Since being in Uganda, I have been particularly interested in speaking to the girls and meeting members of the Girls' Club.

In every PEAS school there are Girls' Club’s that have been created in order to empower girls, help them manage their menstruation and help to defeat the barriers girls are facing concerning gender equality. In Girls' Club, the girls are also taught practical skills, such as making baskets which they can then sell at markets. Boys can also join the Girls' Club and participate in all activities, as well as learning about menstruation and gender equality.

Throughout my trip I have spoken to lots of girls and heard many inspirational stories. At Pioneer High School I met an amazing 12 year old girl who delivered an exceptionally empowering poem. I have included some of the most powerful lines:

“To educate a girl is to educate a nation,
Do not deprive her of an education.
Do let her know what she is to the nation,
Give her a chance to get a good reputation.
A woman that has an education,
Will teacher her children motivation.
Fellow women I need your attention,
Let you learn knowledge to achieve your aspiration,
Absence of knowledge causes indignation.
Illiterate women are easy for seduction,
They live in houses of corruption.
Making money quickly in their desperation,
A rich man is coming at their destination.                 
She supports and fights to build a nation,
An educated woman uses skills in communication,
When she talks, she corrects a situation,
She will disconnect all those bad connections,                                
She will not be bribed, she hates corruption,
Men, Women, Both need education.

Empowering and educating girls is so important, as research has showed that if a girl in poverty has the opportunity to stay in school, marriage and childbirth will be delayed meaning that she can focus on herself. She will have enough to eat, have a safe place to live and have an education, meaning that she can raise the quality of life for her family and community.

Educating girls about menstruation and sex and relationships is crucial. In developing countries such as Uganda, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. Violence includes; rape, sex trafficking, lack of consent, harassment and domestic abuse. Furthermore, teaching girls about menstruation and managing their periods is just as important. In Girls Club, you learn about sanitation and how you don’t need to skip school just because you’re on your period.

I was amazed at the crafts and products which the Girls Club members had created. They teach each other skills, so they can pass it on to family members and friends. Products included weaved baskets, colourful handbags, sunhats, bracelets and many more. The Girls Clubs also hold competitions with other PEAS Girls Clubs across Uganda. There are sporting events, poem recitals, songs and dance offs. The competition is great because it allows girls from different schools and villages meet to compete but also to share their ideas, empowering girls even more.

The main reason I wanted to focus on girls is because I am a girl myself. I cannot imagine being forced to marry as a child to man I’ve never met. I cannot imagine being made to have children against my will. I cannot imagine being afraid of walking alone because of the fear of being sexually abused. I cannot imagine being made to stay home all day doing the same thing, day in and day out. I cannot imagine being denied an education, just because I am a girl.

Kate attends Fortismere School in Haringey and visited schools in Uganda with the Costa Foundation