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If you would like to participate in a clean-up day or sponsor a clean-up please see our activities schedule. If you would like to contribute through providing clean-up tools please contact us.

Program Overview

Young women in Chuuk have few opportunities to learn in a safe environment about the myriad issues that are unique to the female sex.  At home and at school, adults are often silent about sexual health, mental health and gender violence.  The program provides young women with the opportunity to discuss issues unique to the female sex, as well as provide them with the tools and resources to make informed decisions about their futures.  The YWEP program outcome is for young women to be able to make better informed choices about their lives.  There are three main components of the YWEP which are Educational Development, Health and Wellness, and Practical Skill’s Building.

 Program Details

Michelle Budwitz, Peace Corps Response Volunteer (PCRV) served as YWEP Program Director.  In this capacity, she wrote the course curriculum for the program, administered the grant, and managed the program, in addition to: hiring staff and providing instruction and training to staff and program participants.

                                             

Lucy Mailo served as the program’s sewing instructor and Etista Lover served as the program’s handicraft instructor.  Both instructors are local women who have their own businesses to make and sell clothing and jewelry.

                           

Three instructors (Jayrene Engichy, Roseleen Joseph, and Beverly Attan) were hired to assist in teaching program content, administer the program and mentor students.  All instructors are recent graduates from Caroline College Pastoral Institute and held associate degrees in liberal arts.

 Program Specifics

Two programs were offered:  June 13-17 and June 20-24, 2016 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Twenty-three young women ages 13-20, in grades 8-12 from Weno, Tonawas, Fefen and Parem participated in the week-long programs (30 hours).  The first program was held June 13-17, 2016 and 11 young women participated.  Ages ranged from 14 to 20 years old, and grades 9 to 12, and one recent high school graduate.  Four participants were from Tonawas Island.  The second program was held June 20-24, 2016 and 12 individuals enrolled.  Ages ranged from 13 to 20 years old, and grades 8 to 12.  Three participants came from Sapuk Village from the Northern most end of the island, two from Parem Island and two from Fefen Island.

Five classes were offered on the following topics:  Class 1:  Overview, Women’s Empowerment, Gender/Sex & Goal Setting; Class 2:  Effective Communication, Relationships, Gender Violence & Psychological Wellness; Class 3:  Female and Male Anatomy & Reproductive Health, and Sexually Transmitted & Common Female Infections; Class 4:  Healthy Eating, and Local Crafts & Skirt Making; and Class 5:  Local Crafts & Skirt Making, and Review/Graduation/Party.

Each class was a combination of lecture, discussion, videos, educational and practical exercises, demonstration and game playing.   To increase knowledge retention and demonstrate understanding evaluations and discussion questions were given.  Examples of discussion questions include, “How do you feel about Chuukese gender roles? What would you change and what would you keep the same?”  The participants were required to respond to the prompt in their notebooks.  The questions were reviewed by the instructors to identify gaps in knowledge, or issues that may need to be addressed in subsequent classes.  For students who were struggling with English comprehension and writing, instructors provided translation into Chuukese. 

    

Throughout the program the participants were tested on their knowledge through the use of evaluation instruments.  End of class evaluations were conducted for Classes 1 and 4.  During Classes 2 and 3, baseline surveys were administered to test participant’s pre-existing understanding of gender violence, depression, female and male anatomy, reproductive health and sexually transmitted infections. After class, follow-up surveys were conducted to assess knowledge gained.  The final evaluation administered in Class 5 assessed participants’ overall understanding of course concepts.  All evaluations and follow-up-surveys examined program satisfaction and opportunities for improvements.

