GLOWing in Uganda


With hopes to improve gender equality in Uganda and empower girls with leadership skills, Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is a weeklong camp for 13-16 year old girls.  Although Uganda is slowly improving the educational and employment opportunities for women, men still dominate most aspects of Ugandan life; however, history has proven that an empowered woman is an integral part of development of a community and country.  Additionally, the camp strives to bring together and unite Ugandan girls in a nation of 54 languages and cultures to help promote a national identity.

Camp GLOW will inspire young Ugandan women to overcome their cultural differences, bond over the common language of English and work together for gender equality.  By addressing the important issues facing young Ugandan women in a safe and comfortable environment, we hope to develop well-informed, confident female leaders of Uganda.  Camp GLOW’s activities strive to equip the girls with skills that will lead to a happy, healthy and successful life through health education, life skills, goal setting, sports, creative arts, and testimony from successful Ugandan women.  After Camp GLOW, each girl will return to her community as a leader ready to spread her new knowledge, skills and experience among her peers.

Statement of Need

In Uganda, girls are faced with many challenges, which ultimately affect her education, her health and her future.  Traditionally, girls or women are expected to become wives and mothers.  Many families still prioritize the education of boys over girls by neglecting to provide their girls with school fees or necessary school supplies.  Compared to their male counterparts, fewer girls complete secondary school, and even fewer women attain a university education.  Without education, women are unable to compete in the job market, have financial freedom, communicate effectively and make healthy family decisions.

Beyond the lack of formal education, girls are missing crucial information regarding reproductive health and menstruation management, which put her at risk for early pregnancy, absenteeism and dropping out of school.  In spite of the PIASCY program in place to help raise awareness about puberty, body changes, life skills and most importantly HIV/AIDS, it has been shown that most schools do not actively promote the program.  As a result, young girls are left at risk.  Furthermore, girls are not taught to value and protect their bodies. They lack the assertiveness and the strategies to stand confident against those that pressure them to have early sex.

As a result of the current inequality, both women and girls tend to harbour low self-worth and remain feeling powerless.  Without believing in themselves, women underestimate their abilities to achieve anything beyond domestic duties.  Uganda needs women to believe they deserve the same rights as men: the right to quality education, the right to own their bodies, the right to hold a well paying job, the right to managing their money, the right to safety, etc.  The greatest opportunity of change lies in the young generations, especially in Uganda where over half the population is under the age of 14.  By empowering these young girls, hopefully they will continue in their education, find a good job and determine the future of their lives. 

In 1995, Peace Corps Romania formed Camp GLOW to encourage young women to become active citizens, harness self-awareness, and strive for their goals.  This camp was seen as a huge success throughout the international community, and since has been copied in many other countries.  Since 2010, there have been two national and four regional camps held in Uganda.  Community members and Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Uganda have reported that the girls in their village who attended Camp GLOW were more assertive in their classes, more comfortable making their voices heard and even offering additional information that they had learned at Camp GLOW.  Campers have independently begun groups with their classmates to teach them educational games and lessons on health. The community members and PCVs have reported how impressed and happy they are to see this improvement in the attitude of their adolescent girls.

Camp GLOW aims empower young Ugandan girls by boosting self-esteem, promoting healthy living, instilling life skills and producing community leaders.  Through the development of their leadership qualities, the girls will return to their communities ready to share their new skills and knowledge.  By investing in the young women of Uganda, we are investing in Uganda’s future.

Goals and Objectives

National Camp GLOW will teach young women to make healthy, good decisions in life and to strive to achieve their highest goals and aspirations through leadership and self-confidence.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have completed eight life skills and healthy living sessions.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have completed an informational session about their menstrual cycle, reproductive organs and sexual health myths.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will sew a RUMPS kit, a reusable menstrual pads kit, because effective menstruation management will help them stay in school.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will be able to describe strategies to protect their bodies against malaria and other sicknesses through hygienic practices and protective measures.

National Camp GLOW will empower young Ugandan females to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS and equip them with the knowledge and skills to educate their communities about HIV transmission and methods of prevention.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have completed four life skills sessions that will equip them with strategies to delay or refuse unprotected or unwanted sex.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will be able to identify the four fluids through which HIV is transmitted and understand how the virus is transmitted.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will be able to state and describe the ABC strategies of HIV/AIDS prevention, which are abstinence, be faithful and condoms.

