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February, 2014 Issue 1
By: Jenny Upton What is GLOW? GLOW, or Girls Leading Our World, is an organization designed to develop the inherent potential in the young women of Macedonia by providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to become active leaders in their communities. This is done through experiential education that celebrates diversity, builds academic and social competencies, and promotes English language literacy, leadership, teamwork, problem solving, and creative expression. GLOW is facilitated by Peace Corps Volunteers along with Camp GLOW alumnae and supporters from Macedonia. GLOW consists of both clubs run throughout Macedonia, and a week-long leadership camp that takes place in Tetovo during the summer.
What is Camp GLOW? Camp GLOW’s origins with Peace Corps began in Romania in 1995. Three Peace Corps Volunteers and four Romanian teachers took 80 young women to a mountain campsite for a weeklong leadership camp. Since that first camp in Romania, Peace Corps has actively supported Camp GLOW in other Peace Corps countries. In each country, Peace Corps Volunteers and host-country nationals adapt Camp GLOW to reflect the realities of the young women in their communities. While the content and styles of Camp GLOW vary, certain principles and themes exist through all the camps. These principles and themes include developing leadership skills, improving self-esteem, increasing knowledge of women’s health issues, respecting and caring for the environment, and promoting the belief that every young woman can make a difference in their community. In 2000, Peace Corps Volunteers in Macedonia determined there was a need for Camp GLOW after informally leading groups of young women in their communities. This project was first realized in the form of a three-day seminar facilitated by Peace Corps Volunteers and Host Country Nationals. Over the years, it has evolved into a week-long summer program coupled with local clubs promoting the values and knowledge gained from attending the camp. The participants come from all over Macedonia, accurately representing the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country. In 2013, GLOW Macedonia had 300 girls apply to attend Camp GLOW. At GLOW, 80 campers each year develop skills in teamwork and leadership that they will carry with them into adulthood. As a result, these young women are becoming prepared to lead Macedonia in a positive direction in the future. We actively recruit young women who have the desire to challenge themselves in working with their peers in traditional and nontraditional academic environments. We strive as staff members to uphold the mission of GLOW, to achieve our goals and objectives, and most importantly, encourage and support our campers’ growth and development.
What is Club GLOW? Often times, those who attend Camp GLOW wish to continue their experience in their communities. Club GLOW is an offshoot of Camp GLOW and allows GLOW campers to bring what they have learned from camp back to their communities in an after-school setting. Club GLOW participants come from all over Macedonia and represent the ethnic diversity of the country. It is a community-based leadership club that also works on English skills. Each club is responsible for deciding the types of activities they will participate in and execute. Topics and activities covered in many clubs include leadership, civic engagement, arts and crafts, self-esteem volunteerism, and learning about cultures, to name a few. With a lack of after-school activities available to students outside of high-school, GLOW is a welcome activity to build the character of young females in Macedonia.
Why YOU should start a Club GLOW! GLOW is a great opportunity for young women to have a voice in their community. It is a positive addition to their out-of-school activities, and promotes values that are beneficial for young women in Macedonia. While many former campers wish to start a club in their communities, they often lack the skills to successfully implement the project. That’s where Peace Corps Volunteers come in! A Peace Corps Volunteer can help lead the club by facilitating meetings, helping find a spot where the girls can meet regularly, find topics for meetings, and providing food. However, the success and sustainability of the club depends on the girls taking ownership of it themselves. Starting a club is fairly easy and can be a very rewarding part of your Peace Corps service. To start a club, you need a group of interested girls, a space that you can use on a regular basis, a time when everyone is free to meet, and topics related to leadership or development of young women. Development can fall under numerous categories, including artistic expression, civic engagement, health, cultural knowledge, and self-awareness, to name a few. For more information on how to start a club in your community, as well as possible ways to advertise a new club and find topics for club meetings, please contact Jenny Upton at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: L.V. 41
Being a single woman in a collectivistic society, like Macedonia, is difficult, but not impossible. You just need to find your own ways to face the fact that people around you will wonder if something is wrong with you, since the identity of many women is wrapped up in marriage and family. The pressure from family and society to marry is huge in Macedonia. I realized that I have the right to choose my own way in life, and I’ve made the decision to take care of myself, to earn my own money, to travel, to learn new things, to work and to improve, to go out with my friends, to love and appreciate myself. It is not that I don’t want to have my own family, I just don’t want to do it just it is supposed to happen, just because everybody thinks that’s “normal”. It was really difficult to make people around me accept all of these things. I needed a lot of patience, persistence, and good will to persuade them that I am happy this way and that it is the only important thing. I was smiling when I was angry because of their questions; I was making jokes when I wanted to scream, I was answering with questions… I really don’t know how and when, but I feel that at least my close friends and family finally accept it. Although, sometimes I can still see a pity in their eyes and “hope” that there is still time for change. And that still makes me angry, upset and confused because I still haven’t found a way to deal with it!
