WJI implements a holistic approach to ending child marriage and violence against women and girls, engaging both girls and their families to shift attitudes and behaviors. Part of WJI’s expansion in 2021 includes further training for family members and the Pilot Program for Boys. Here, WJI interviewed Joselyn, a 20 year-old young woman from the community of Chipiacul, who has participated in WJI’s Adolescent Girls program, and her mother, Irma.
“If I hadn’t been in WJI’s Adolescent Girls program, I might be married right now. Many girls in my community are married by 20 years old,” - Joselyn, an Adolescent Girls Program Participant
Joselyn, as well as her sister, brother, father, and mother, all participated in WJI’s programs at various points since 2016, and the impact is apparent. Members of the family participated in the Adolescent Girls’ Program, the Pilot Program for Boys, and workshops directed towards preventing child marriage for mothers and fathers. Her mother Irma explained how their family embraced gender equality:
“I felt a change after my participation in WJI’s workshops for mothers. The program gave me a lot of happiness -- knowing that we all have the same rights. I was able to listen to my kids a bit more, give them more attention, both to the older ones and younger ones. My husband and I understand each other better, too.”
Joselyn added her perspective as one of nine children in the family. She said that since the family began attending the workshops, the division of labor in the house has become more fair and collaborative.
“Now the boys help with the housework, too. For example, if we (the girls) are washing clothes, the boys will be cleaning the kitchen. If we’re sweeping or mopping, they will be cleaning in another area of the house. Now they take us into account and listen to us.”
Both mother and daughter recognized the importance of gender equality inside and outside of the home. Joselyn states, “Men and women have to treat each other well. Both have equal rights.” Her mother agreed, then added, “ I feel good knowing that my kids know their rights and can defend themselves.”