 Key Results

The daily evaluation assessed participant satisfaction with the course content.  Several individuals indicated that they enjoyed skirt making the most.  One young woman wrote, “I am really happy to learn how to make my own skirt because it is something that I had always wanted to learn how to do, and now I can do it!”  Some participants indicated that they least liked the topic of Sex, Sexuality and Gender because they felt that they were too young to learn about this information and it made them uncomfortable.  One individual stated, “It is not important to me because I am too young.”  Those who did not like the Sex, Sexuality and Gender module indicated that the topic made them feel sad because gender roles are not something they feel they have control over.  Sixty-seven percent of the participants in Program 2 indicated that they like the Eating Locally module the most.  Several explained that they believe it is important to support the local community through local food purchases, and it is better for their health and the environment.  A participant explained, “I now know what foods to eat and what foods to limit, and this will help make me healthy.”

Participants were asked how they would spread the knowledge they had gained from the program, and empower women in their respective communities.  Some responses include: “I will empower other girls by teaching them how to use condoms so they won’t get sick with an infection or pregnant.”   Another participant wrote: “I want to tell other girls about gender violence, and help them understand what gender violence means and how to stop it.”

All participants successfully completed the practical skill’s building component for the program.  Participants purchased local foods at the market including reef fish, long beans, papaya, watermelon, cooking bananas and coconut oil.  They honed their culinary skills in the CWC kitchen.  The lunch consisted of fried fish, boiled bananas and stir-fried vegetables.

 

Twelve young women chose to learn how to sew, and each were able to make “pilak” styled skirts.  Eleven participants selected jewelry making for their practical skill building and produced eleven bracelets, two anklets, six head-bands and seven necklaces.

   

The program concluded with a small graduation ceremony and party for the participants. Twenty three young women received certificates of completion, eleven in Program 1 and twelve in Program 2. The young women played games such as Empowerment Trivia, Ping Pong Mania and musical chairs, and were provided with cake and ice cream as a final treat. 

   

The program is extremely worthwhile and the young women who participated were very eager to learn, and participants came earlier and earlier each day.  Some wanted to discuss the topics covered from the day before, some chose to watch videos on gender violence, some came to read the course materials and write notes in their books, but many came just to sit with others in a safe, clean and welcoming environment.  For many, it was their first exposure to CWC and they enjoyed being in a place built by women and for women.  The purpose of the program is to provide young women with the knowledge and tools to make better decisions about their own lives, and to help others navigate through life’s often rough waters.  When young women have knowledge and are able to make informed and autonomous decisions -- then they are truly empowered.

 

Ren omw kopwe sinei ach office Cwc Fiin Chuuk a awora pekin aninis ren osukosukun non famini.

Ka tongeni kekeri 330-8397 ika chuto non ach we office nepukos nukun sekurun Bank of Guam.

A tongeni anisuk non ekkei ran mi afat fan.

For your information our Cwc Fiin Chuuk office now has services to help with domestic violence issues in the family.

You can call 330-8397 or you can come to our office in Nepukos, behind Bank of Guam.

The times we are available to assist are below:

Detective Ginger Katzuda
Wed & Fri @ 9:00 am-3:00 pm

 

Monday, June 13, was a very busy day at the CWC Center.   First was the signing of the MOU between Chuuk Public Safety and Chuuk Women’s Council in support of our Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP).  This MOU will strengthen partnerships and collaboration efforts in order to address our responsibilities to maintain peace within the family and community.   An FVU officer at the CWC Center will give the women of the community opportunities to learn more about the program

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The special signing ceremony was witnessed by the Public Safety Family Unit officers and participants of a reading workshop and facilitated by trainer Ms. Aileen Otoko from the Department of Education (DOE). The training was conducted in support of the eight graduating seniors who will be teaching the CWC Summer Math and Reading Program, and the mothers of the participating summer program students. 

On the 2nd floor of the Youth and Family Learning Resource Center was the kick-off of the Young Women Empowerment Program, made possible by a grant from Let Girls Learn Fund.  Experienced trained staff facilitated this program under the supervision of CWC Peace Corps Response Volunteer: Ms. Michelle Budwitz.

