August 8 2011

GAD Meeting Minutes: 8/6/2011, Parakou Workstation

Welcome to the new GAD Coordinator: Ivy Walker!

Ivy will officially take over the position of GAD Coordinator October 7th, and is currently awaiting her medical clearance to extend. She will be taking home-leave October 4th until November 8th. This “home-leave absence” happens every year- so don’t fear! Ivy will make sure the GSP checks and all official GAD business is taken care of remotely, while enjoying the comforts of America.

Banking Situation

Once again, the Gad Small Projects Fund has changed its bank due to a change in NGO partnerships. Our new sponsoring service is Human Solidarity Benin (HSB-ONG), whose president is a Maman Modele, and is interested in collaborating with volunteers as the partnership develops. The new bank is SGBBE, which exists in Cotonou and Parakou. So, Nati folks: If you want to use an EcoBank while at the workstation (you can’t, you have to actually leave the workstation) deposit the check into your bank account. This will take at least three days to clear. We realize that this is not a perfect situation, and we apologize. We will be searching for other opportunities as time goes on to make this easier for volunteers.

CAMPS!

Congrats to all the boys and camps that took place this year. We had 8 girls camps in towns such as Djougou, Dassa, Bohicon, Kandi, Natitingou, Porto-Novo, Bante and Parakou. We had four boys camps- twice as many as last year! They took place in Bante, Natitingou, Ouesse and Manigri!

Here’s a few details of how it all went down:

Bante- Was of course, awesome! 28 girls and 28 boys participated in two camps which ran simultaneously, joining together for the last day for lunch, a movie and a closing ceremony. What made this camp work really well was that they had the same sessions by alternating morning and afternoon schedules. Logistics: Day camp, with breakfast and lunch provided. Housing was a community contribution with the kids staying with family and friends, which was not an issue. 8 PCVs and a Grand Soeur and Grand Frere on each side facilitated the sessions.

Dassa: Brigitte Pohren did a camp with 27 girls from the same school, a little outside of Dassa . As a result, there was no awkward phase during the first few days when everyone has to get to know each other. She had many speakers from her rolodex of community contacts. As a final project of the camp, they made a functioning garden for the girls’ club for the girls to sell their vegetables at market! PCVs: 5 HCNs: 4 tutrices from Camp GLOW. Day camp.

Djougou: 58 girls from 20 communities. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and things ran very smoothly. Sarah highly recommends making smaller camps which would benefit entire communities, instead of large camps where the best 3 girls are rewarded. She has a lot of respect for the people who run large camps, but after running a smaller camp in her own village, she has concluded that it’s far more enjoyable to coordinate and far more beneficial to the community. That being said, Camp Succes, as always, was a complete success.

Kandi: Also known as “The Erika Lobe Baby-Fan Club” as she now gets gifts whenever getting into taxis. The camp went well, as it always does. It had 25 girls and 6 PCVs.

Porto Novo GLOW: Was awesome! The girls had the opportunity to go to the National Assembly and sit in the Senator’s seats. They also profited by getting to go to Songhai and see the farm. EMPOWER came and gave a great session, Natasha from Peace Corps also came and did a candle-lighting ceremony. 49 girls. 12 volunteers. 6 tutrices.

Gad Large Projects Fund

APPLY NOW! Every year, as funds allow, we offer one or two chances for Volunteers to apply for a larger project grant from the GAD GSP Fund. In November the LPF went to Mark Sawran for his Shea Conference. The GAD Large Project Fund deadline is September 15th, please send in your submissions for your girls’ club trips, women’s groupment’s start-up capital, camps and conferences! The project chosen can gain up to 175,000 cfa.

Kate Puzey Fund

This is big news. Kate Puzey Fund will now no longer cap funds at 100,000-200,000, as they had previously. They will now also fund ANY projects that lead to female empowerment, not just camps. For projects under $500, there is now a Micro-Grant process that will allow Volunteers to easily access the fund. For larger projects, with budgets in excess of $500, the PCPP form for the KPF will now be used. Criteria from the KPF Committee for projects are still to come, and Kate Puzey Fund fundraising is continuous in the United States. Contact the GAD coordinator if you are interested in applying to this fund. This is a fantastic opportunity for Girls' empowerment initiatives in Benin, so take advantage !! Never before have we had such funds available!

GAD Supplies

Materials, supplies and phone credit for the GAD Coordinator, up to 20,000 cfa per month, are now to be reimbursed by the Gad Small Projects Fund. This will allow the GAD Coordinator to make phone calls and purchase materials as needed, as these funds cannot come from Peace Corps. This was voted unanimously by present volunteers and committee members.

Affiche d’Organisation Scholaire

We're asking all volunteers to help us in getting these forms from the CEGs at their sites. It will help us compile much needed stats for the GAD program to be used for soliciting donations and giving us an idea of where GAD Benin should be focusing its efforts. Current PCVs: Please help us in this endeavor! This activity will now become a mandatory part of new volunteers Etude Milieu conducted during there first 3 months at their sites.

PINK Benin

Is no longer currently operating. Unfortunately it is not looking as though they are going to re-open anytime soon. We will miss our friends in Cotonou.

Committee Members:

Doug (Financial Chair): GAD Wiki is currently being edited to be opened to the public on August 31st. It will be a comprehensive database listed per site for GSPs, it will have the proposals and activity reports of each GSP. Will also have announcements, updates, tool-kits and applications will all be online.

Erika: the GADzette is out! And about! We want and need this to get better and bigger and more popular. Submit your stories, poetry, thoughts, gripes and EVERYTHING!

Sarah: the new Scholarship Girls Manual will be coming out prior to the rentree from new Committee Members Andrea and Jenny. This will describe the program in great detail.

Erin: The camp manual will be available to the new stage, along with the tool-kit. Digital editions will be available on the GAD Wiki.

New Committee Members:

Congrats to all….it’s a great group!!

Financial Chair/ GAD Wiki: Angee Slovachek

Scholarship Girls Program Coordinator: Jenny Brown
Funds and Donor Liason: Andrea

Kate Puzey Funds Coordinator: TBA

Take Our Daughters to Work Day Coordinators: Lissa Glasgo, Victoria Fox, Bridget Kennedy

Summer Internship Program Coordinator: Brittany Berns

Staff specialist: Gisele

GADZette: Editor- Summer Morgan;
Staff Writers- Tom Szymanski, Alicia Parrish

Publications/mauals: Shannon Monroe, Michelle Musett

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