Barnaby September 2008

Name: Emily Barnaby
Post: Gogounou
Date Submitted: September 15, 2008
Contact Info: 95378114
Pickup Location: Parakou
Project Description: With the start of the school year and with the help of the Responsable of the Center for Social Promotion, I would like to form a girls club of 20 girls who will be entering 5eme or 4eme. After giving a letter of intention to the director and mayor in order to appropriately inform the community of my plans and personally speaking with the director for his permission, an application will be sent around the school for submission into the club. Any and all girls in 5eme and 4eme will be invited to participate and submit an application. The application will consist of two or three questions that I will ask the girls respond to creatively (see timeline for exact dates of application process).

Upon the commencement of the club, which will start the week after the application process, the girls, along with myself and the Responsible du CPS will start meeting weekly for two hours. Each week we will discuss a different topic and some topics will last as long as a month (again, see timeline for topics and dates). In general the topics to be discussed regard life skills and addressing problems in the community, at home, with friends, or the self. Examples of the topics we will touch upon include: art, cooking, and health education. Each topic will delve into further issues, such as, waste management, hygiene, environment, and other concerns the girls face on a daily basis and how to outsource their emotions into something useful for the community and for themselves.

Each class will have a theme and or topic tied into the activity. For example, we will use art to stimulate the brain while addressing and discovering issues and events in Gogounou, Benin, and Africa. The class will allow the students to think critically and creatively which is a difficult concept for most students. Often times, students in classes are instructed to copy and memorize information and the teacher is never questioned and is always correct. With a girls club, the projects and activities will be loosely based and the girls will need to use their own brains and ideas to create their projects. The girls will be allowed to openly discuss issues as well as demand and debate questions at hand. I imagine the task of thinking critically and creatively will be the biggest challenge but as well, the most satisfying when they can think on their own and for themselves.

When appropriate, guest speakers in the community such as artisans, the Responsable herself, and a visitor from the United States will contribute to the success of the club and talk on specific subjects. As a method of evaluation a survey will be conducted at the beginning of the first or second meeting and again after six months and perhaps again before the volunteer departs. It is a great possibility that the girls will start an income generating activity after discussing how to form a club/business and can continue to financially support their own activities and agenda.

I have chosen to form an only girls club because as in most of Benin, it is usually the men who have the upper hand. Women can have an enormous impact on this country if they have an education and information which they can use to their benefit. Having the skills and knowledge of basic tasks and leisure activities such as cuisine, environment, health, and the arts, the women will feel empowered and perhaps even motivated to help themselves, their children, and their situation. Acquiring knowledge can be a powerful force as well as having the ability to pass the knowledge to further generations.


By collectively passing time, the mission of the girls club is to inform and educate in a creative and supportive environment. By critically thinking, debating, and discussing issues at hand, the girls will recognize their emotions and be able to identify problems in their surroundings and try to find solutions or answers to the issues.

Goals and Ambitions

The goal of the girls club is to educate 20 young females to become next generation leaders by using their reasoning capabilities to make sound decisions while identifying issues in their community and offering ideas and solutions to problems. A second goal is that the girls continue to educate their parents, friends, and siblings by passing along and offering their newfound knowledge. Along with this club, a goal for the girls will be to start and keep a portfolio of their artwork with intentions of an exhibition at the end of the school year in order to display their work and involve the community. A final and larger ambition is that the girls start their own income generating activity which would be able to continue to support any financial needs of the club.

Small SWOT

 Discuss and identify issues that are not usually taught in school or talked about at home.
 Create and initiate activities where the girls are allowed to think imaginatively and use resources in the community provided by a safe and supportive environment.
 Empower the girls to act responsibly and be leaders to others in the community while learning to identify sensitive issues such as poverty, corruption, and waste management.
 Involve the community by offering events such as an art exhibition or other fundraiser(s).

 Size of the group is only conducive to allow 20 female students to actively participate in the meetings and use the supplies on hand.
 Making sure the meeting(s) continue when the volunteer is unable to conduct the meeting(s) due to travelling or other Peace Corps related activities such as mid-service or all-vol.

 Using holidays or other public programs to gain awareness and promote the girls club through the use of fundraisers or activities.
 With the presence of a volunteer discussing sensitive issues that are not usually addressed and using supplies and information that are not otherwise available.

 There are no foreseen threats at this time unless the mayor and or director do not approve of the girls club which is highly unlikely. The only threat would be the bureaucracy of administration, which at this point has not been a problem and do not anticipate to be a problem.