Ms. Evelyn Adloph, UN Coordination Specialist and UN Joint Presence Initiative FSM, made her first official visit to our center.  It was a great opportunity for us to discuss our programs and how her office can support our program activities, including the CEDAW awareness efforts.  She was impressed with what she saw and learned while observing our many activities.                                                                          

Throughout the week there were visitors who came to the center and learned about all the exciting summer activities taking place at CWC.  Among these visitors were the JICA Mission Team, lead by Mr. Ishizuka Junji, Special Advisor, Environment Management.  With him we shared our Beautification & Clean Up Chuuk programs.

Ms. Chikako Miwa from the Embassy of Japan in the FSM visited CWC to see the facility’s operations.  She was very pleased to learn about CWC’s plethora of programs and the number of community members utilizing the resources the center has to offer.

Monday, June 20th, was the official opening for the Summer Math and Reading Program. Forty excited students, accompanied by their mothers, came to the 2nd floor of the center to begin classes.  Monday through Wednesday will focus on Math & Reading, Thursday will be Kodomo cooking class for 12 of the selected students, and Friday isreserved for fun activities: music, dancing, arts, crafts, and sports.

             

The first day was an important orientation, in which everyone was introduced and program expectations were explained.   Due to increased demand, we have opened up another enrollment for an afternoon session to start June 27th.  Our summer program will run for six weeks.

With all these activities taking place in the library on the 2nd floor it is clear that we need to air condition this room.  We were fortunate to have received a two hundred dollar ($200.00) donation from a visiting tourist for this purpose.  However, this is insufficient for the purchase of the air conditioning we need for the library.  We are still seeking donations to purchase the needed air condition. 

Thank you and “Kinisou Chapur” to everyone and most especially the parents that have allowed their children to participate in our summer activities.  A special sincere “Kinisou Chapur” to our partners who made our summer activities possible, DOE & Chief. Aileen Otoko and the “Let Girls Learn Fund” and our Honorable Congressman Victor Gouland for funding the summer teachers, the Young Women Empowerment Program and the Kodomo Cooking Class. 

Program Background

Young women in Chuuk have few opportunities to learn in a safe environment about the myriad issues that are unique to the female gender.  At home and at school, adults are often silent about sexual health and violence against women.  Furthermore, there are very few opportunities for all Chuukese adolescents after high school but more so women, who are expected to marry young and have children.  The program provides young women with the opportunity to discuss issues unique to the female sex, as well as provide them with the tools and resources to make informed decisions about their futures. 

The Young Women’s Empowerment Program (YWEP) aims to holistically educate young women in a safe community about their bodies, sexuality, mental and physical wellness, and their connection to a healthy environment as well as provide them with opportunities to increase English language proficiency.  The desired program outcome is for young women to be able to make better informed choices about their lives.  There are two main components of the YWEP which are Educational Development and Health and Wellness:

Educational Development

·         Participants demonstrate increased English comprehension skills through oral interactions with facilitators and colleagues; Participants demonstrate the ability to discuss assignments in English;  Participants identify short and long-term educational goals and develop a plan to attain goals;  Participants complete assigned tasks and actively participate in program activities; and Participants discuss gender roles and discuss expectations and stereotypes of gender.

Health and Wellness

·         Participants are able to discuss the types of sexually transmitted diseases and prevention methods; Participants can define sexual intercourse and describe methods to prevent pregnancy;  Participants demonstrate an understanding of nutrition and physical fitness, through food choices and physical activities; Participants are able to identify the various forms of violence against women and techniques to prevent violence; and Participants are able to identify symptoms of depression and are able to discuss strategies to manage depression and stress.

Each of these components is designed to provide the young women with knowledge, educational resources, and enhanced literacy and practical skills to empower them to make the best decisions possible.  Young women learn critical skills for communicating, goal making, and disease and violence prevention.  Additionally, the program is conducted entirely in English in order to enhance English skills.  The many-faceted approach to this program prepares the young women of today to become empowered and to better understand/navigate the community in which they live.