National Camp GLOW will develop the creativity and individuality needed to be strong, successful and resourceful young women in Uganda.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have completed IGA sessions teaching tie dye, sewing and baking using local materials.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have completed four teambuilding sessions targeting cooperation, communication, and planning.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have participated in sports, music, and drama activities.

National Camp GLOW will have long-term benefits on the lives of these individual young women, on their communities and on the development of their country.
  • By December 2012, at least 30 communities will have at least one empowered girl leader to motivate and educate the members of the community about healthy living practices, assertiveness, and goal-setting.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have completed a five-day camp that provided them with the skills to make informed decisions regarding family planning, goal-setting, budgeting and saving and career-planning to prepare for their successful future.
  • By December 2012, 150 Ugandan girls ages 13-16 will have worked and lived with girls representing all regions of Uganda, which will help break down the barriers between Ugandan cultures and develop a national unity.

National Camp GLOW will provide training to Ugandan female co-counsellors in life skills, healthy living, teamwork, youth development and gender empowerment.

  •  By December 2012, 15 Ugandan co-counsellors will have completed a two-day training in life skills, healthy living and teamwork, as well as mentorship, positive discipline and cross-cultural understanding.
  • By December 2012, 15 Ugandan co-counsellors will have participated in the execution of Camp GLOW, during which they facilitated sessions, acted as role models and employed positive discipline methods.

Project Design

The coordination of Camp GLOW will be shared among the three directors: Sister Valentine, headmistress of St. Theresa Girls Primary School, and PCVs, Leah Briston and Chelsea Roberts.  The three directors will equally work together to plan, organize, and carry out the third annual Camp GLOW National.

Peace Corps Volunteers in all regions of Uganda will nominate promising girls ages 13-16 years old to attend Camp GLOW  Most volunteers are stationed in rural communities, so most girls will be coming from the village where opportunities like camp are rare.  Prospective campers and counsellors will be asked to provide details about themselves and write brief essays describing their qualifications for camp.  Fifteen PCV co-counsellors, 15 Ugandan co-counsellors and 150 campers will be chosen to participate.

Training for the counsellors will be held 30 November- 2 December.  The counsellors will be responsible for acting not only as a role model, but also a mentor to their campers as they engage in different activities, step outside their comfort zone, and develop as confident, strong young women. By working side-by-side with the PCV co-counsellor, these Ugandan women will share their insight, their skills, and their time while also learning how to work more effectively with the youth. In this way they can bring this knowledge back to use with the youth in their community.  Through the counsellor training, we hope to instil a positive attitude, genuine care, professionalism and high energy to insure a successful week at camp.

National Camp GLOW will be held for the week of December 2-8, 2012.  During the five full days of camp, Monday through Friday, the campers will attend four sessions per day focusing on life skills, healthy living, teamwork and IGAs.  These sessions will be lead by counsellors and staff members and will address: HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention, malaria prevention, goal setting, nutrition, reproductive health, menstruation management through RUMPS (Reusable Menstrual Pads), leadership, decision making, water sanitation, assertive communication and friendship.  Throughout the day, the campers will be involved in fun and engaging activities and competitions to promote effective communication, teamwork and group bonding.  During break time, the campers will participate in DEAR- Drop Everything And Read, to support a healthy reading culture.  Each day, the camp will host a guest speaker or group.  These Ugandan guest speakers will encourage the girls to reach for their dreams and plan for their future.

After Camp GLOW, 150 young women will return to their communities as an empowered girl leaders ready to motivate and educate the members of their communities about healthy living practices, family planning, assertiveness, goal-setting, career planning, and leadership.  Additionally, 15 Ugandan female co-counsellors and one Ugandan co-director will be trained in the areas of life skills, teamwork, leadership, arts and crafts, sports, and healthy living. After Camp GLOW, these counsellors will have contributed their expertise and further developed their skills to work with youth in developing life skills and healthy living habits throughout Uganda by acting as a counsellor, teacher, and friend for the campers.

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