Grant awarded to African Girl Empowerment Network

African Girls Empowerment Network (AGE Network) was established in October 2015 as community based group with the primary focus to end child marriage and break barriers to girls’ education through support and community advocacy and also to empower those young women who are economically disadvantaged and victims of domestic violence, rape, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS through woman2woman counseling, life skills, leadership training and micro credits to empower them economically. Their mission is to empower, support and protect the human rights of vulnerable African women and girls for our generation and most importantly, the generations next.

This project “Girls Empowerment Hub”, Odukpani, Cross River focuses on the issues affecting underprivileged women and girls, including girls who have dropped out of school due to child marriage and teenage pregnancy, victims of domestic violence, rape and those at risk of child marriage. Through vocational education and training for women, African Girls Empowerment Network, believes it can help build the capacity needed by creating a skilled workforce that could make enough income to support themselves and their families instead of forcing teenage girls into child marriage to settle their debts. Girls Empowerment Hub, Odukpani is also an opportunity for economically disadvantaged young women and girls, who are married as children and domestic violence survivors to have access to safe co-working spaces, collaborate with each other, learn about their bodies through sexual reproductive health & rights education and woman2woman counselling, acquire vocational skills including ICT and be financial inclusive in Cross River State Nigeria; this is because, despite the growing number of co-working space market in Cross River County, none of them cater to the need of young women’s bodily and economic rights. The fund will be used to set up Girls Empowerment Hub”, Odukpani LGA, Cross River, a resource center and safe space for underserved young women and girls in the 13 wards/communities of Odukpani LGA who are at risks of child marriage and those who have already dropped out of school due to child and early forced marriage, rape, teenage pregnancy and domestic violence to resuscitate and help them enroll back in schools or acquire vocational skills. The fund will cover the cost of setting up the center and vocational equipment including computers to provide ICT training/vocational skills, Adult literacy skills, entrepreneurship training/supports, mentoring and woman2woman counseling for young women and adolescent girls in the 13 wards/communities of Odukpani LGA Cross River. The fund will also cover the cost of the training staff, raising awareness on women’s economic rights and campaign against Money for woman child marriage practice in Cross River. This project will provide direct benefits for 12,000 vulnerable and underserved teenage girls every year in the hard-to reach communities of Odukpani LGA who are at risks of child and early forced marriage and for 5,000 young women every year who are child marriage/domestic violence survivors to resuscitate and help them meet their education and socio-economic needs. The project will provide a safe co-working space, resources and training including free ICT training, early incubation of female tech and media entrepreneur and vocational skills for 1,200 economically excluded young women including those who are victims of child marriage, teenage mothers and HIV every year to empower them economically. This will help to advance gender equality in women in tech and ICT entrepreneurship by empowering vulnerable and economically disadvantaged young women in Tech and media skills that will help them become financial and economic inclusive.