Friday, December 11, 2009

GEM - The Girls Education Movement

Pic above: Catherine and Diane meet with a local teacher and Headmaster to plan a GEM activity.
Pic in the middle: gathered at Yei Girls Boarding Secondary School for a celebration
Pic below: Diane presenting a GEM Club certificate and pin to a young member.

"Parents, stop this." Advice given by a 14 year old boy, Barak, to parents assembled for an end of school year celebration. He was referring to early marriage of their daughters and sons. (Early marriage in Southern Sudan starts at age 11 in many cases.) Barak is a courageous and wise young man.

Barak is also a member of the GEM Club – the “Girls Education Movement” in schools throughout Southern Sudan. Here in Yei, NESEI has helped UNICEF and the Ministry of Education implement GEM Club activities. We hosted a TOT conference – “Training of Trainers” and sponsored a GEM Club celebration during November. In both instances, boys and girls from six local schools came together in support of education for girls and to identify ways they can encourage their families and communities to join in the movement.

My NESEI colleagues, Diane and Catherine are two bright and shining role models for GEM Club members. Diane is our Sudan Deputy Director and Catherine is our college intern. Both are from East Africa. Both young women are educated and strong. To ensure the success of the GEM Clubs in Yei town, they have hauled kids on dirt roads by motorbike, truck, and bus between schools and villages. They have organized meals, dances, and special events to engage our young people in learning more about gender equity and equality. They coordinate with Education Ministry offices, county officials, and teachers to rally enthusiasm for the GEM Club. They exemplify constant “movement!”

Diane. Catherine. Barak. All GEM Club enthusiasts. All a part of the NESEI family. Doing what? Building peace through education. One student, one school, one GEM Club member at a time. This is everyone’s responsibility. Join us. Show your support this holiday season by donating a gift in honor, or in memory, of a woman in your life who has advised you, taught you, or supported your own education.

Here’s how:

Go to
Our trusted fundraising partner, Global Giving, makes it easy to send a beautiful holiday card via mail or email to your gift recipient.


Mail a check to NESEI, 123 Ethan Allen Ave. Ste. 300, Colchester, VT 05446. Include a note telling us the recipient's name and mailing address.

Happy Holidays,

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