IWD 2019 – Launch of the Karama Program for Adolescent Girls

Posted on: March 8, 2019, by :

International Women’s Day 2019 sees the public launch of the Karama Program for Adolescent Girls.

A significant advancement for the already well-established Karama women’s movement, the program represents the first time the network has focused work on a specific age group, expanding Karama’s work to strengthen, organize, amplify, and elevate women civil society leaders to a younger demographic. It is also a new chapter in our partnership with the NoVo Foundation.

Women’s movements in the Arab region have experienced a period of unprecedented change and challenge. An entire third of the Arab region’s population is under 15 years-old, a further third are aged between 15 and 29 years-old. This has created ‘demographic momentum’ that will continue expanding the youth population for decades.

This makes the purpose of the Karama Program for Adolescent Girls ever more relevant. That purpose is to ensure that adolescent girls are able to exercise their agency.

As Karama expands its focus to this age group, we believe the guiding principles of our work provide a strong foundation. Our work is always led from the bottom up. We seek to understand the priorities and goals of our partners, work with them to see how they can be achieved and what we can do as an organization to support them to succeed. Change that is real, lasting and positive cannot be achieved if it is not led from the grassroots up, neither can it be sustainable. These are the same principles that will guide our work with adolescent girls.

We cannot speak for adolescent girls, and we cannot dictate what their priorities are or how to achieve them. The first step to amplifying and elevating adolescent girls must be to hand them the platform to define their situation – and listen to what they say. We must learn from them how to support them to achieve their goals. We believe that this learning orientation, central to all of Karama’s work, can be especially transformative with adolescent girls whose thoughts, hopes, experiences and needs are so often ignored.