Let Girls Talk!

Braking taboos and building self-confidence

“In our society, girls do not have a voice”, one girl tells me at the beginning of the Let Girls Talk meeting. “Girls can be married away without their consent, even at a very young age (e.g. 14 years old)”, another girl says. Stella Akot Kitara, a Project Officer at Horzyon’s partner organization, YGlobal Uganda, adds that topics around sexual health are taboo and not talked about. Many girls are frightened when they get their periods because they don’t know what is happening to their bodies or they are unaware that having sex can lead to pregnancy.

In this short introduction round, the objective of the Let Girls Talk groups becomes clear. The YGlobal Uganda initiated groups bring girls and young women between the ages of 13-30 years together to “let them talk” and to talk to them. Every meeting offers the possibility to talk about a topic which is of importance to the girls but which they are often not talked to about in their family or in society.

Stella teaches the girls about their sexual reproductive health: the changes in their bodies during puberty and the hygiene during menstruation. The girls also learn about safe sex, their right to say no to boys, to sex but also to marriage, the importance of staying in school, but also how to deal with pressures and expectations from their parents or caretakers.

Most Let Girls Talk groups are affiliated to schools. Other Let Girls Talk groups exist within the community for girls who have already left school (due to age or early pregnancy).

Enthusiastically, the girls also tell me about the possibility of being able to play sports in this group. One girl is especially proud of her ability to play football and the football matches they play on the weekend. Another girl tells me how much she enjoys playing netball and dancing. Let Girls talk is a safe space for these girls to enable conversations on taboo but important topics, to build their confidence through knowledge and tools, and through play to let them just be girls and young women.

Let Girls Talk

Participants in a Let Girls Talk group with Amélie Gottier in Uganda, photo: Amélie Gottier, 2021