Young Women's Programme
Young women growing up on farms experience specific vulnerabilities as a result of their position on farms. There is a high incidence of teenage pregnancies, school drop-outs and gender-based violence. Many young women also lack self-esteem and confidence, and cannot envision an alternative, positive future in which they have options to make informed choices about their futures.
One of the most immediate and critical aspects of young women's lives is the lack of strong positive alternatives (e.g. values, ideology, education, livelihoods, role models, etc.) available. Evidence shows that there is a strong tendency towards the intergenerational transfer of socio-economic conditions – i.e. socialisation means that young farmwomen's are highly likely to grow up and lead lives which are very similar to their mothers' (and other adult farmwomen). While there is, of course, nothing intrinsically wrong with, for example, farm work, young women growing up on farms have historically not been given choices, alternatives and opportunities to make informed decisions regarding their future. We believe that young women should have the agency and choice to make decisions regarding their career options.
The Programme aims to build young women's leadership and agency by providing them with relevant information, skills and competencies to enable them to make informed decisions and choices, and take control of their lives.
School-based Gender Equity Groups: Girls and boys in Grades 8 to 10 are provided with training in various aspects of gender equity to raise awareness and consciousness in order to bring about shifts in norms and values in gender relations in the younger generation. Employing Training for Transformation (TfT) methodology as well as other creative methodologies like drama and free writing, the school-level training will also stimulate debate and behaviour change among the girls and boys.
Area Clusters: Each Cluster consists of 5-10 school-going girls from various farms in a single area, e.g. Rawsonville, Stellenbosch, etc. Each Cluster meets regularly for leadership training & capacity-building. Area Clusters will facilitate WFP's ability to reach, organise and support young women from farms from various areas.
Study circles: A number of study circles are established on each farm, depending on the number and ages of young women on the farm. Study circles meet throughout the year, but especially in preparation of examinations in June and November.
- Young women have increased information, knowledge and confidence to assert and claim their rights.
- Young women have asserted their agency and have made informed choices and decisions (e.g. about their relationships) and taken control of their lives and futures (e.g. returning to complete school after a pregnancy).
- Young women's leadership and confidence has been developed – a number have taken up leadership positions in school and church structures; one young woman serves on WFP's Board.
- The Programme has provided young women with practical study and career information and choices – young women have gone on to tertiary education.