Who are we?
Creative Action Institute catalyzes community driven solutions that advance gender equality (including quality girls' education!) and build a sustainable planet. We do this by developing transformative leaders, providing deep mentorship and animating grassroots advocacy.
What is the challenge?
Girls’ education is a critical piece to gender equality and a key lever for changing the world. The more education girls receive, the more able they are to put off early pregnancies, earn more, and support their families if and when they choose to have them. They also are more likely to be leaders in their communities.
Girls in East Africa face many challenges when it comes to attending and staying in school and these challenges are rooted in restrictive social norms that stand in the way of girls pursuing an education and fulfilling their potential in the world. These include:
• Families prioritizing resources on educating boys over girls, so if resources are scarce or become scarce, girls are not sent to school;
• Child marriage, which often results in girls not being sent to school in the first place or being pulled from school once a marriage is arranged, which can be as early as age eight; and
• Lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, resulting in teen pregnancies.
What we are doing?
The East African Girls’ Leadership Summit (EAGLS) and Mentor Program is a transformative opportunity for women and girls to step into their leadership, build powerful networks across East Africa, and effectively advocate for their rights.
Now in its fifth year, this program is available to high-potential, low-income or otherwise marginalized girls in secondary school and women leaders who work with them either through a community-based organization or school. This program uniquely combines girls’ leadership development at a week-long international Summit with multi-year mentor training and coaching, resulting in a strong framework and support system that enables girls to activate their leadership skills when they return to their schools and communities. Girls and mentors undertake creative advocacy efforts at the community and school levels to stand up to the restrictive norms that limit their potential and increase girls’ ability to enroll and stay in school. Participants come from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
In the East African Girls’ Leadership Summit and Mentor Program, our approach looks like this:
1. We build creative leadership and advocacy skills through an annual East African Girls’ Leadership Summit that enables girls to be active changemakers in their schools, communities and beyond.
2. Our two-year Mentor Program develops the capacity of African women to courageously support these girls as they step into their leadership in their communities and advocate for change. We do this through experiential trainings and one-on-one coaching in creative facilitation, advocacy and mentoring skills.
3. We offer a platform for girls and mentors to connect with a broad network of inspired activists in the region. Together they determine a critical topic to address through creative advocacy efforts that are coordinated throughout the region.
4. We provide support to mentors and girls throughout the year via mini-grants, coaching, creative advocacy how-to toolkits, site visits and sharing best practices.
5. We infuse methodologies that leverage art and creativity throughout the program to unlock leadership potential and act as a catalyst to create behavior change in schools and communities.
How do we know it works?
We believe that girls’ leadership and advocacy skills paired with women mentors who are equipped to activate and guide girls’ advocacy efforts, is a winning recipe for moving the needle on girls’ education and gender equality. More importantly, program participants reflect this to be true.
Laetitia is a 16-year-old Rwandan girl who participated in this program last year. Gender-based violence often results in teenage pregnancy, which causes girls to leave school. Laetitia says, “This program has helped me be confident and courageous. I now believe that I have the ability to make decisions and make changes in my community, and I want to teach my school mates how they can stop gender-based violence.” Laetitia’s reflection perfectly illustrates how this program not only develops personal leadership skills but also empowers girls to make changes in her community. Paired with a mentor, Laetitia has the support and guidance she needs to engage her peers and her community to stop gender-based violence so that all girls can complete their education.
Sharon is a 31-year-old Kenyan teacher who has become a mentor and advocate after accessing the tools and support she needed from the program. Sharon works in Turkana County an area of Kenya that is plagued by perennial drought, famine, chronic poverty and high levels of illiteracy. Child marriage is common and a barrier to girls’ education. With increasingly prolonged dry seasons as a result of climate change, parents are more frequently turning to early marriage to ease their economic situation. Through the EAGLS and Mentor Program, Sharon was equipped with creative leadership skills and advocacy tools which she has used to establish girls’ clubs at four different schools, replicate the girls’ leadership summit at her school, lead community forums on girls’ rights, identify allies, guide her students’ campaigns for education, and pilot an income generating project so parents have an alternative to marrying off their children. These efforts have resulted in more girls enrolling in school instead of being married off, improved academic performance, and 83% decrease in teen pregnancies at her school.
How will the money be used?
Mentor Program - Training (August):
• Art materials and how-to guides for easily replicating processes that build leadership among more girls: $1400
East African Girls’ Leadership Summit (December)
• Travel, lodging and accommodations for girls from five countries to come together, share ideas, and build networks: $12,000
• Additional dynamic local facilitators to support the growing demand for the Summit: $5,600
• Materials, including toolkits for girl leaders to use to implement creative advocacy efforts to advance girls' education: $775*
Ongoing Technical Assistance (January-July)
• Coaching calls and site visits to allow girls and mentors to activate leadership skills in their community: $5,250
• Monitoring, evaluation and sharing of best practices with girls and mentors: $2,800
*The total needed has been partially secured.
How can you help?
Each donation contributes to empowering extraordinary girls who will have an incredible impact across East Africa. Please consider donating any amount you can and sharing this campaign! Thank you!
Creative Action Institute
This project is supported by the Girls Opportunity Alliance.
Your donation to benefit this campaign/project will be allocated to the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund (“GOA Fund”), a project of GoFundMe.org (a U.S. public charity). The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund may grant a refund in limited circumstances at its sole and absolute discretion, however, donations are not refundable after the GoFundMe payment platform has transferred your donation to the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund. Transfers from GoFundMe to Girls Opportunity Alliance fund typically occur once monthly. All donations are subject to the variance power of GoFundMe.org, as stated in the applicable GoFundMe.org policies. Subject to applicable law, donations may be tax-deductible.
The GOA Fund is restricted to supporting girls' education and your donation is made for the support of the above described project. Notwithstanding that the campaign description may name a specific organization that is anticipated to engage in the projects, GoFundMe.org retains variance power, that is, discretion and control over how funds are disbursed within the purposes of the GOA Fund generally, and within the purpose of the project specifically. For example, if the project does not reach its minimum fundraising goal, GoFundMe.org may re-assign money raised to another campaign within the GOA Fund.
As of April 11, 2019, the Direct Impact Fund operates as GoFundMe.org.
DonationsSee top donations
- Girls Opportunity Alliance General Fund Grant
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Fundraising team: Team Creative Action Institute (9)
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