Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Drawing Independence

During one of the last sessions which I attended during my month in Mumbai, Standard Chartered Bank volunteers set a drawing competition for the girls. It was just before Indian Independence Day, and the girls were asked to show what Independence meant for them. As a history student, to me Indian Independence conjures images of Gandhi and Nehru, Lord Mountbatten and Partition, democracy and modernisation. However many of the girls drew pictures of themselves, going to school, working as a doctor or sitting under a tree, one even playing netball. For these girls independence is a personal issue, one which maintains relevance in their everyday life.

What we often forget is that for a vast majority of the female world population, education, freedom and independence are not inalienable rights, but a privilege. In India, even girls from affluent backgrounds are often subject to a lifetime of supervision, initially from their parents, and later from their husband, a man who their parents have chosen for them. There are many arguments in favour of arranged marriages, but what’s important here is that the girls should choose their own future, even if that be to let their parents make the decision. For the girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who participate in the Goal programme, economic demands often leave them neglected in favour of their brothers when it comes to schooling, household duties and even food. They are not provided with the tools, nor the opportunities, to challenge their situation.

Independence is for them a matter of being able to attend school, of being given the chance to learn and play. My time in India not only opened my eyes to the challenges which Goal has to contend with in order to offer the girls the knowledge, the confidence and the horizons of independence, but also to the importance of promoting female empowerment in a context where it is so necessary, so appreciated and so keenly absorbed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Live from Chicago!

Just a quick note to tell you that Goal is at the Beyond Sport Summit in Chicago this week. Alisha is presenting a workshop, on a panel and waiting on pins and needles to see if we'll win Corporation of the Year!

If you're around, come and seek her out, or connect on Beyond Sport World.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Future Goal Champ!


Mahima, 1 and a half years old, came to the Goal Delhi site at Aali Gaon recently to try and get an early Goal debut. How hard is it to say no to that smile?

Friday, September 24, 2010

International Literacy Day at Goal

To celebrate International Literacy Day on 8th September, Standard Chartered Volunteers, who have been teaching English to the Goal girls of Aali Gaon, wanted to celebrate the girls efforts and give them a little incentive to keep continuing their education. 10 volunteers from different SCB branches around Delhi headed down to the Aali Gaon site to play and learn with (and from!) the girls of Aali.

After playing some games and practicing some drills, the SCB volunteers lined up alongside the Goal girls to talk about how important education has been in their lives. The bank staff shared some inspiring stories with the girls to persuade them to never give up their studies.

The day ended with the staff handing out notebooks and pencils to all the girls who had shown commitment to learning and improving their English skills.

On a side note, the most exciting part of the day for me was watching the girls introduce themselves in English. A couple of weeks ago, most of the girls did not know how to say "My name is..." and now they were proudly looking the staff in the eye and proclaiming "My name is ..., I am from Aali and I am a Goal champion!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You start the girl effect

I've just been watching the webcast from the CGI meeting on Empowering Girls and Women. The video I've posted below is really great- I was totally hooked. It's from girl effect and was shown at the Empowering Girls and Women meeting.

Girl effect believes that if young girls are given a chance, they can end poverty themselves and for the world. This is by becoming educated, staying healthy and HIV negative, marrying when they want to, and raising a healthy family.

A girl reaches a cross-road at 12 years old...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CGI Starts Today!

There's nothing quite like CGI to bring out the best in our fellow corporations.

CGI 2010 starts today in New York. These annual meetings bring together heads of state, CEOs, philanthropists and NGO leaders to discuss the biggest issues facing global development today. And it's not just talk - attendees use CGI as a platform to make commitments that tackle these issues head on. CGI members have made nearly 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, which have already improved more than 220 million lives in 170 countries. And this year's meeting promises to be one of the most buzz-worthy yet.

This year, you don't have to be a head of state or global CEO to go to CGI - the sessions are being webcast live on the CGI website.

Opening plenary starts in just under an hour at 10am Eastern time. Don't miss the girls and women session later today at 1:30pm EST!

Friday, September 17, 2010

SCB Staff Visit Jaitpur!

On Wednesday, the 15th of September, the Goal Delhi site in Jaitpur was visited by several SCB staff from all over Asia. Mark Devadason, the Group Head of Regions for Corporate Affairs from Hong Kong, Sreeram Iyer, the Regional and Chief Operating Officer of South Asia, accompanied by Sumeet, Pratima Harite, and Karuna Bhatia all from SCB Mumbai came to the Jaitpur site to witness a match between the Jaitpur girls and Aali Gaon girls and see first hand the changes Goal is making in the lives of the girls.

