Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (GEM) Clubs
AusCam Freedom Project is a registered Australian charity that was founded in 2012 by Geoff and Julie Dowse, while they were living in Cambodia.
While spending their spare time with an orphanage where they formed relationships with 70 vulnerable children, they quickly discovered that these children were being exploited by the orphanage itself.
Julie and Geoff successfully had the orphanage closed and reunited the girls with loving families. In January 2012, they registered AusCam Freedom Project to be able to protect and empower other vulnerable children in Phnom Penh.
Over the past 5 years AusCam has gained extensive experience in the field of anti-trafficking, which is evident in the positive reputation of reducing school dropout and addressing the risk factors [essentially preventing the trafficking] of over 2,000 young girls in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), through Leadership-Building Clubs (GEM Clubs).
Since the establishment of the programme in February 2016, GEM Clubs have averaged between 30-65 members per club, which collectively has served over 1,000 girls to date. They have seen high graduation rates for their programme beneficiaries, proven strengths and resiliency through quality case management, and tested understanding that the girls themselves (along with the of boys who have attended the workshops) are knowledgeable to prevent trafficking in their communities long term.
AusCam applied for a UCF grant to help fund more education of this nature in five GEM Clubs. AusCam envisage that by reducing their vulnerabilities and providing them with leadership training, they will prevent the risk of trafficking for 150 adolescent girls living in lower socioeconomic areas of Phnom Penh.
A minimum of 150 girls will be taking part in the Girls Empowerment and Mentoring Clubs (30 girls/club x 5 clubs) over 40 individual meetings (8 meetings/club x 5 clubs).
The anticipated outcomes of the programme are:
- 150 girls will show improved skill sets through problem solving, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork, which will be evidenced in 100% improvement between beginning and end questionnaires.
- 150 club members will increase understanding of human trafficking and specific risk factors associated with trafficking, which will be evidenced in 100% improvement between beginning and end questionnaires.
- 5 club leadership teams will develop or increase their leadership techniques, which will be evidenced through their mentoring session reports.
- 5 projects (1 project per club) will be developed and implemented, which will be evidenced through a GEM Club Final Report.
- 5 reflection sessions (1 session per club) will allow each club to learn from their experience, which will be evidenced through a final report.
- Decreased rates of school drop out, which will be evidenced in the project report.
- zero reports of trafficking
UCF directors were pleased to award $2,000 to AusCam for this important work and look forward to the Grant Acquittal detailing the outcomes.