Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) began in 1993 as a life skills education course for 16 girls, including the daughters of founders Grace Osakue and Bene Madunagu. Twenty years later, GPI is now active in four Nigerian states, reaches approximately 20,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 18, and is now an international model for educating adolescent girls and young women about human rights and gender equality. Their courses educate girls about sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, sexuality and human rights. GPI also hosts TV and radio programs and runs a Gender Development Institute (GDI), a training workshop for government, media, health providers and other civil society actors aimed at changing cultural norms and values that violate the human rights of girls and women.
GPI seeks to empower adolescent girls with accurate information on their sexuality and human rights and teach life management and leadership skills from a gender perspective for future advocacy and social action.
In Nigeria, adolescent girls are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV, unwanted pregnancies, and trafficking. Girls in GPI’s training programs are armed with the strategies, skills, and self-esteem they need to negotiate their adolescent years in good health. Today, these young women represent the country’s next generation of leaders, committed to realizing their vision of social justice and gender equality.
On the policy level, GPI played a critical role in the passage of Nigeria's National Sexuality Education Curriculum, adopted by the federal government in 2000, and is training teachers to implement it.
To build sustained support for girls’ empowerment, GPI convenes a biannual gender sensitivity and awareness training for government officials, media professionals, educators, and health care workers. The five-day workshop covers issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, women and HIV, gender-based violence, contraception, and gender equality.