After arriving, Mr. Devadason spoke to each and every one of the Goal participants and Goal champions separately asking how long they had been involved in the program and how they have changed because of it. The visitors were happily surprised to see girls of all ages, some even married, coming from long distances away just to learn and play with each other. Pratima and Karuna, who have been helping out with the Goal program for a long time and know many of the girls, shared their stories of how they’ve seen many of the girls grow through the program.

After some drills, the girls split up into their teams and began their match. The girls who weren’t playing that day held a session on the side with Pratima on how much they had learned through the different modules and how they’ve tried to implement their teachings into their own lives and with their own families.
The Jaitpur girls played their hearts out and the Aali girls were running everywhere trying to keep up with their pure enthusiasm. When it started pouring rain, the girls were all pleading “Please just 5 more minutes!!” The match continued and finally the Jaitpur girls won 11-2 against Aali for the first time! All the girls from Jaitpur erupted with joy and even the Aali girls were clapping in appreciation of a great game played.
The girls finally head inside to share some individual stories with the SCB staff. They shared how much they have learned about themselves and about how important it is to play like a team if you want to succeed at netball. Mr. Devadason shared with the girls that his wife who is 48-years-old still regularly plays netball and inspired the girls to never stop playing and keep working hard at their game. He also mentioned how grateful he was to all his fellow SCB staff who volunteer and help with the Goal program on top of their everyday duties. Mr. Iyer taught the girls that in any sport and in life it is very important to play like a team and that the girls should learn that above all else while playing together.
The girls shared the snacks provided by the staff and thanked them for their lessons and time. Even the pouring rain had a hard time dampening the mood that day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Confused about the MDGs?

The MDGs or Millennium Development Goals are all over the news these days. We have only five years to go to reach these targets - aimed at things like combating poverty, ending hunger, combating HIV and AIDS, and, of course, empowering women - and we've got a long way to go. This month, world leaders will meet in New York at the UN to discuss our progress and how we're going to achieve these targets. As part of the this, the UN has been running the ad below in Times Square - check it out:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Global Girl News: 14 September

In today's news, we bring you a round up from the most interesting stories from our Goal markets!

  • In Nigeria, YWCA  held their Triennial Youth Retreat in Akure, Ondo state with the theme ‘Empowering Young Women to A Change in the Society’.
  • In Jordan, we're going to be talking soon about our brand new Goal partner. Here's a hint...
  • Ok, so we're not live in Bangladesh yet, but we may be soon. Here's a great success story on achievement of MDG 3, Empowering Women and Gender Equality, from today's Guardian.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Girl Up!

With all the exciting things happening in New York - UN meetings, CGI, and the like - we're so glad to see that Women and Girls are getting the attention they deserve on the international development scene.

Want to know how to get involved in the revolution? If you're in the US, how about giving a "high five" to Girl Up, a new initiative by the UN Foundation. Check out their Girlafesto below:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Consumer Banking leaders get dirty with Goal!

**Here's a report from our India team as part of a massive volunteer day they organised this for 100 Consumer Banking staff**

Steve Bertamini, Group Executive Director and CEO Consumer Banking, along with his top leadership team, concluded their volunteering activity in India a while back by literally putting smiles on the faces of hundreds of people, who we work with in our communities in India.

Over 100 people started their working day on a different note. Eye testing instruments and shovels replaced the blackberries, pens and markers, cake recipes replaced the business plans and strategizing, for a change, happened on a cricket ground.

One of four groups headed out to Goal partner Asha Sadan to run a garden landscape competition. Three teams comprising of Goal girls and Bank colleagues, were busy preparing three separate stretches of landscape, putting their creativity to use. Armed with the gardening tools, plants, rocks, and rain coats , they were just not ready to let anyone spoil the chance of showcasing their creativity. The outcome was brilliant. They then went on to play a netball match with the girls and left full of mud all over and with bright smiles on their faces. A plaque was put on the site by Steve.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

G(irls)20 Summit

On June 15th, 21 girls from 21 different countries arrived in Toronto, Canada for the first ever G(irls)20 Summit.

For the next 10 days discussed, debated and design ideas to help empower girls and women globally.

Did you know...

Girls and women make up 50% of the world’s population?

Girls and women and considered key to building economically and politically strong communities and countries?
What next?
At the end of the summit, the key issues that will be focused on are:
  • Curriculum improvement
  • Sexual health education
  • Mentorship & Leadership
Have a look at their twitter site to read lots more on the G(irls)20 Summit, or check out a few of the videos from the summit.