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Teenage Girls Engagement Strategy

“I know my life. Nobody knows my life like me… we teenage girls, we know our lives. If you want to know about us, listen to us… you cannot tell me about me.” – Mama Sampy, a 17-year-old girl’s rights advocate and member of the Children’s
Parliament of Mali.

Listening to teenage girls is at the heart of the creation of this teenage girls’ engagement strategy for women’s rights organizations. FEMNET chooses to intentionally work with teenage girls because, “we don’t want to wait until they are women and get inducted into a patriarchal structure that they will work for and perpetuate.” 1 FEMNET has created this strategy for that reason and also because teenage girls have experiences, challenges and modes of negotiation particular to them. Additionally, teenage girls have the potential to influence, inspire and transform the women’s rights movement in Africa.

This strategy is based on the belief that working with teenage girls is not necessarily about bringing them into an already structured women’s movement, but more about seeing the potentials for learning on the part of the women’s rights movement and for shifting the movement to align to the needs and visions of teenage girls. This strategy is an attempt at understanding the needs, aspirations and priorities of teenage girls in Africa and creating engagement modes for learning, supporting and working with teenage girls in rights movements.

It is an attempt to be in their language, to speak to their experiences, their needs, desires, resources, and ways/modes of
communication. This strategy was created by FEMNET, in order to guide its engagement with teenage girls, but we hope that it can also be of use to women’s rights organizations who work or desire to work with teenage girls.

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