Leadership courses focus on recognizing potential in one’s self and in others, and in developing the skills needed to analyze problems and develop solutions.
Niger, an emerging democracy, has a functional literacy rate of just 29% (U.N. Statistics 2005-2010). Since our participants are part of the under 10% of girls who make it to high school, we know they have an important role in the development of their country. Statistics for Benin are comparable.
eadership courses focus on recognizing potential in one’s self and in others, and in developing the skills needed to analyze problems and develop solutions. Once the young women see themselves as leaders, they begin work as a team to analyze a problem in their community, determine its causes and effects, identify community partners, and propose solutions which complement existing community efforts. Their work culminates in a presentation, educating an American audience about the problem and their hopeful solutions.
The girls also practice mediation skills. They are taught by their American peers who have been trained and practice peer mediation to resolve problems in a school setting. In the past few years, the American teens have developed a video and culturally relevant practice situations for the Nigerien and Beninese girls. Nearly every participant has reported using mediation skills in their family, with their friends, or in school. Several have met with their school directors to discuss mediation as an alternative to punishment for disputes.