AGILE — African Girls' Initiative for Leadership and Empowerment is a program designed for girls ages 9 - 18. AGILE builds girls' self-esteem, reduces their isolation, helps them discover new friends, and reduces the effects of peer pressure. In 2010, in response to a high dropout rate of African girls from local high schools and the likelihood of a large percentage of them not attending college, we merged our Amakolo project objectives into the AGILE program. AGILE is now been enhanced to include more focus on college attendance, financial literacy for college, reproductive health education, civic engagement and environmental justice.
AGILE's motto is: "Building on our African past for a successful American present and future."
Since 2004, AGILE has been running 8 – 10 clubs annually in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, New Hope, Osseo and St. Paul. Each year, over 100 girls participate in the AGILE program which meets on a weekly basis during the school year and in a 3-week Summer Day Camp program.
AGILE Group Highlights
Highlights of the AGILE program include:
- An annual 3-Day Overnight College Tour to Greater Minnesota Colleges;
- An annual attendance to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Summit at St. Cloud State University
- Visits to Twin City colleges
Since our College Attendance focus was introduced in 2010, all graduating AGILE seniors have applied and been admitted into colleges. AGILE graduates now hold several first degrees, some Graduate degrees and every year, one or more MAWA staff persons are graduates of the AGILE program.
Some feedback about AGILE
- From two focus groups conducted with MAWA's AGILE participants in 2009, - 8 Junior High girls and 4 High School girls reported that overall, AGILE meets their needs and the program objectives of building self-esteem, leadership skills and social skills, promoting the importance of education, and positively reinforcing cultural identity.
AMAKOLO: A Rite-of-Passage Program for Young African Women – This project has now been merged into AGILE and targets the older participants.
Amakolo Rites of Passage program, a division of the AGILE program, promotes cultural values and self-development for young African women ages 17-21. Traditionally, African parents often rely on certain life lessons, such as sex education, to be taught by elders at a rites of passage ceremony. Since many of African parents in Minnesota do not provide the necessary lessons for their children, the Amakolo program will replicate the traditional rites of passage ceremony. The participants in the Amakolo program will be initiated into adulthood through lessons and discussions with African “aunties” and “big sisters” on the social obligations of adult life. The intensive program culminates in a celebratory ball/graduation event to commemorate the young women’s success.
Labelle Nambangi from MN African Women's Association
African Girls' Initiative tackles culture shock
A New Beginning
MAWA's AGILE College Tour 2014