Support Her Empowerment – Girls’ Resilience, Enterprise, and Technology Initiative (SHE’s GREAT!)

Support Her Empowerment – Girls’ Resilience, Enterprise, and Technology Initiative (SHE’s GREAT!)

SHE’s GREAT! provides science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics (STEAM) skills and opportunities for young women and girls. Utilizing innovative and evidence-based practices, this initiative aims to equip young women to enter nontraditional fields, so that they can defy stereotypes, thrive, and serve as role models for other girls in the future. The overall program goal looks to ensure that young women and girls are economically and socially empowered and have access to skills training, information, and technology, thereby promoting global development, security, and prosperity.

Group our children work on building robot

SHE’s GREAT! provides science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics (STEAM) skills and opportunities for young women and girls. Utilizing innovative and evidence-based practices, this initiative aims to equip young women to enter nontraditional fields, so that they can defy stereotypes, thrive, and serve as role models for other girls in the future. The overall program goal looks to ensure that young women and girls are economically and socially empowered and have access to skills training, information, and technology, thereby promoting global development, security, and prosperity.

Goals

  • Build resilience, entrepreneurship, and technology skills so young women and girls become protagonists of positive change, while addressing the root causes of vulnerability and lack of access to opportunity.
  • Engender and sustain transformative academic and professional aspirations and achievement for young women in STEAM careers through in-school and out-of-school interventions, such as national science fairs, capacity trainings, community dialogues, and storytelling, and innovations such as “father-daughter” conferences.
  • Support enabling environments, made up of a diverse support network of peers, male champions, community members, and role models, that actively address GBV, including harmful traditional practices and barriers to girls. By increasing knowledge, STEAM capacities, and support from enabling environments, SHE’s GREAT! addresses gender inequalities, encourages girls to pursue STEAM opportunities, creates innovative community solutions, and contributes to more positive perceptions of girls’ contributions and roles.
Passing on what I learned to my friends was not difficult because those who trained me at the camp did it well. Lisa, a 14-year-old participant at the 4-day Pilot Camp in Cotonou, Benin

Quick Facts

  • The SHE’s GREAT! program will engage 280 girls in STEAM and girls’ empowerment activities during its two years of implementation. 120 boys will also participate in program activities as “male champions” to support positive male perceptions of women in STEAM fields.
  • Participants’ pre- and post-self-reflection questionnaires showed, after only 4 days of participating in the STEAM Pilot Camp in Benin and engaging with professional women in STEAM role models, that girls’ future career goals had already changed from traditional to aspiring, many mentioning they would like to go into technical, medical, and science-based fields.
  • SHE’s GREAT! is a Global Initiative that will adapt the lessons learned in Benin to serve girls in Kyrgyz Republic, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.

Project Activities

  • 4-day Pilot Camp Launch in Benin: 24 students from 6 schools in 4 regions of Benin participated in the SHE’s GREAT! launch and Pilot STEAM Camp. The camp proved to be a massive success, kickstarting the program and lighting participant interest, as well as providing program data and offering best practice insight that will be used in future STEAM Camp planning, curriculum development, monitoring, and impact reporting.
  • Steering Committee Selected:  The SHE’s GREAT! Benin Steering Committee is made up of Ministers and officials of the Government of Benin, international governance and non-profit representatives, local NGO directors, and private industry leaders. These influential women and men serve as mentors and role models for students, support program activity design, and create meaningful connections between participants, IREX, and partner organizations. The ultimate impact of Steering Committees is their ability to remain active and influential in communities and STEAM activities long after the end of the program, supporting project objectives of localization. SHE’s GREAT! will establish national Steering Committees in all countries of implementation in order to support greater impact, lasting change, and program sustainability.
  • Summer STEAM Camp: A 10-day STEAM camp was held in Parakou, Benin that built on findings of the Pilot Camp, connecting fields of agri-science and technology to community needs and girls’ future opportunities. SHE’s GREAT! Benin’s implementing partner, the Benin YALI Alumni Association (BYAA), will continue to support IREX in project implementation and monitoring. SHE’s GREAT! will engage local partners and support local ownership, sustainability, and organizational performance building in upcoming countries of implementation.

Partners

US flag and seal of the US Department of State

People

Contact

Micah Johnston, Senior Project Officer, mjohnston@irex.org

Benton Wisehart, Benin Country Director, bwisehart@irex.org