A ray of good news in an otherwise tumultuous year, a whole new team of digital stars graduated from our Girl Tok program in late 2021!
“I learned that you can only be able to tell someone else to take care of their body, when you take care of yours. I also learned that you should think carefully about what you want to post online before you post online,” shared a Girl Tok participant about what she learned from One Girl’s digital literacy program Girl Tok. Girl Tok is an innovative, forward thinking and adaptive program, which was designed to help keep girls feeling supported, safe and healthy during the pandemic.
After the Pilot in 2020 we conducted a Girl Tok evaluation to reflect and analyse the outcomes of the program. We wanted to use this information to further strengthen and develop the program. Then we brought in the experts - the girls! - and worked with them to test the content and find out what they liked and didn’t like. We also engaged a consultant to develop the curriculum, using the evaluation and reflection to enhance lessons and activities. Then with the support of the Morris Family Foundation we were ready to launch the next phase of Girl Tok Sierra Leone.
In June 2021, we officially kicked off Girl Tok Sierra Leone 2021 for Senior Secondary School (SSS) girls in Freetown. With a refreshed curriculum, and smaller groups (something the girls identified as more effective in the evaluation), 23 girls and 5 mentors hopped online. They learned about digital literacy, health and wellbeing, their sexual health and rights, and using their voice! You can see this in action here!
Since Girl Tok had been piloted in Freetown, the girls and communities we worked with in Tonkolili, a remote rural area with limited Internet connectivity, had been asking for us to bring Girl Tok to the district. Our amazing Field Officers identified 20 girls, and 4 mentors who were located in areas where they could access the internet and in August 2021, brought them online. Plus, 19 girls in Freetown who had completed their junior school exams, and were awaiting to enter SSS, hopped online and participated in sessions run by 4 mentors.
So graduation this time was a unique opportunity to bring all these amazing young women together to celebrate them! The One Girl team in Sierra Leone decorated the graduation halls, making sure everyone was Covid safe, and planned activities for this diverse group to enjoy.
“Girl Tok graduation is always a special time to see the girls come to life. They were dressed up and felt so honoured and special. It was an opportunity for everyone to relax and celebrate their achievements,” shares Yeniva Sisay, One Girl’s Africa Regional Director.
“We planned the activities in an interactive way. The hall was decorated by the team, it was a beautiful day for everybody. We set up a mini panel called Pass the Mic - where mentors asked the questions and anyone willing could come up and respond. The girls really took it on and enjoyed themselves! The greatest thing is that you can tell that they were learning, building confidence and skills.”
The quiz competition brought out their competitive spirit! They voted among themselves on things like ‘who was most punctual’ and ‘who was the most friendly’. It was awesome to see them build that rapport and sense of community.”
“What I love about my job and what I love about One Girl is that we find creative ways to bring girls together to explore their potential.”
“We got to see girls who are usually shy and in their uniform really come into their own. We got to see their personalities that we don’t get to see all the time. They come from communities where they are disenfranchised, it was awesome to see them come together and come alive.”
“For me, to see them build that camaraderie, that confidence was just amazing. To see girls from different schools coming together and sharing their stories is really special.
They don’t get to see each other or hang out, now they get to come together and talk and share and laugh. They had a safe space, to enjoy themselves, and enjoy being young women. To compliment one another and dance and just be themselves!”
In July, the next round of Tokkers will hop online and continue to build digital skills, and engage in fun activities.
And there are still more great things to come in 2022… Let’s Tok in a few weeks…
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