Learning more about Ellen and Allan groups from Save the Children

In the late afternoon, Tuesday Oct 13, 2009, we met two Ellen group leaders, Annika and Marita, at Eriksbergsskolan in Uppsala. They had their second group meeting with seven girls from grade 8 (14 years old), and we arrived towards the end of the meeting, listening to the final activities of the meeting and having an informal discussion with them after that.

The focus of a group’s second meeting is self confidence and issues that they talked about while we listened (Anna T and Lisa P translated to English) were if certain clothes give high or low status and other aspects on what is rendering status among youth.

Earlier that evening they had focused on what they are good at, expressing that and giving each other positive feed back as well as alcohol, which we learnt about when they at the end of the meeting made a ‘round’ asking everybody what was the most valuable activity of that meeting. The final question to the girls was: – “What will you do tonight?” Their answers included watching TV, doing school home work, participating in sports activities etc.

In the informal discussion afterwards, Bruce commented that his impression was that Swedish girls have a choice, in what to do, while Zambian girls often do not as they are not allowed to go out on their own and they usually have house hold chores to take care of.

A discussion also came up about the view by parents on the use of alcohol by young people and here the situation appeared similar in both countries. Bruce also shared his personal experience and background as a youth, struggling with the bad influence from alcohol.

The visit ended with a discussion about how to keep in touch and that maybe Ellen-groups in Sweden and Zambia could be pen pals!?

Text: Lisa Persson

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