September 15: Submit GAD application
September 15, 16: Create and grammatically correct letter for mayor and director
September 17, 18: Create flyer and application for girls
September 28: Hang application at school
October 1: Collect and sort applications
October 6: Give acceptance invitations to girls
October 8: First girls club meeting


October 8: Introduction
Presentation of participants
Logistics: Time and date, read syllabus
Activity: Art introduction, what is art? Discuss the importance, genres, mediums, advantages, disadvantages, and ideas of art.
October 15: Introduction to Art
Introduce Color wheel
Introduce shapes: circles, squares, rectangles, triangles
Lines and shading: basic egg/ball drawing
Activity: Use one color to draw hues and shapes; use pencil and draw and shade shape on table
October 22: Introduction to Art
Activity with Dessinateur
Discuss his work and how he creates his art
October 29: Introduction to Art
The body, people and animals
Quick draw
One line, no looking draw
Defining shapes in the body – models
The face
November 5: Introduction to Art
Continue with body and face
Use magazine cut-outs
November 12: Introduction to Art
Focus on Nature
Activity: find something in nature and draw it
Introduce Book: Si Une Longue Lettre – start reading assigned pages
November 19: Book Reading
Si Une Longue Letter
Responsible du CPS – Reading discussion
November 26: Book Reading
Si Une Longue Letter
Responsible du CPS – Reading discussion
December 3: Book Reading
Si Une Longue Letter
Responsible du CPS – Reading discussion
December 10: Book Discussion
Discuss major topics and themes of book
Draw/color image from book
December 17: Cooking
Wagashi pizza
Discuss hygiene and cooking
Discuss nutrition
Optional Drawing

December 24: Cooking
Exchange recipes and ideas for cooking
Touch on topic of clubs
Optional drawing
December 31: Holiday! Happy New Year
January 7: Responsable du CPS
Discussion of adolescence
Health Education
Pressures of life in Benin and marriage
January 14: Discuss forming a club
Ideas and issues in Gogounou
Keeping a portfolio
Discuss art show

  • Syllabus subject to change; though this pattern of activities will be the format for the girls club

Funding a Budget

With the help of family and a visitor coming in October, I have asked that my family participate in buying 13 more books to complete the 20. The visitor will bring the books to Benin avoiding any problems with theft in the post. The funding from GAD will help purchase art supplies, since art is the major focus of the group and will be able to offer a small payment to the artist artisan who will help in an art class. The GAD funding would also cover cooking costs, and environmental art projects such an animal murals or health education sessions. Therefore, I am requesting the full allowance of 50,000cfa to supplement the girls’ club budget which would cover all costs and activities up until the girls could form a club and support their own monetary agenda with the financial supervision of the volunteer. Without any funding the girls club would still be capable of operating but only on the simplest level without all the activities outlined in the syllabus.

Girls Club Budget:

Expense Quantity Unit Price Total Price
Books 13 6.375 ($15.00 each x 425 (ex rate)) 82.875
Art Supplies
Paper 4 packets 2.700 10.800
Colored Pencils/Erasers 10 Packets 500 5.000
Paint 5 bottles 3.000 15.000
Paint Brushes 20 300 6.000
Ingredients, Gas 8.000
Crochet Hooks 20 200 4.000
Zippers for Wallets 20 100 2.000
Total 133,675cfa

Amount Requested: 50.000 CFA


GAD Coordinator Comments: Sounds like a great project. I know lots of people do girls’ clubs, but most people don’t plan out every session before the club even starts. I applaud her advance planning and attention to detail. Recommend funding.

GAD Specialist Comments: This is indeed a great and well thought-out project. I definitely recommend funding. However, I’ll suggest that, even though the Volunteer has topics to be discussed, she should give a chance to the students so that they come up with some topics on their own. She could even lead them to suggest the topics she already has. Then they will feel ownership of the club and motivated. I notice also that the days have already been pre-determined. I suggest that she uses one of the PACA tools e.g. daily or weekly activity tool to find out their availability in terms of day of the week and time.
Finally, the novel is “Une si longue letter”.

Financial Chair Comments: I agree that this is an extremely well thought out project, and really a model for other girls clubs in terms of planning, community awareness, and well defined goals. However, I agree with Maria that there needs to be room for more input from the girls on what the club should focus on. I also think it would be best if there was an attempt at working with another strong women in the community, potentially a teacher, who could maybe co-lead the group along with Emily in order to demonstrate a HCN role model. Other than that, excellent project. Recommend funding.

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