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Many months ago I was having a long discussion about H ia, c r life here in Macedonia with a very Ma p, up R good friend of mine back home in the lly Ke : o US when the topic of gender came up. We t ks an h t started talking and she asked me what harassment ial pec s (specifically cat-calling) looked like here in Macedonia th Wi and I was unable to answer her. I couldn’t remember being around it even once. a
An email went out to many of the female volunteers asking them if they could describe what cat calling looks like and here is what I gathered from their responses.
What does it look like? - Men, often young men, will sometimes approach a (foreign) woman and repeatedly ask “How much, how much?” - Commenting on how a woman looks (i.e. “you’re beautiful” or “you looked so much more beautiful now). - Whistling, making clicking sounds with teeth, or other loud sounds - Sucking in their teeth - Intense staring at or looking a woman up and down. - Very rarely physical touching or verbal harassment.
What have volunteers done? - In cases where the volunteer has felt threatened the volunteer has made calls to other volunteers for support, almost having the volunteer walk the first volunteer home via cell phone. - Walking to the other side of the street. - Ignoring and not engaging them. - Locking doors. - Avoiding the people/areas that this has occurred. - If this comes from a neighbor or friend setting up boundaries between you and that person (i.e. waving to the person instead of coming up to the person to say ‘hello’.) - Waiting for them to go away.
Sidenote: Just as a reminder, this is talking only about a small portion of men here in Macedonia. Most do not do this and there are really a lot of great men here in Macedonia the subject of a future article.
Another goal of YMLP is to transform the camp into a more replicable and sustainable studentrun project with a broader network of local stakeholders. YMLPâ€™s main partner, YMCA Bitola, is expected to take on a greater role with each passing year for eventual control of the camp. Camp alumni are eligible for Junior Counselors and Staff in Training positions. These young men will be an integral part of the implementation of the camp, as well as ultimately establishing a camp run entirely by residents of Macedonia in the near future.
By Scott Johnson
The Young Menâ€™s Leadership Project (YMLP) is a week long, English-based outdoor program focused on the development of high school students in Macedonia. It seeks to develop the core values of social inclusion, commitment to democratic processes, and civic engagement in the emerging leaders of Macedonia in an inter-ethnic environment. Young men of all ethnicities and backgrounds work, learn and grow side-by-side in a fun, healthy natural environment where campers are also exposed to hiking in the woods, sleeping in tents, and cooking over a campfire.
Although young women are not included in our program, gender equality is a part of the camp curriculum. Gender is discussed as it relates to democracy and civil society. The camp also explores gender roles more generally, both within Macedonia and around the world. Women also have integral roles among the staff members as coordinators and facilitators. This allows campers to observe male staff members working with female staff members in positive, healthy and constructive ways. At the 2013 YMLP camp, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) led a session and a conducted a conversation among the young men around gender roles.
Among the goals of YMLP is to instill civically-responsible, democratic, and inclusive values among the future leaders of Macedonia while providing them with the skills and tools to be socially active and engaged. Campers learn the importance of environmental stewardship, democratic processes, social inclusion, inter-ethnic cooperation, and volunteerism. The project will result in real-world application of the values, skills, and tools learned in the camp. Campers are encouraged to consider how they can impact their communities positively. Following their week-long experience campers are partnered with nearby non-governmental organizations to work on civic-minded, community-based projects that they are interested in. YMLP also hopes to produce more creative, confident and compassionate young men empowered to lead healthy and successful lives. The high school-aged students will demonstrate increased sensitivity to minority, gender, and disadvantaged rights in Macedonia. They should have increased understanding of health issues facing young men as well.
In general, it is believed that separating the young men and women allows for a more honest and candid discussion about gender roles in Macedonia. The campers are able to be more honest about their current beliefs, which allow them to be more open to listening to the views of others. Some of the most interesting conversations occur between host country session leaders and the campers. The young men are more sometimes more candid when their conversation is not taking place with a perceived outsider. As YMLP develops and moves forward, the organizers hope to continue to increase the GAD focus. GAD- focused sessions and conversations are often the most interesting and hopefully transformative portions of our program.
Alexander Dunn My name is Alex Dunn. I am 23 years old and I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin. I currently live in Struga, Macedonia, and am a Peace Corps volunteer working as an English teacher in a high school for music students. I also have a number of side projects in addition to the work I do for the music school, some of which include leading a bi-weekly conversation hour where people can come to practice their English, helping to run a club for young women interested in developing their leadership skills, and facilitating a book club for advanced English speakers. My interest in gender, development, and the Gender and Development committee is rooted in my upbringing in Madison. I grew up with parents that were opinionated, passionate, and political. They were also staunchly liberal in their politics and advocated early and often during my early years for equality between women and men, emphasizing a shared social responsibility for finding that equality. This upbringing has shaped the lens through which I view the world around me and has given me an especially acute empathy towards victims of gender inequality and discrimination. A desire to change things, and the knowledge that we all have a part to play in doing so, is what has inspired me to become a part of the Gender and Development committee and pursue gender awareness and equality in my work.
