Due to youth pregnancy, geographic isolation, limited economic opportunities, and other causes, young women are a particularly vulnerable population within the community. After assessing the community needs, the GESI team worked with the local organization ADSN to create the Wandago Hairdressing Initiative. This program aims to empower a group of marginalized young women by providing fundamental hairdressing and finance skills such that they might engage in basic income generating activities. The team met with the community to find local leaders, instructors, and advisors to run the program and teach the young women hairdressing and finance skills. Together with these community members and the NGO, the GESI students worked to create curriculums for hairdressing, leadership, and financial literacy. They also hosted trainings for the teacher and adviser in leadership skills and hosted a financial literacy training for the adviser. A women’s group was also incorporated to establish a space where the young women can discuss challenges and communally develop solutions.
The seed fund for this project served as the starting capital for the hairdressing supplies. As hairdressing equipment is highly expensive, it would have been unreasonable to expect the young women to pay the program costs up front. To mitigate this financial burden, the seed fund created a cash pool that would slowly be replenished by small contributions made by the beneficiaries.