It’s a simple fact that there is nobody more vulnerable than young girls. Oprah Winfrey once said, “You want to change the world. Just change one girls life and it will have a ripple effect more powerful than you can imagine.” This is the message behind the Give1 Project’s Young Women’s Empowerment Summit that was held in Benin, Africa from November 25 – 30th.
The Give1 Project is a global organization that aims to engage young people as leaders in creating and building strong and healthy communities. A delegation of 10 women leaders selected by the foundation, along with Thione Niang, founder of the Give1 Project, traveled to Benin to strengthen the leadership, increase the empowerment and community engagement of 60 young Beninese women in order to impact them to solve problems in their respective communities.
Research shows the decline of self-confidence in young women beginning as they enter adolescence and continuing through their teen years into college. In knowing the importance of this, topics of discussion during the summit included friendship, safe relationships, inner beauty and self esteem.
The trip to Benin brought together powerful, diverse women from the United States who are current leaders in philanthropy, education and public service, with a powerful message and/or story. Each woman had the opportunity to build cultural bridges and empower the women and girls of Benin. The program was not only about developing skills and learning to build a community initiative, but also about building relationships and an international network as well as sharing culture and history.
“We all left with a renewed sense of purpose and passion,” says Give 1 Project participant Shyah Dickerson. “During the week we shared our stories and spoke to young women about leadership, entrepreneurship, and self-esteem. Our goal was to empower these women who traveled to Cotonou from all over the country, these young women empowered and inspired us so much.”
“One of the most memorable moments happened as we wrapped up the Women’s Empowerment Summit, each US Delegate urged the Beninese women to take what they learned and pass it on, to keep in contact and to remember the passion and energy they had during this conference. Shortly after the conference, we learned that the women formed a Women’s Empowerment Network, a board of young women has committed to sharing their lessons with all women in Benin, the network will work together to create change locally and abroad.”
Adds A’shanti F. Gholar, “The summit strengthened my personal commitment to work on issues of income, education, and health back in the states and the Diaspora for young people. The ten days in Africa were a good reminder of how much work we have to do not only in Africa, but across the world, to empower young people to develop their potential to be the leaders of today and tomorrow.”
For more information on the Give1 Project visit: give1project.org.