Ten young women ages 15-21, attending Chuuk High School grades 10th through 12th were invited by Program Director Michelle Budwitz,  World Teach Volunteers and program co-instructors (Lexi Ritt, Annina Narhi, Nicole Tayrien and Ariela Moraru), and local co-instructor Gloria Rudolph to attend the 10 week program (February 10 – April 13, 2016).  All parents of participants younger than 18 years of age signed a consent form.  Participants 18 years or older were required to sign a consent form.  The program was held at the Chuuk Women’s Council Library in Nepukos Village, and sessions were held every Wednesday from 1:30 to 4:00 pm.

Program Schedule

Session 1:            Orientation and Review of the Program

Session 2:            Achievements of Women and Gender Roles

Session 3:            Developing Educational and Life Goals (short-term and long-term)

Session 4:            Effective Communication

Session 5:            Relationships and Love

Session 6:            Let’s Talk About Sex (Female and Male Anatomies/Sexual Intercourse/Pregnancy)

Session 7:            Sexually Transmitted & Vaginal Infections and Prevention

Session 8:            Health and Wellness

Session 9:            Gender Violence

Session 10:          Graduation and Party

Each session was a combination of lecture, discussion, videos educational and practical exercises, demonstration and game playing.  The benefits of the multi-learning approach are to enhance knowledge retention, as well as ensure that all learning styles are addressed in some manner.  The photographs on the following page reflect the different learning styles utilized during the program.  To increase knowledge retention and demonstrate understanding, at the end of each session a journal prompt was provided.  For example, “How do you feel about Chuukese gender roles? What would you change and what would you keep the same?”  The participants were required to respond to the prompt in their journals.  The reflection was then reviewed by the instructors to identify gaps in knowledge, or issues that may need to be addressed in subsequent sessions. 

Program Results:

Ten young women from grades 10th to 12th grade enrolled in class.  The youngest participant was 15 years old, and the eldest participant was 21 years of age.  Two students were in the 10th grade, three from the 11th grade and 5 from the 12th grade.  Eighty-percent of the young women successfully completed the program.  Successful completion was based on attendance to at least five of the nine educational sessions (Sessions 1-9).  The other two participants came to four out of the nine required educational sessions.  All participated in the graduation and party.

                                     

Participants who successfully completed the program were awarded with certificates, shell necklaces and framed group photographs.  Those who did not meet the completion requirements were not provided with certificates of completion.  IU Rudolph was awarded with the perfect attendance award for successfully coming to all 10 sessions.

The evaluation results showed that the session topic the participants (55%) like least was the session on Gender Violence.  Many of the young women felt that the topic made them feel angry and sad.    Many of the participants indicated that they have witnessed violence, and the session brought up issues that they did not want to think about or discuss.  One participant reflected, “This class makes me sad when I think about how mean human beings are to each other.”

The three sessions identified as favorites included Effective Communication (30%), Love and Relationships (30%), and Let’s Take About Sex (30%).  One participant reflected on her choice of Effective Communication, “The reason I selected this is because it has helped me communicate with my parents much better.”  In regards to Love and Relationships, one participant wrote, “I like this session the best because I realized that there are many types of relationships, and different types of love.”  Finally, a young woman who selected Let’s Talk About Sex, indicated that she did not have any prior understanding about the female anatomy or sexual intercourse.

Next Steps

YWEP has been funded for two more program cycles (June 13 to 17, and June 20 to 24) through the Let Girls Learn grant.  The program will run two consecutive summer intensives.  The summer intensives are five days, Monday-Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, 30 hours per week.  Thirty young women (15 per intensive) will be invited to participate.  The summer intensives will incorporate traditional arts including cooking, sewing and jewelry making.

