It is no secret that Uganda’s infrastructure projects are extending beyond the capital city. However, it is a double-edged sword. There exists the ‘invisible’ effect, the dark side of these projects - especially for children and women.
17-year-old Tania Akhter was preparing for her final year college exams when life had a pleasant surprise to offer. A member of BRAC’s adolescent club, she was quickly acknowledged for her leadership skills. Tania joined the club when she was in class 6, and since then coordinators have kept an eye on her development. Tania also received training on livelihood skills as part of the club’s activities.
Around 20 girls sit in a small room, decorated with messages about leadership, reproductive health and family planning along with pictures they have drawn themselves. This is a BRAC Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) club. This particular club called Bwebajja is located in a semi-urban area, under BRAC’s Kajjansi branch in Uganda. Huddled together, the girls look up at us, muzungus (foreigners) with awe and anticipation. They know who we are. They know BRAC. They call it “Blaca.”
Over the past one month, Bangladesh has been eagerly following their favourite football teams during the FIFA World Cup. BRAC decided to harness this nationwide enthusiasm by organising a match between Brazil and Argentina – two of the country’s most beloved teams. However, the players themselves were made up of girls from BRAC’s adolescent development programme’s (ADP) adolescent clubs. The best players were selected from across Bangladesh to ensemble the two teams who played a friendly game against each other on 27 June at the T&T field in Motijheel, Dhaka.
Ajah is nineteen, and attends Bor Secondary School in South Sudan’s remote Jonglei state. In a country with a literacy rate of just sixteen percent for women fifteen years of age and above, Ajah is an exception to the rule. And she is leading the charge to change the rules.
If girls had the same access to resources as their male peers, went to school regularly, led lives free of domestic violence and avoided early marriage, agricultural output would increase 4 percent and the number of malnourished men, women and children would drop 17 percent.
In June and July, Bell & Payne Consulting worked with BRAC to conduct research to understand connections between girls in rural Uganda for The Girl Effect. The Girl Effect believe that connecting girls brings value to their lives and could help unleash the “girl effect”, whereby girls living in poverty are able to become empowered, educated and healthy citizens.
On March 8th, women and men across the world celebrated International Women’s Day with marches of solidarity in support of women and girls. BRAC Tanzania staff and girls’ clubs joined the global celebration with a rally, a discussion of women’s issues, and a culture festival. BRAC Tanzania’s participation recognizes of the achievements of the girls in the Empowerment and Livelihoods for Adolescents (ELA) program.