Leadership camp empowers young women

THE Small Projects Foundation (SPF) recently partnered with Bumb’ingomso to help conduct their leadership camp for young women in and around Buffalo City at the Gonubie Hotel.

VALUABLE SKILLS: As part of the Bumb’ingomso leadership camp, a group of young women and their group leader discuss what social capital is and how they can use it to improve their communities Picture: MADELEINE CHAPUT

Initiated by the DG Murray Trust, the Bumb’ingomso five-day residential programme is the first of its kind and aims to establish a leadership network for young women in and out of school by building their sense of identity, agency, purpose and belonging.

“We want to change the landscape of how communities view women by empowering them to the point where they realise that they can effect change in their communities,” said Ath’enkosi Sopitshi, who forms part of the DG Murray Trust’s central team for Bumb’ingomso.

The leadership camp runs four different interventions focusing on behaviour, violence, health and creating economy with SPF coming on board to facilitate the behavioural segment of the programme.

The project’s main goals are to achieve a positive change in risky behaviour, strengthen self-efficacy among young women and to form Bumb’ingomso leadership clubs in schools where the pupils are encouraged and guided to make positive changes.

Over the course of the five days, more than 50 young girls from various high schools, including John Bisseker, Gonubie, Willow Park, Masixole, Hudson Park and Mzomhle, were given invaluable skills and knowledge.

From self-identity, health and sexuality to identifying challenges in their communities, the young women were guided and encouraged by a determined team who aided them through various activities and lessons.

“Our aim is to get these young women to see that they can be part of the solution and create their own opportunities – not only improving their own lives but also that of those around them,” said Spokazi Tyiwani who is part of SPF’s Bumb’ingomso team.

Foundation a lifeline for girls

Training coordinator for the programme Lindokuhle Msele said: “The biggest benefit of the programme is the change we’ve seen in these young women, especially those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It has also helped us to understand the root causes of many problems and difficulties within the different communities which will allow us to implement relevant and beneficial projects in the future.”

One of the programme’s main focuses was self-sustaining and self-developed projects.

The young women were required to identify challenges within their communities and come up with various projects that could provide sustainable solutions. The girls were then asked to take these projects back to their schools and communities.

In an effort to ensure that the young women do not get discouraged, SPF will have various mentors present in the participating schools for the next 30 weeks.

“Sometimes it feels like we’re fighting the ocean, because we teach these young women various skills, encourage and empower them, but society comes crashing down to undo all of that. That’s why it is really important for us to ensure the programme has lasting effects,” said Sopitshi.

Bumb’ingomso hopes to ensure that 11000 young women go through this process by the project’s end date in 2019.


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