Youth Development in Ukerewe, Tanzania, and Athens, Georgia
UGA Public Service and Outreach
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Rachel Hagues and Hunter Parker returned to Ukerewe in the summer of 2010 where nearly 100 girls attended the Girls Talk program for two weeks on a daily basis. With Ambassador Mongella in attendance, the girls gave a final performance for the community at the conclusion of the program.
In 2006, Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, the first president of the Pan-African Parliament, visited UGA to articulate her vision for the improvement of living conditions in her district, Ukerewe, Tanzania. Since then, UGA faculty members have worked with Ambassador Mongella to develop programs and activities to improve conditions in Ukerewe. One of her strong convictions is that strides in economic development and health care will more likely be achieved if girls are empowered to have a higher sense of selfworth.
To address this specific issue, UGA partnered with Girls’ Talk, a Ukerewe organization led by local women to assist girls in personal and social development, to pilot a service-learning project in Ukerewe to provide a safe place where acting and skits could be used as an outlet for the girls to talk about issues affecting them. The project also helped the girls develop a support system with each other and with the women from the community, as well as find solutions and positive ways in which to address their challenges.
Rachel Hagues, a Program Coordinator for the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, and Hunter Parker, a graduate student in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, implemented the program through games, activities, and journaling. Approximately 35 girls attended on a daily basis, both in 2008 and in 2009. The girls were given daily journal topics, which they completed during the session or as homework. Often, small groups were formed, and journal responses were developed into skits.
Hagues and Parker returned to Ukerewe in the summer of 2010 where nearly 100 girls attended the program for two weeks on a daily basis. With Ambassador Mongella in attendance, the girls gave a final performance for the community at the conclusion of the program.
The work of Hagues and Parker laid the groundwork for future expansion of the program. The University of Georgia faculty-graduate student team developed relationships with the women in the community, which will aid in building long-term trust for the program. Currently, the leaders of Girls’ Talk are working to implement the program in Ukerewe’s schools and to expand the activities to include sports, cooking and nutrition lessons, and environmental protection instruction.