Practical Skills’ Building have been added to the program:  Participants are able identify and purchase foods that are nutritionally sound and locally produced; Participants are able to cook a balanced meal that incorporates nutrition, healthy portion sizes and utilizes locally sourced foods;  Participants are able to make one traditional “pilak”-style skirt; and  Participants are able to make one shell bracelet, anklet or necklace.

Topics for Intensive Course:

Class 1:  Overview; Women's Achievements and Gender Roles; and Goal Setting.
Class 2: Effective Communication; Gender Violence; and Relationships.
Class 3:  Female Anatomy and Reproductive Health; Sexually Transmitted and Common Vaginal Infections; and Health and Wellness.
Class 4:  Cooking with Local Ingredients; and Local Crafts and Skirt Making.
Class 5:  Local Crafts and Skirt Making and; Review/Graduation/Party.

To build capacity and pass knowledge, three young women will be trained and paid as program instructors.  It is the expectation, that under the supervision of the Program Director, these instructors will facilitate and conduct all classes, as well as administer and manage the program. 

Conclusion

Overall this program has been successful for many reasons.  Most importantly we were able to sustain participation levels.  Ten girls remained active throughout the program, and eight successfully completed the program.  In addition, it was the first program of this type to be conducted on Weno.

Chuuk Women’s Council hosted a celebration for International Women’s Day and FSM Cultural Day on March 31st at the Truk Stop Hotel Patio.  The event theme: “ Recognizing the Achievements of Women Who Inspire Women and Communities”.

                                             

About one hundred-fifty women from the five regions of Chuuk, including our sisters from the KAPIT organization, and our sisters from the JICA Program, government officials, religious leaders, including CWC partners from CCS and the PPVDP.  The presence of Her Excellency Ambassador Doria Rosen and Ms. Abigail Kim made the event very special.

                                 

MC Ms. Sirene F. Killion opened the conference with the introduction.  Ms. Susan Danis gave the opening prayer.  Kiki Stinnett then gave the welcoming remarks, overview of the conference and recognized distinguished guests in attendance.  Kiki gave special recognition to Her Excellency US Ambassador to the FSM, Doria Rosen for being an outstanding advocate and supporter of CWC.  Kiki highlighted the importance of the special day by acknowledging that every woman is very special with unique talents and to use their talents to glorify God and to make a difference.  She asked everyone to “congratulate the person next to you for all the wonderful accomplishments and achievements each of you have done and continue to do for your family, community, church, State and Nation.”

This celebration was an opportunity to recognize the five most distinguished achievements of Chuukese Women for 2015 to 2016.  Each woman received a certificate in acknowledgement of their achievements and contributions to the community.

                    

1) Mrs. Alma Danis was born and raised in Chuuk, and has lived here most of her life.  She is the mother to 11 children, 42 grandchildren and 45 great grand children.  Moreover, she is considered the Mother of Chuuk as her late husband was the fist District Administrator of Chuuk.  She founded the Truk Women’s Club and organized education programs for Chuukese children.  In 1997 Mrs. Danis relocated to Oregon but did not leave her Chuukese roots behind, while in Oregon she served her community as she welcomed and assisted Chuukese people as they made transition to the mainland.  In 2016 Mrs. Danis returned to Chuuk and we are happy to have her back.

2) Ms. Ansina Kony received her nursing certificate from Walla Walla Community College in Washington, a bachelor’s degree in community health education from Eastern Washington University and a master’s degree in special education from University of Guam.  She has dedicated her professional life to improving the health and well-being of our community.  She has worked in the field of health and nutrition for the College of Micronesia, before moving on to the position of special education coordinator for Chuuk State Department of Education.  She has spent her personal time volunteering for civic and community organization including the Board of Education, Chuuk Women’s Council, Special Education Advisory Council and the Interagency Council.

