In The Advice Project’s Uppity Witches class for teens of all genders, we spent the first few weeks learning about witches, witch hunts, and the treatment of women in Prehistory, Early Modern European History, and contemporary Cameroonian society. We discussed the idea of “the third degree,” patriarchy, and the construction of gender, and we watched clips from a few Disney films featuring both old, ugly witches and young, naive girls. Students wondered why witches are often portrayed as old women, while young, beautiful protagonists traditionally need to be saved by strong, brave men.
Our Uppity Witches students are currently rewriting folk tales, scenes from films, or other stories to give them a feminist twist. Naomi is working on a hilarious version of Beauty and the Beast that adds Belle’s mother into the story. Why is it, Naomi wonders, that mothers often missing from folk stories such as Beauty and the Beast and Snow White? Continue reading →
All of our students in Cameroon are learning how to write opinion editorials articles (op-eds) about gender and conservation issues. Mentors can expect receiving a weekly or bi-weekly email containing a short piece of writing by the girls they’re mentoring. Mentors will edit the articles and provide feedback. The commitment will be about a half hour per week and will continue through the 2015-2016 school year. Mentors and teens can send each other notes or photos to enrich and strengthen their relationship.
Mentorships make a HUGE difference in the lives of both our students and our mentors. Learn a little about the girls in our two Cameroon programs by reading bios they wrote during their first class sessions. Here are the bios for the teens in our Ekona class, and here are the bios for the girls in Bamenda.
Interested? Drop us a quick note with your name and a sentence or two about why you’re interested in mentoring teen girls in Cameroon and we’ll get you signed up!
Only in recent years have the intersections between conservation and gender been studied. Today we had a workshop exploring how women play a role in managing natural resources, and we hiked to Cocococha Lake to see firsthand how conservation efforts in the region have been successful. We discussed the different conservation responsibilities of men and women due to their rights and cultural/social responsibilities, and methods for including women in these efforts (with a focus on gender-integrated projects). We also talked about how gender roles are often overlooked and why conservation efforts that exclude women are unsustainable in the long term. Continue reading →
Video shot by Courtney Webster in Tambopata, Peru, during the 2015 Advice Project Leadership and Empowerment Summit. Editing by Melissa Banigan.
The Advice Project’s Cameroon Program Director, Fomuso Blessing Nabila, is heading into her second year leading an Advice Project media and writing class for teen girls living in Bamenda, Cameroon. Every Sunday, the eleven young women in Blessing’s class will discuss gender and environmental issues and strategize solutions to some of the problems occurring within their own community. We’re excited to give you updates once the class begins!
Learn a little about Blessing in the video above, and what she envisions for girls and women in the future! Also, read more about Blessing, here, to learn about all the ways she fights to eradicate gender-based violence in Cameroon.
The Advice Project’s media and writing class in Cameroon in Bamenda is led in partnership with Gender Danger, an organization that combats gender-based violence. We have an urgent need for your tax exempt donations to support our all of educational endeavors in Cameroon. Every dollar goes towards curriculum development and on-the-ground classes and training. Can you donate $10.00 – $100.00 per month? Thank you!
Yesterday the Advice Project’s second international partner in Cameroon, the Hope Alive Foundation, led its first class among a year-long series of weekly after school Advice Project classes with 50 teen girls from the Government High School and Bethlehem Royal High School in Ekona.
The girls learned how to write bylines and talked about the importance of amplifying their voices – this is evidenced by the words “byline” and “amplified” on the blackboard in a couple of the photos below! The teens worked in small groups and read their bylines in front of the class. We look forward to sharing their work in the months to come!
We’re proud of each of the teens in this program for their dedication to writing and learning about women’s issues. They truly are the voices of the future. Continue reading →
The Advice Project is once again on the move… This time, we’re returning to Guadeloupe (a French territory located in the Caribbean) for nearly a month from December 16, 2015 – January 11, 2016. Unlike our leadership and empowerment summits for teen girls, this trip will be a little more informal and is for teens of ALL genders (we’re also opening it up to interested families).
During this trip we’ll climb a volcano, spend plenty of lazy afternoons playing, swimming, and lounging at gorgeous beaches, go snorkeling at the world-famous Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, and visit waterfalls, rainforests, and other attractions. We’ll learn a lot about how slavery affected this Caribbean island, as well as many conservation and gender issues affecting the region. We’ll spend about an hour each morning writing and will immerse ourselves in the French language with new friends and locals (previous study of French language not necessary!).
Below are some photos from our past trip to Guadeloupe, as well as details about cost. Also, there’s a GREAT detail right now for flights through Norwegian Airlines (jump on it NOW before these flights are taken!). Info about this is also below. Continue reading →
The Advice Project is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Hope Alive Foundation (HAF), an organization in the South West region of Cameroon that offers free health care and social services for people living with disabilities, orphans, widows, and at-risk youth (particularly girls below 18 years of age). Continue reading →
Melissa and some of the amazing teens from the Bamenda Advice Project class
This past August, Advice Project Founder/Managing Editor, Melissa Banigan traveled to Bamenda, Cameroon to:
Give a keynote talk at the Millennial Empowerment Conference (MEC) about how to amplify change through storytelling
Lead a workshop for teen participants of the Advice Project class in Bamenda
Meet with some of the women who founded Gender Danger (the Advice Project’s partner organization in Cameroon)
Learn more about gender and conservation issues in Cameroon.
Below is just a short summary of Melissa’s trip – she’ll be sure to share more in the weeks to come, including news about a brand new partnership and class in the southern region of the country. Continue reading →
This morning we had a workshop to discuss whether feminism concerns only girls and women (the short answer was a resounding “no”), and we also talked about the differences between feminism and humanism. We learned that while humanism began as a branch of philosophy in the 13th century, feminism is at its core a political movement that calls directly for social change. The issues are complicated, and they raised many more questions than we could answer in a two-hour workshop, but we’ll continue to tackle them in the next many days. Continue reading →
Today was another exciting, jam-packed day! We starting off with yoga, art, a volunteer project to help reforest the area, and a workshop about gender and empathy, and finished the day with an evening hike through the forest and a boat ride to see a variety of wild animals and insects. Learn a little more about these activities, below… Continue reading →