The girlchild is first vulnerable as a child and this is increased being amongst the marginalised gender in the society. For a change in this narrative and the emancipation of the female gender from being relegated, voiceless, ignorant, and unhealthy girls are to be ‘caught young’ to drive this transformation. It was on this count GPI was formed.
In Nigeria, adolescent girls are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV, unwanted pregnancies, trafficking, sexual and reproductive health challenges, no access to menstrual pad, various forms of social vices and lack of information on sexuality. They are socialised not to have a voice for themselves, not even to think to take decisions on their personal lives. GPI is driven towards training girls for an empowered womanhood – to be one who can think, make decisions, and take actions for oneself and on behalf of others.
Girls in GPI’s training are armed with the strategies, skills, and self-esteem they need to negotiate their adolescent years in good health. GPI started as a gender geared life-skills education course for 16 girls, including the daughters of founders Grace Osakue and Bene Madunagu in 1994, but interactions with the pioneer girls showed their interest were on relationships, sexuality – this led to the inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) to the GPI program with the girls contributing to the content of the curriculum which has been updated over the years.
GPI fills the gaps left by standard school curricula by giving girls vital information about their bodies, their rights, and their responsibilities. These lessons help empower girls to take control of their reproductive and sexual lives and realize their full potential as individuals.
Every girl who has passed through the GPI programme is a girl with a difference. This is often commented by those who have met them for they are assertive, articulate, and informed.
The GPI Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program is the core of GPI Programming
It is a 3 year Weekly Safe Space Meeting for adolescent girls aged 10 -18 years (commonly referred to as Centre Meeting) where girls are geared from a gender perspective to be self-reliant and catalyst for social change and development.
The Safe Space Lessons are set up in three levels and girls progress from level one to level three in age-stratified groups with non-judgemental and factual trainings on
- Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)/Family Life & HIV Education (FLHE)
- Life & Economic Skills Empowerment – Leadership & Entrepreneurship
- Human Rights – Youth Activism for social change – Gender Sensitivity Education.
The girls utilize their newfound knowledge and skills to carry out social work interventions in communities on issues such as early marriage, teenage pregnancies, female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices – a prerequisite for graduation. After which they graduate to join the GPI Alumnae Association (GAA) – an association with GPI graduates from 1997 since its inception.
Video of GPI at 25 link
The School’s Outreach Program was on the realisation that not all girls could make it to the Centre, thus a one year abridged curriculum for in-school girls was created to empower more girls with needed information and skills on their sexuality, human rights, life skills and leadership from a gender angle.
Today, these young women represent the country’s next generation of leaders, committed to realizing their vision of social justice and gender equality.