In 2016, CHP began the Girls’ Empowerment and Mentoring (GEM) program. This program has reached girls across the community of Petit Trou de Nippes and created dialogue and action on girls’ empowerment, providing mentors and education that girls do not receive in school. Programming confronts the challenges girls and women face in their rural community, providing information, a safe space, and access to a network of supportive women and men. Between two groups of students at St. Paul’s school and two groups of students at the national high school, 100 girls currently participate in GEM with hopes to expand the program in the future.
Four female mentors alongside two staff members work weekly with girls’ groups, providing support and mentorship during crucial developmental phases. One previous GEM participant mentioned the program gave her advice on “how to be independent, how to avoid vulnerability, the importance of school and how to take power in our futures.”
In 2017, GEM mentors and students designed a summer camp to continue GEM programming outside of the school year. Summer camp lasted for three weeks between July 31st and August 19th, with 87 girls and 25 boys participating in 11 events over 11 days. Students received information on a variety of subjects including:
Coping with sexual violence and gender
Sanitation and hygiene
Right and duty of the child