|29.09.10 Young Women in Munda "Rise Up!"|
Munu Munu Leana! (That's hello/good morning in Roviana language)
Our first YWCA Blog is coming to you from Munda where myself and Julie (YWCA Programs Manager) are currently delivering the Rise Up! Young Women's Leadership Workshop with Florence and Joanna from YWCA Munda Branch. We have 21 awesome young women participating in the workshop who were selected from over 40 applications as far away as Gizo and isolated communities in the Roviana Lagoon. Getting out to Munda to deliver the Rise Up! Workshop has been a great achievement for the YWCA but for me it is also a bit sad as I know my time in the Solomon Islands in coming to an end!
Already we have noticed a big difference between the young women in Munda and the young women in Honiara. Many of the participants in Rise Up! have trouble with basic reading and writing which makes them even more reluctant that usual to speak in public. By working with these rural young women we continue to learn and adapt the Rise Up! program to suit a range of different groups.
So far my highlights have been Day 2 were we tackled public speaking by taking the girls to the Munda airstrip to practice raising their voices. Listening to 21 young women screaming "I AM A YOUNG WOMAN, HEAR ME ROARRRR" and collapsing into fits of giggles was so much fun. We closed Day 2 with a visualisation exercise where the participants blew all their fears and hesitations about public speaking into a balloon and then we popped our balloons simultaneously to symbolise letting go of our fears.
On Day 4 the girls learned about strategies for social change and by working in small groups, they came up with four action plans for creating social change in their communities. Their goals are as follows:
Group One: "By the end of 2011, young women around Munda who are engaging in prostitution (sex work) will have access to information about sexual health and alternative ways to earn an income. Out long term vision is that prostitution will end."
Group Two: "By July 2011 we would like to create at least 15 new jobs in the Dunde community by starting a fisheries project".
Group Three: "Over the next five years the number of young women in and around Munda getting pregnant before their 20th birthday will reduce."
Group Four: " By the end of 2011, a program will be started in Munda that educates young men between the ages of 15-25 about violence against women".
The participants of Rise Up! have already planned to meet on a weekly basis with YWCA staff to help them achieve these goals.
Lots of Love~ Kiri XXX