Mali Girls Leadership and Empowerment through Education (GLEE)

Empowering girls to excel at school and beyond is key to community social and economic development. Girls are often unable to attend school regularly due to a lack of easily available menstruation products and/or private bathrooms, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to their education. Additionally, a lack of age-appropriate comprehensive life skills education leaves girls vulnerable to unintended pregnancy and gender-based violence.

The Mali Girls Leadership and Empowerment through Education (GLEE) Activity aims to empower girls to become their own health advocates, bring more nurses to schools on a consistent basis, and improve school sanitation facilities by making them functional and responsive to gender and adolescent barriers. This initiave will work to increase adolescent girls' knowledge of and access to health services so they can adopt positive health behaviors. Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives, the project will reduce health barriers to education.

Project initiatives

  • Orient thought leaders on the importance of adolescents receiving a comprehensive life skills curriculum.
  • Expand the reach of youth ambassador messages into primary schools through the support of peer educators.
  • Facilitate formal cooperation between community health centers and schools.
  • Improve health facilities’ responsiveness to gender and adolescent barriers to health service quality, access and use.
  • Negotiate free and/or reduced price services at USAID-supported youth friendly facilities for youth referred by the peer educators.
  • Empower girls to advocate for full implementation of the MEN policy (including separate latrines for girls and boys, freedom for girls to visit latrines as needed, and availability of hygiene supplies on site). 
  • Explore with the local private sector ways to sustainably and locally manufacture low-cost menstrual hygiene items.
  • Train and coach community actors in the use of intergenerational approaches to positive change. 
  • Link with other WASH-implementing partners who are working toward ending open defecation activities and providing maintenance, rehabilitation, and construction of water points and latrines. 
  • Assess project schools’ current state regarding WASH facilities’ appropriateness and functionality. 
  • Subcontract with local businesses to build, restore, or renovate urgently needed WASH facilities.