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Girl Power USA and Save Girl Uganda: Youth Conference

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Overview:

  • About SaveGirl Uganda
  • Partnership with Girl Power USA
  • Conference in Uganda hosted to elevate youth
  • Activities at the conference
  • Future prospects of the partnership

About SaveGirl Uganda

SaveGirl Uganda is a project by Vantage Foundation that was launched in 2021 to empower young women in rural areas of Uganda. It addresses the issue of lack of education and resources through the de-sensitization of various topics. These include menstrual health, sex education, confidence, communication, and financial management as well as the provision of sanitary products. Many young women in Uganda, especially those in rural areas, face a lack of resources that could help them flourish in various areas of their lives. 

Revolutionizing Opportunities for Social Impact

Be the One in Someone who changes the world with Girl Power USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

SaveGirl Uganda began as an online crowdfunding campaign to provide sanitary products to these young women. Later, we integrated mentorship as we got to know more about their needs. We used to meet at a local health center once every couple of weeks to discuss some of the issues they were going through.

Most of these young women are impeded to finish school as they drop out for various reasons. These commonly include forced marriage, early pregnancy, or lack of finances. Bushenyi, the district we began in, has the second-highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country. Sexual harassment cases are prevalent in this area. The members of SaveGirl Uganda and Girl Power USA attended a couple of court hearings on these cases over the past few months.

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Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

A Dream Come True

I introduced this campaign to my mentors and co-founders of Girl Power Talk, Sameer Somal and Rachita Sharma. They were eager to know more and help in whatever way they could. Upon launching Girl Power USA — a 501(c)(3) non-profit arm of Girl Power Talk, they officially named SaveGirl Uganda an official partner. The partnership aims to achieve our mutual goal of elevating youth and women in Uganda. 

I was elated at this as it was a dream come true for me. Uganda has the second youngest population in the world, with 78% of its population aged below 30. Like many other young people across the world, youth in Uganda face the challenge of a lack of opportunities and platforms to voice their opinions.

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Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

Having worked with Girl Power Talk, a company committed to providing merit-based opportunities for young people all over the globe, I was certain of our impact through this partnership. Additionally, I believed that this collaboration would enable us to make great strides toward the organizations’ shared mission of changing the world,  one person at a time.

Girl Power Talk’s work culture is truly fun and unique in that it grooms future leaders by empowering young people to rise above their limitations. As I imagined, the partnership with Girl Power USA has been life-changing for me, the SaveGirl team, and Ugandan youth.

Elevating Ugandan Youth With a Global Support System

On 10th September, 2022 Girl Power USA and SaveGirl Uganda hosted a conference in Bushenyi, Uganda. The theme of the conference was financial literacy and career education. It was attended by young women and men from around Bushenyi, as well as other groups such as staff members from Kampala International University.

Several media houses from around the country, volunteers and team members of SaveGirl Uganda and Girl Power USA also participated. Among the young women we invited were those who we mentored in 2021. Some of them were young mothers and a few had dropped out of school. Other young people we invited were students from a local high school who were delighted to be there.

My co-founder at Vantage Foundation, Hillary Turaysingura, and I hosted and presented at the conference. We were honored to be joined by Chipiwa Mukono, Director of Finance and Investments at Girl Power Talk from Zimbabwe and Marion Nekesa, Senior Writer at Girl Power Talk from Kenya. They were sponsored by Girl Power USA to fly to Uganda to speak at the event. 

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Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

Bridging The Opportunity Gap 

The conference included interactive sessions on diverse and relevant topics such as productive habit building. We also had an Open-Mic session where students and volunteers expressed their views and opinions on different issues affecting them, such as the quality of education and accessibility to scholastic resources.

The best part of the conference for me was seeing the young women actively take part in the Open-Mic. My heart swelled with joy at their confidence, creativity, dreams, and potential. At that moment I felt like a proud parent and knew that social impact was my life’s purpose.

I firmly believe in the potential of Ugandan youth. Yet, they have been deprived of opportunities to polish, harness, and unleash the skills required to forge a successful professional journey. Everyday I get to meet young people with brilliant minds and big dreams but they are demotivated by a lack of resources. Girl Power USA and Vantage Foundation are trying to bridge this gap.

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Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

At first, the idea of organizing and hosting my first conference at 21 years old was exciting yet nerve-racking at the same time. With the support of and guidance from my friends, colleagues, and mentors at Vantage Foundation and Girl Power USA, everything went smoothly. It also served as a great learning experience.

I learned the nuances of event planning such as financial management, booking and organizing the venue, printing and issuing invitations, catering, and operating a sound system. Moreover, in managing this event, my network expanded. My confidence, interpersonal skills, money management, budgeting skills, and general coordination skills improved greatly.

A Promising Way Forward

Upon following up on their experience, the attendees provided incredibly encouraging feedback, both written and verbal. My heart warmed when I heard what these young people had to say. Some of them expressed disbelief that there are people out there who genuinely wanted to invest in them. Their dreams and passions were ignited. Some of them affirmed that it was the best lecture they had ever gotten.

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Image Credits: Girl Power Talk

We are still in contact with the young people and have regular mentorship sessions with them. Our goal is to establish trust-based relationships with them enabling them to realize their full potential and achieve their dreams.

The whole experience is something I will forever cherish. It is truly a blessing and an honor to be part of a group of dedicated and committed individuals who are actively working towards positive change in the world. 

Conclusion:

The partnership between Girl Power USA and SaveGirl Uganda is providing young women in Uganda with valuable resources and opportunities to succeed. Through events like the conference, these organizations are changing the world, one person at a time and making a positive impact on the lives of Ugandan youth.

Kauthar Wangi

Associate, Marketing & PR, Girl Power Talk Kauthar Wangi is a Young Leader and Marketing & PR Associate at Girl Power Talk. She is very passionate about social impact and is currently running a non-profit that empowers women and youth in Uganda. She is focused on growth and development of both herself and other people, so she is always reading books that cover different subject matters relating to growth. She takes an approach of no conviction as she reads and comprehends these books. In her free time, she is trying out food recipes or working on jewellery.

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