Building Community Engagement w/ Power to Girls

With Aisha Addo, Founder at Power to Girls Foundation, we discussed about empowering Black and marginalised girls and uncovered insights into building community engagement.

About Power to Girls

Aisha came to Canada as an immigrant. In her teenage years, she realised she did not have places to express herself. Everything shifted when she ended up in foster care, and  her foster mom explained to her that the system did not necessarily expect much of her: "[she] was expected to either become a teenage mom, dropout, drug addict". 

These two experiences, coupled with other ones, became the driving forces behind Power to Girls.

For the past eight years, Power to Girls has been providing leadership, personal development, mental health, and entrepreneurship training to support Black and marginalised girls in Canada and Ghana.

Through partnerships with schools, they deliver their programs to girls in middle school (6th to 8th grades) to ensure that the girls have a space that allows them to be themselves and become whomever they want to be in the future.

As a result of their initiatives, they notice changes in their girls' confidence and communication skills. Getting closer to the end of the programs, they become more comfortable in who they are and confident to speak up their mind. Also, some girls have started their businesses thanks to their entrepreneurship program.

Currently, Power to Girls is recruiting mentors and testers for their app. Also, donors and supporters are always appreciated.

Insights Into Building Community Engagement

To build an engaged community, Power to Girls uses the following approach:

  • Working with people who believe in their vision. Aisha thinks "it is crucial to work with people smarter than you and actually care about what you are working on, as it generates a sense of ownership".
  • Creating partnerships with people who will become champions of the organisation and who will support it throughout its journey and growth.
  • Creating a sense of connection by "reinforcing who [they] are as individuals."
  • Continuously reminding the girls that Power to Girls is a safe space to talk and that everything they are doing is for their benefit.

Currently, the organisation has mentors and 15 facilitators that they can always count on. They provide people who want to be part of the organisation with training so they can provide training themselves.

Today, most of the girls that participate in their programs come back as mentors or facilitators eventually. The majority of their facilitators are girls that have participated in their program in the past.

Inspiration to Go!

The idea is taking it one day at a time, being conscious that can accomplishing everything that we set our minds to, and ensuring that we are safe while we do so.

Thanks so much for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it! 

If you are a social entrepreneur and would like to share your story, reach out to me via LinkedIn!

This article was updated on May 10, 2021

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Nadia Humbert-Labeaumaz

Entrepreneur, consultant, biosciences and software engineer, working on projects enabling positive impact.