The site where sessions are delivered – whether it’s indoors or outdoors, in a school or a community centre or religious institution – should be a place where the girls feel that they can be themselves and not be threatened or harassed.12
The Goal site should be within walking distance from the homes or schools of the programme participants such that the safe mobility to and from the programme site is ensured, either by girls travelling in groups or walking with Goal Champions or staff.
Creating a Safe Space
‘Safe Spaces’ are generally understood to be locations where girls have access to a supportive environment, and where they feel secure physically, psychologically, and emotionally.
To find a safe space for girl-focused programmes:
- Leverage existing community facilities for a low-cost solution that carves out a fair share of community spaces for girls – youth/community centres, schools, religious institutions, offices in off hours, even under a tree are possible options.
- Engage girls to help find space – their local knowledge is invaluable. Ask them what they want from their space.
- Reinforce the space’s importance by using public signage to communicate its girl-only hours and programme components
- Ensure it’s actually safe, with trustworthy guardians, gates and locks as appropriate.
- Consider the mobility of girls when scoping the space – make sure it’s reliable and conveniently located (walking distance), ensuring girls can travel to the sites without risk or fear of endangerment. Also consider other issues relevant to the local community – such as restrictions on time of day when girls can go out, or their exposure to harassment or verbal abuse when travelling.
By addressing the issues surrounding both girls’ freedom of movement as well as the safety of the site itself, partners can ensure that the girls can attend frequently and flourish as part of the programme.
12 Adapted from Creating Safe Spaces and Building Social Assets for Young Women in the Developing World by Martha Brady, Population Council, published in Womenâ€™s Studies Quarterly, 2005, and The Girl Effect: Your Move