My name is Casey Colonius from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am currently living in Tetovo and working for a local organization that works with people with disabilities. I wanted to be a part of the Gender and Development Committee because I am excited about the opportunity to have a forum for volunteers to discuss and work on gender issues in this country. I think it is important to encourage awareness and respect while promoting equality in society.
Stay tuned for next issueâ€™s bio for our new officers!
Patrick Burke My name is Patrick Burke, I am 25 years old, a graduate from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Architecture, and am currently in the Master International Program with Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program. I have lived in Virginia for the majority of my life and am currently working as a Community Development volunteer in a youth center in the city of Kavadarci. Here I help to organize events, workshops, and parties, teach English, assist other volunteers with their projects, and play with the kids as much as possible. I have been inspired to advocate for gender equality from some very strong-willed women in my life (both friends and family). I have seen them put a stop to ignorance the moment is appears and watched them do so in some of the most graceful ways possible. I feel that more men need to be active in this way too, that gender equality is as much a womanâ€™s fight as it is a manâ€™s. My desire to bring men into the movement for gender equality is what has lead me to join the Gender and Development Committee.
Here at GenDeavor we want to work hard to talk about issues of gender in Macedonia. We want to bring you tools to support gender equality, smoothly push back discrimination (or just your friends saying not-sonice things when it comes to gender), and how to talk about gender equality and development here in Macedonia. We also want to bring real issues here in Macedonia to light from the people who live here. Stories, poetry, interviews, personal experiences - we want all of those things here in this magazine. We need your support in order to do all of this, however. We need you, the readers, to submit articles, ideas, photos, and whatever else you can to make that happen. Know an amazing man or woman in your village that you think should be put in this magazine? Interview them and submit the interview to us (be sure to get our and their permission first) Do you know someone from your village/town/city that might have something to submit? Encourage that person to do so! All submissions can be kept anonymous. Simply send an email to this address: GenDevMacedonia@gmail.com and we can get the process started! Non-PCVs are welcome to submit articles as well! We can even add non-PCVs to the distribution list! Yours, -The Gender and Development Committee
When I was young(er), between 12 and 14 years old, I had no real idea or concept of what gender really was,, gender inequality, or Feminism. I think my closest concept of Feminism was that it was only for girls, boys could not be Feminists because, well, they were boys. I didn’t really understand that there were struggles and inequalities when it came to gender at that age but I definitely understood that something was up, because why would we have Feminists if there weren’t any problems? Was Feminism only for really angry women who didn’t like men or really angry women who wanted to be special? As time went by those last two ideas didn’t stick around for very long and my understanding about Feminism began to change from “group of angry women” to more of an understanding of “group of women who feel wronged”. I also started to understand better what these struggles were against and why these women were fighting. But I still did not really understand if it was only a girl’s club. Could men be Feminists too? Well, I found a bit of wisdom in a very unlikely place. How many of you remember the TV show Home Improvement staring Tim Allen? It was probably one of my favorite shows as a kid. This show stared Tim Allen as himself, who was always getting into some sort of family issue, social issue, etc. in almost every episode. Halfway through each episode he would go to his backyard and seek the wisdom of his neighbor Wilson, who apparently had some bit of wisdom for just about every occasion. I don’t particularly remember what, exactly, the episode was about, but I still remember what Wilson said to Tim about Feminism and fighting discrimination. Wilson said, and I’m paraphrasing here: “Tim, do you believe that women have the same rights as men? That they should be paid equally, have the same opportunities, and same respect as men?” Of course, Tim replied with “Yes.”. “Do you support the fight to make these things happen?” Again, Tim responded with “Yes”. “Well then, Tim, you’re a Feminist.” Wilson explained that anyone who believes that women are equal to men and should be treated as such, are Feminists, whether they are male or female. That Feminism is not just a fight for women, by women, but by men too. Men should have, and should know that they have, an equal shared of the fight when it comes to gender equality. Feminism isn’t just a club for angry women, it is a club for anyone who feels that we need to fight for equality. So, men, any of you who believe in equality but have said “No, I’m not a Feminist” I have some news for you: you’re a feminist and, just like Tim, you didn’t even know it! You had a membership card to this club without ever realizing that you applied. Congratulations! By: PBB
Gender equality can be a little hard to identify sometimes, which is why we want you to show us what it l o o k s like!
Here are some of our (hopeful) upcoming articles. If you would like to write any of them or perhaps another article, please contact us! We welcome help and contributions! -Cat calling identified by men -Great men and women in Macedonia -Photos from Contest -How men can be allies -Life as a housewife -Poetry about gender topics -Personal stories -Gender organizations in Macedonia -Pressure to Marry -Tools and ways to include gender equality in your classroom or organization -Life in Macedonia as LGBTQ If you know anyone that you think would be a good contribution to this magazine please put them in contact with us!