The Girls Making Media project works to address gender discrimination using the following strategies: strengthening the capacity of adolescent girls to advocate against gender discrimination by making efficient use of diverse forms of media; increasing girls' opportunities to access media-related jobs; training adult journalists on issues facing adolescent girls; and increasing public awareness of the needs of adolescent girls in West Africa at the community, national, and regional levels.
The project involves the following activities:
To begin with, the project interacts with existing children’s and youth organisations and girls’ clubs to identify interest in the project. Once a selection of clubs has been made, Plan carries out a participatory assessment of their knowledge of gender issues and their organisational capacity to carry out advocacy and make efficient use of media. For this purpose, the regional office designed a simple self-evaluation tool to be administered by the children, which is based on existing auto-evaluation tools. The tool seeks to determine children’s individual and collective assets, achievements, and agency, as a basis to monitor their personal and group empowerment process.
The training activities for the girls' clubs are based on an already existing youth group training guide developed by Plan Togo. The guide comprises five modules on Child Rights, Life Skills, Advocacy, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Group Organisation. The project is expanding the guide to include a sixth and seventh module on Gender and the Use of Social Media for Advocacy. The guides use participatory training methodologies and local facilitators of children's and youth groups engaged in the project will be trained in Training of Trainers’ sessions. To kick off the project in Sierra Leone, Plan Sierra Leone collaborated with IMASS Production to offer a two-day training workshop to 140 beneficiaries (75% girls and 25% boys) covering group organisation, management, networking techniques, and media/communications.
To ensure that adolescent girls have the chance to exchange and learn from their peers’ experiences, Plan supports the girls with opportunities to meet and exchange during training sessions and follow-up meetings. Plan is also reviewing the possibility of using mobile phones and blogging as exchange tools, depending on the location and network/internet access of the identified girls’ groups.
A selection of 40 girls (10 from each country) with a special talent and keen interest to enter the journalistic profession will be identified and supported to receive an internship with media partners and/or courses in local media schools. The internships will not only enable them to affirm their decision to enter the media sector, but also increase their future job opportunities. This activity will commence at the end of year two of the project.
Plan is also working with adult journalists who are engaged in Plan’s national radio project "Kids Waves" and are active in the defence and promotion of child rights and gender. Identified journalists receive training on ethical reporting on gender discrimination and violence against adolescent girls. In the selection of participants, emphasis is put on female journalists who will continue to work with the girls’ clubs, serving as role models as well as mentors and coaches to the girls.