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Empowering girls and women

Kadiatou is taking the lead in the development of her community.

Kadiatou and her proud family

Extreme poverty and gender discrimination go hand in hand, and that’s certainly true in Kita, where girls and women have fewer opportunities than boys and men. With lower status and less power, they encounter school environments that are not favourable to girls’ attendance, low literacy rates, harmful traditions such as early marriage, gender-based violence, and a lack of female role models.

But, with your help, we are starting to change this in Kita, with initiatives that include:

  • Mobilizing the community and parents to get girls in school
  • Working with teachers and school management on gender issues to create a safe and welcoming environment for girls
  • Constructing girls-only latrines to encourage girls’ attendance
  • Creating Village Savings & Loans groups among women to empower them economically
  • Involving girls and women in all aspects of our projects to foster strong leadership skills.

Meet Kadiatou

Kadiatou is a new community volunteer who’s working on the frontlines of our gender strategy, and she exemplifies the work we’re doing.

She is a subsistence farmer, raising five children with her husband Kewoulen. Neither Kadiatou nor Kewoulen had a chance to finish school, but Kadiatou can read and write a bit, and those skills, combined with her enthusiasm, make her a natural choice for community leadership.

As a volunteer, Kadiatou, who’s in training now, will play a critical front-line role in informing and mobilizing the community around such issues as girls’ education, child marriage, and sexual and reproductive health for adolescents. Already, she is demonstrating to her family, more than ever, the important leadership role that women can and must play in Kita for development to succeed.

“She is a fighter,” says her proud husband. “My dream is that she becomes the best community volunteer in Kita and an example for all.”

Kadiatou sums up her goals best: “I want to help transform my community and ensure that all my children complete their schooling,” she says with clear determination.


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