group of Peruvian teachers at Unocolla’s Mariano Melgar High School from connecting with the story of Amlan Ganguly, the founder of a youth leadership organization called Prayasam in India.
At a recent screening of a film called TheRevolutionary Optimists, secondary school teachers in Unocolla were inspired by the way in which Ganguly, a lead character in the film, has planted hope in the poorest neighborhoods of Calcutta by empowering children to become leaders in their communities. A teacher named Alejandro Ruelas Verástegui was particularly impressed by an exercise Ganguly leads called, “The River of Life”, which asks children to draw a river that charts the high and low points of their life experiences. He decided to use it, and other colleagues supported his idea. Continue reading →
Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg works at the intersection of academia and social entrepreneurship. A professor of political science and international relations, she is also the founder and Executive Director of Akili Dada, an award-winning leadership incubator that is nurturing the next generation of African women leaders.
She spoke with WGLG-Kenya’s Country Engagement Coordinator Josephine Karianjahi — whose “Women in the Red” campaign strives to balance the gender equation in Kenyan politics — about the value of women leaders, and what it will take to prepare more Kenyan women for political office. Continue reading →
On July 10th 2013, WGLG Peru carried out its first community engagement event in the Amazon city of Pucallpa. Inspired by Maro Chermayeff´s film She Matters, 25 youth leaders talked about education and health – exploring similarities and differences between their own stories and those portrayed by girls living thousands of kilometers away from Peru.
Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, exemplifies the potential of women leaders in Kenya.
Most children in my classroom in Kenya, when asked at age seven about their future goals, dreamed of growing up to be the president. Whereas both boys and girls agree on this goal in their first decade, fewer and fewer female voices chime this refrain as teenagers and young adults. A girl’s childhood dreams are typically tempered by cultural expectations, and her leadership status is defined through her fathers and other older male relatives who may want her to be more active on the home front, and seldom elsewhere. The domain of most Kenyan women has primarily been the home; however, women are seldom included in making important family decisions. A woman’s spouse and his male relatives often make the choices about how a woman occupies her time. Continue reading →
Three decades ago, Wangari Maathai suggested to rural women in her native Kenya that they plant trees for firewood and to stop soil erosion – an act that grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, defend human rights, and fight government injustice. The tree-planting groups that formed gave the women a reason to come together and become involved in resolving their communities’ challenges. Continue reading →