Supporting girls to take control of their lives

In south Lebanon, girls are learning about their rights so they can make informed decisions about their lives and bodies.

“We will change the world for the better, but we need to empower a whole generation by making them aware of their rights,” explains Mohammad, a Palestinian refugee and facilitator at the Amel Association, one of Plan International’s partners in south Lebanon.

Plan International is implementing the Empower and Protect Yourself project at the Amel Association to reduce the number of child marriages in the community. 

The Amel Association aims to improve the lives of residents who are affected by repeated humanitarian crises regardless of their religion, political beliefs, socio-economic status or nationality.

Preventing child marriage

One of the focusses of the Empower and Protect Yourself project is to support girls and young women to make informed decisions about their lives and bodies. In particular about when to get married, who to get married to and have children with. The project also ensures the active involvement of men in this process.

We need to empower a whole generation by making them aware of their rights.

Mohammad facilitates awareness raising sessions, psychosocial support and life skills sessions to young people at risk of child marriage. The young people are given a safe non-judgmental space to learn about their rights, raise their voices and express their feelings. 

“I gained more confidence and learnt new things including the importance of accepting each other and never judging people without knowing them. Also, we should be positive instead of shouting,” says 15 year old Aseel.

Social cohesion

An important aspect of the project is to provide psychosocial support to enhance the well-being and social cohesion of adolescent girls. The sessions targeted Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian girls between 14 and 17. 

The girls decided to tackle the subjects of gender equality and anger management. Together, they developed short stories that mirrored their real-life experiences and challenges. Using puppetry, dancing and singing they were able to develop coping mechanisms to deal with their anger. 

“I learnt a lot of things from these activities. Now I know how to manage my anger,” says Sarah, 15.

“We work well together, each one of us suggested a new idea and we have came up with new rights,” says 16 year old Ruba. “I liked the puppet theatre and how this programme is delivering the information we need for us to move forward and follow our dreams.”