We at Ghana Women's Voices are inspired by the girls at risk we work with at the correctional facility for juvenile girls. Aged from 12- 18 years, the girls are institutionalised by the State to engage in skills acquisition as a means of character reformation.

 

In our literacy and mentoring project we partner with global fund for children, we interact with the adolescent girls in a relaxed non judgemental environment . The mentoring sessions usually held weekly afford us ( including the girls) an opportunity to converse and sometimes debate on issues.

An example in point is their group behavior towards a new inmate. Being new, the girls at the facility expected the the new girl to conform to their group norms; running errands for the older girls; etc. the new girl refused to obey. The discussion we had focused on why must the new girl follow your rules? They answered : "so that she can be part of us" so must she be forced? Can we ask in a less confrontational manner? Does she owe it to us to obey us just because she is new?can we look at this in a manner that as a new girl who may have gone through some degree of emotional trauma and getting used to the environment, obeying some unwritten rules is not a priority on her list?

 

These questions gave all of us an opportunity to rethink our positions regarding welcoming a new girl.

 

Nana Yaa Appiah

Founder and Programs Manager

Ghana Women's Voices Foundation