Our adolescent girls aged 16-19 fall under a category we have labelled Pretty Lil Things (PLT). PLT was set up to provide mentorship and guidance to adolescent girls in an effort to ensure that girls get to create positive lives and make healthy lifestyle choices during their adolescence years.
PLT engages young girls in lively and informative conversations about relationships, peer pressure, menstruation and how to handle the physical and emotional changes that come along with adolescence. Teenage girls are often exposed to risky elements like sexual activities, drug use, teen relationship violence, date rape, cross-generational sexual relationships and AWA through the PLT programme answers questions adolescent girls may not feel free to discuss with their parents about sexuality and all other complexities that come with teenage hormones.
In Zimbabwe many young girls, especially those from poor households are often lured into early sexual activities, mostly by older men who give the girls false promises of lavish lifestyles. This leads to teenage pregnancy, exposure to HIV and STIs and complications from childbirth. Child marriage and early pregnancies disrupt girls’ education, limit their developmental opportunities. Because of their young ages, girls who fall pregnant early and those who get married early, often face difficulties related to their health and abuse from their partners. The need to keep adolescent girls safe and empowered to respond to challenges they face, is therefore a critical part of AWA’s work.
Through PLT, AWA provides safe spaces and platforms for adolescent girls to access information on how to prevent pregnancies, early marriages and be empowered to prevent and respond to sexual gender-based violence (GBV). By supporting each other, learning from each other, telling stories, and laughing, the young girls who meet under the guidance of AWA trained mentors find solutions to the difficult phases which they pass through in their adolescent years. By being frank and open about taboo topics, AWA hopes to motivate adolescents to make better and healthier choices.
AWA offers support in breaking negative stereotyping, social exclusion, and condemnation that girls face when seeking sexual reproductive health services.