Sunday, October 16, 2011

For Vivianne, Du Courage!

I've been processing the event yesterday.  It was A Community M.A.P. Event and the topic was Empowering Girls and Why Education is Important.  We used literature from Peace Corps Togo M.A.P. Program and from a U.S.Aid Program.  The Tchekpo M.A.P.  Committee did an awesome job.  They did a fantastic job!  I’m really proud of them.

At times it was little hard to gauge how it was going.  Almost all of it was given in Ewe.  I had one or two people interpret for me from time to time.  It seemed all the points we had wanted to cover were being discussed.  Empowering girls. Talking about the importance of education.  They were asked to think about other things they can do before they have a family.  Talked about condoms, talked about and demonstrated perceived gender roles.  The presenters and topic captured the attention of the audience of primarily young women.  I saw the principal of the highschool and the teachers learn things too, and they would jump up from time to time to speak their mind or emphasize a point.   There was a healthy back and forth participation between the audience and the presenters.  Excellent audience participation, the young women fearlessly asking smart questions.

Huge crowd, about six PCV's came, which was really nice.  The principal of the high school and most of the teachers came.  Lot's and lot's of kids, lots and lots of girls all dressed up in their school uniforms.

There were some glitches, that didn't matter...we should have had a megaphone....

Katanga and Georgette!!
The sketches were great...the kids who performed them were quite professional and prepared...they were loud and faced the audience and had  props and the sketches were very fitting for the topic.   Three women spoke in all.  We chose women who exemplify strength and poise and are a good example that women can do anything, even in Togo...Georgette, one of my community partners and friend was a speaker.  I was really impressed with the content and how she delivered her speech about gender equity.  Next a woman with Borne Fonden (NGO) spoke.  She spoke about the importance of girls staying in school, and then Katanga.  Katanga is a Director for an NGO (not-profit) organization here in Togo.  I had heard her speak at a regional association conference, and she was dynamic.  I tracked her down and asked her if she would be interested in speaking on this topic for our event.  She was great.  She inspired the girls, and I think  the teachers as well.  (The teachers are all male.)  Katanga has a gift!

The jeweled crown of the day, came after I went home, I was resting, doors/windows closed, but someone knocked.  It was Honou Koffi with a girl about his age.  Vivianne.  She was a beautiful girl.  She wanted to thank me for today and she wanted to talk more about opportunitites for girls.  She excels in Physics and math.  I know that Katanga asked the girls how many were interested in science.  What an awesome  question for these young village girls.   Peace Corps has an annual science camp that I'll get Vivianne into, and set her up with a mentor.  You could see something in her face. I don't know what to call it, but It turns out to be just what I was looking for here.... I think it's a look of intelligence and determination. 

Some  girls were inspired.  Some people learned about community organizing, while others
experienced the importance of volunteering.  I'm quite content about it all.  I know this Peace Corps Training and event will have a positive, sustainable impact on many people in different ways.  The organizers and the participants.  This is just what we are supposed to be doing, so..  cool.

For more about M.A.P.:

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