Since the beginning of October 2022, Soroptimist International and World Vision Georgia (WVG) have been in collaboration with one another as part of the SI President’s Appeal 2021 – 2023, ‘Opening Doors to a Bright Future’. This project, which will run until 31 May 2023, will see improvements to the employability of women and girls through a series of interventions, with four key focus areas being addressed, namely:
- The development of Information Technology (IT) skills and active citizenship skills through regular SKYE Tech Clubs.
- The delivery of WVG’s Ultra Poor Graduation Programme, which will provide support for households regarding self-care, childcare, budgeting, and financial literacy, as well as in-kind support for sustainable income generating activities.
- The delivery of an advance English language course.
- TV and Radio broadcasting, on the theme of a ‘Global Voice for Women and Girls’, to raise public awareness around the issues faced by women and girls.
World Vision Georgia – Project Update
As of December 2022, Soroptimist International’s partnership with World Vision Georgia is now well underway, with participant recruitment already completed for two key focus areas thus far. Additionally, baseline assessments have been completed for the recruited participants, which will allow for an accurate measurement of their individual aptitude for learning, as well as recording the impact of this project further down the line.
SKYE Tech Clubs
The first key focus area to be addressed, improving the digital competencies of 40 vulnerable girls and young women through participation in SKYE Tech Clubs, will run sessions on topics such as active citizenship, social entrepreneurship, as well as more technical skills such as copywriting, graphic design, and developing and managing a webpage. The delivery of these sessions will ultimately serve the project’s main aim of ‘Empowering girls and women through improved life skills and employability’.
In order to ensure the publicity required to recruit participants, announcements were made through a range of World Vision Georgia’s partner entities, including: the Agency for State Care and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking, youth departments, Non-Governmental Organisations, Educational Resource Centres, and Schools.
Following this, candidates were selected according to several main selection criteria, notably: their level of vulnerability, including a social status score of 120,000 or less; their motivation to be involved in the project, such as their interest in IT or professional drive; their availability; and existing basic IT skills. As part of the online application form, applicants were required to demonstrate their interest and motivation, whilst interviews were also completed with selected participants.
As a result, the SKYE Tech Club recruitment process has been completed! Based on the competitive selection criteria, 45 participants were selected, including 22 in Kutaisi and 23 in Zestaphoni; owing to the popularity of this part of the project and a number of exceptionally keen applicants wanting to be involved, an additional five more young people were enrolled above the initial target of 40 participants. Two Tech Clubs were formed to host the sessions, one each in Kutaisi and Zestaphoni municipalities.
At the implementation of the project in October, the team held introductory sessions for the girls and young women, as well as the parents of those aged under 18, providing them with comprehensive information on the project, as well as confirming parent’s permission for children’s participation in the youth club activities occurring throughout the project.
As for the baseline assessment, the team has worked in close collaboration with trainers to create a pre-post test, including a questionnaire, to determine the initial knowledge of participants, and later be able to measure progress.
Advanced English Language Course
The other key focus area to be addressed thus far is the engagement of five young women in an advanced English language course. Importantly, this part of the initiative will empower women and girls with English language skills, ultimately increasing the employment opportunities available to them at the local labour market. For this course, participants were selected from the attendees of an earlier Soroptimist Club project that took place in Georgia, ‘Step by Step, better future for the women an girls in Georgia’, where they were taught basic English and had demonstrated an interest in advancing their language skills further.
As with the SKYE Tech Club, a baseline assessment was completed with the aim of evaluating the English language skills of the five women participants, as well as to determine the next level of the English language programme. The final results revealed that the applicants possess knowledge of active grammatical categories, as well as sufficient vocabulary that enables them to understand the meaning of English sentences, dialogues, and text on an elementary level.
Importantly, this result, as well as the news of a successful recruitment for the SKYE Tech Clubs, marks a promising start to the involvement of the SI President’s Appeal 2021 – 2023, ‘Opening Doors to a Bright future’ in Georgia; by building on the success of a previous SI Club language course and establishing a precedent for this project’s other key focus areas to be realised, this project will serve to improve the life skills and employability of women and girls living in Georgia.