3) Dr. Asinech Hellan Pangelian was born in Chuuk.  She attended local school and was the first graduate of Saramen Chuuk Academy High School. She made the move to the US when she finished high school in Chuuk and remained there ever since.  She received her associate’s degree in health and wellness from the College of Micronesia, a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Arizona, and went on to receive her doctor of optometry degree from Nova Southeastern University in Arizona.  She may have left Chuuk but a good part of her remains in the islands.  She founded Eye Care Micronesia (ECM).  In 2015, Dr. Pangelinan and a team of eye doctors visited Chuuk and Pohnpei.  ECM worked with local health care providers including nurses, doctors, and COM health students and teachers from both Chuuk and Pohnpei in providing eye vision screenings and exams for school age children.  They were able to see about close to 800 kids.

4) Dr. Margarita Bernard Cholymay was born on Losap Island, Chuuk.  Dr. Margarita has had several years of school and training in education.  She received her associate’s degree in general education from Suomi College, Michigan, a bachelor’s degree in bilingual education from University of Hawaii, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Guam and her doctoral degree in teach education curriculum studies from the University of Hawaii.  Dr. Cholymay has committed her professional life to improving the educational system and training the next generation of educators. For almost 10 years, she was a primary school teacher at Iras Elementary from there she worked with the national government, Chuuk department of education and College of Micronesia developing teacher training and educational curriculum.  She is an adjunct professor at Chaminade University in Hawaii.  She had dedicated much of her personal time in support of improving the lives of her Chuukese community, and throughout the years she has been the Chair and member of the Chuuk State Board of Education member of the Child Abuse and Health Services Committee, as well as several other committees in Chuuk.

5) Christine Grace Robert was born and raised on Weno.  She graduated from St. Cecilia School and Xavier High School.  She is currently enrolled as a nursing student at the College of Micronesia.  Ms. Robert is the Micronesia Challenge Young Champion Intern at Chuuk Women’s Council.  In this capacity she teaches children in grades 3-5 about environment and climate change.  She is an active member of the student body association and Peniesene Youth Catholic Association, which is also member of the CWC.

Weno Mayor Pintas Kenneth welcomed the participants and also acknowledged the presence of Her Excellency US Ambassador Rosen.  He encouraged the Chuukese women historically have significant and important roles in the family and their community.  Representing the Governors’ Office was Mr. Tracy Meter who retreated what Mayor Kenneth said.

                                               

Her Excellency Ambassador, Doria Rosen was honored for her work and support of the FSM and Chuuk State.  She gave inspiring remarks touching on the importance of education, which is the key to success. She encouraged the participants that it takes a village to educate a child and for everyone to be active participants in their community.  Education opens the doors to opportunities and allows people to become anything they strive to be. You are a role model to the younger generation and inspire other people to make a difference.

                                                                                  Our keynote speaker for this special occasion was Ms. Margarita Cholymay, PhD and one of our most distinguished Achiever. She impressed upon the women the importance for culturally appropriate and the traditional respectful ways for our elders and leaders.  Her presentation showed a sailing canoe on a journey, which illustrates the importance of teamwork and helping one another to ensure a safe and successful journey. International Women’s Day celebrates and recognizes the significant achievements and the contributions of Chuukese Women to improve the lives of their families and communities.  She went on to emphasize and encourage the women to practice their traditional roles, and to follow Christian values.  She reiterated a quote by Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

The First Lady of Chuuk State, Bersita Elimo gave the closing remarks for the day.  She thanked everyone for their roles in supporting the community.  She emphasized that education is the key to success, and it is our obligation to ensure that our children go to school.  She encourages parents to engage in their children’s schools and to support and guide their children in their studies.  She thanked all of the women, who presented at the celebration and praised them for their achievements and support of education in Chuuk.

The ceremony was followed by lunch of locally prepared cuisine and entertainment by Chuukese dance and singing groups, as well as the JICA and KAPIT women. 

             

All participants enjoyed the celebration and we thank everyone for their time and our sincere kinisou chapur to Truk Stop Hotel for the free venue and their support.