Project Soar -Morocco
Helping marginalized teen girls step into their leadership
If you are growing UP, you should not be growing OUT!!!!
There are so many reasons that keep rural Moroccan girls out of school, including social, cultural, and practical barriers. The lack of boarding houses and transport and the poor road infrastructure means parents prefer to keep their girls at home. Adolescent girls are of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups on the planet today as they face the double discrimination of being females and young. Globally, 32+ million adolescent girls are out of school, which is 2-3 times more than boys. The Malala Fund estimates 20 million more secondary school-aged girls could be out of school after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Yearly, 16+ million girls become child brides, and many become girl moms and have severe complications related to early childbirth.
|They may be the most vulnerable, but Project Soar girls have the most potential.
Project Soar is a woman-led nonprofit girl’s empowerment organization and feminist teen girls’ movement established in 2013. PS works with 9th-11th grade teen girls in marginalized communities to stay in school. Since 2013, PS has served 2,386 Girl Leaders, has an active network of 174 Female Facilitators, works in 50+ sites across Morocco and 5 sites in Uganda, has provided 119,300 Hours of Empowerment, and has 38 Girl Leader Clubs. PS works to help teen girls build their leadership skills.
|At PS, we believe that empowered girls lead to empowered women, able to lift up their families, their communities, and ultimately their nations. No country can get ahead if girls are left behind.
PS empowers teen girls to be the leaders of today and tomorrow. PS’s vision is for every teen girl in the Global South to realize her full potential and know her Value, Voice, Body, Rights, and Path.
PS Empowerment Pillars
There are 5 main empowerment pillars for Project SOAR. Starting with Value, so a girl is confident, has high self-esteem, and respects her own worth and potential, and knows she’s as valuable as a boy. She has her Voice and communicates her thoughts clearly, debates effectively, and advocates for herself and others productively. She also understands changes in her Body, manages her menstruation efficiently, and values her own health and wellness.
She embraces and understands her Rights; to education, to be free from violence, sexual harassment, and early and forced marriage. She knows her Path, cares about her education, conducts action planning with ease, and has tools to envision her future.
PS initiated a scalable and replicable system for empowerment, Project Soar in a Box (PSB). It is a 50-hour curriculum that consists of 25 signature workshops that enable teen girls to understand their value, know their voice, appreciate their body, embrace their rights and see their path. All girls receive period kits to help them manage their menstruation for three years. The program is led by a team of trained facilitators who are from the communities where they work. The project is now in over 42 locations across Morocco and five in Uganda. As a PS Girl progresses through the program, she undergoes a transformative process whereby she further develops her self-confidence, speaks up, embraces her adolescent body, advocates for her rights and the rights for all girls, and sets future goals.
Recognition & Support
PS gained support from governments, schools, communities, and parents and was accredited internationally.
It was also recognized by Michelle Obama, with PS coordinators and beneficiaries invited to the White House.
PS was referenced in We Will Rise, CNN’s girls’ empowerment documentary -the most watched documentary in CNN’s history- and its founder was featured in the New York Times in an article entitled: “Empowering Teenage Girls in a Traditional Village and Across Morocco.”
PS’s work has also been mentioned on the BBC, as well as in Al Arabia, Shape Magazine and other media outlets. In January 2020, PS became a large category winner of the “With and For Girls Awards”. This award recognizes “exceptional local organizations working on the frontlines to create a world where girls’ rights and wellbeing are recognized, respected, and realized.”
Although coming from the lowest socio-economic class, PS girls do better than other more privileged teen girls.
- Impact Metric #1: 94.5% Project Soar Morocco Girls go on to higher education vs. 51.4% of all girls nationwide
- Impact Metric #2: 95% Project Soar Morocco Girls pass the Baccalaureate vs. 54.4% of all girls nationwide
- Impact Metric #3: 90% Project Soar Morocco pass the High School entry exam vs. 67.9% of all students nationwide
- Impact Metric #4:1.4% Project Soar Morocco marry underage; 91.95% lower than national child marriage average of 16
- Impact Metric #5: 100% of Project Soar Uganda girls did not marry underage compared to the national average of 40% of girl child marriages
- Impact Metric #6: 100% of Project Soar Uganda Girls stayed in school compared to the national dropout rate of 43%
“At Project Soar, I learned to express my opinions and ideas. I also learned about the importance of gender equality. I now never stay silent when sexually harassed.” – Samira, 16 years old, Morocco.
“In my village, I was the only girl going to high school. When I joined Project Soar, I no longer felt so alone. I now feel so much more empowered, strong and responsible, having gone through the program. It’s my mission now to share what I learned at Project Soar with other girls. I have been able to convince three other girls in my village so far to return to school!” – Zahira, 15 years old, Morocco.
“I will defend girls in difficult situations. I will stand against early and forced marriage of girls. I will express my point of view freely.” – Nouhaila, 16 years old, Morocco.
“I will advocate for my rights, and I will be able to do that because of the skills I have learned at Project Soar. I will work to convince other girls of their rights too. The future feels brighter.” – Oumaima, 15 years old, Morocco.
“I was asked to be the head girl of my school by my teachers because of my character and excellence in class. I highly attribute this to Project Soar because I was so shy at first that I couldn’t even be a class monitor, much less the school’s head girl. But everything has changed now. My own confidence amazes me.” – Agnes, 15 years old, Uganda.
“I was thinking of dropping out of school and my parents suggested that I get married. After I discovered Project Soar, my ideas completely changed. Now I’m finishing my studies and applying for a good university.” – Chaimae, 19 years old, Morocco.
PS is pioneering a path for marginalized teen girls with a sustainable, girl-centered approach to empowerment. PS Arabic curriculum is the first of its kind tailored to the teen girls’ needs, taking a rights-based approach and deliberately bucking pervasive patriarchal ideas and beliefs.
Project Soar aims to build with the Moroccan Ministry of Education to adopt Project Soar in a Box Empowerment Curriculum to serve Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and/or refugee teen girls and to scale our solution to other countries in the Global South.