Across Africa there is concern with the loss of positive cultural values among the younger generations. In Senegal, the need for schools to teach positive African and Senegalese values is frequently heard. Families and communities throughout Senegal are also profoundly concerned about the loss of cultural identity and values in their children. Integrating positive cultural values into classrooms increases school attendance by making schools more culturally relevant to children and families and thereby increases community support for children’s education.
Since 2005, in collaboration with the Velingara District Education Office (DOE), Grandmother Project has been addressing this issue through its program entitled “Integrating positive cultural values into schools” (IPCVS). The DOE-GMP work in Velingara has been recognized by the Ministry of Education as innovative, culturally-relevant and effective in teaching children their cultural values within the formal school setting.
Girls’ Holistic Development
GMP’s program with schools and communities titled Girls’ Holistic Development (GHD) promotes all aspects of girls’ health, education and development. Increasing girls’ success at school while promoting change in harmful traditions such as child marriage, teen pregnancy, and female genital mutilation, GMP’s grandmother-inclusive and intergenerational approach can bring about lasting positive change. Evaluations of GMP’s GHD program have clearly shown that a grandmother-inclusive strategy contributes to building community-wide consensus for adoption of more girl-friendly norms and practices.
Capacity Building of Other NGOs
A key component of GMP’s strategy is partnership building and training of other NGOs. GMP trains other NGOs to adapt and use its innovative approach to empower communities and to promote positive change related to women and children’s health, education and child protection. In 2016 GMP trained 122 staff of international and local NGOs from 10 different countries in West Africa on the Change through Culture approach.