Girls for Change: USAID Economic Governance Program launches Training Program that Opens Doors for Young Private Sector Leaders

08.27.2021 | Anna Goltermann, Marie Inasaridze, Liza Lenz Jedwab, Grace Ingle

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is highlighting the pivotal role that women and youth play in fostering a healthy economic environment. In Georgia, under the USAID Economic Governance Program, implemented by Deloitte Consulting, CIPE is contributing to new initiatives to give young women the tools they need to become successful professionals and entrepreneurs.

One such initiative, “Girls for Change,” was launched on March 29 in cooperation with the European Business Association (EBA) as part of Women’s History Month. Through mentorship and advocacy training sessions, young women learned from the valuable experiences of business professionals. Several participants even received internships or job offers. “Girls for Change” was a successful program that garnered positive news coverage in Georgia.

Through mentorship and advocacy training sessions, young women learned from the valuable experiences of business professionals.

In many countries, including Georgia, young women are often underrepresented in the public and private sector compared to their male counterparts. “Girls for Change” served as a platform for exchange of information, skills, and tools among professionals working in the public and private sectors and aspiring women leaders. As more women and youth join the work force or become entrepreneurs, their voices, abilities, and perspectives remain crucial to building an economy that benefits everyone.

The program began by hosting ten training sessions for thirty female university students in Georgia. Volunteer mentors, leading business professionals from diverse sectors, and EBA members facilitated the sessions, sharing their experiences and advice with the young women and answering questions about their careers. The speakers motivated young women to engage in advocacy and equipped them with skills to become effective decision makers. After the program concluded on May 12, CIPE staff selected ten program participants as candidates for internship opportunities with the EBA and Loialté, a Georgian consulting firm.

“Girls for Change and similar projects that raise awareness and educate women are a step forward in terms of empowering women and tackling gender inequality in the country.” – Tamar Dolishvili (Student at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University).

Out of ten internship candidates, three received internship offers from EBA and Loialté, one participant was offered a part-time job, and the other six students became members of the EBA Youth Group. The Youth Group brings together a range of private sector actors, including EBA board members (of all ages) and alumni of the USAID Economic Governance Program’s youth focused “Online Summer School for Economic Reform” that took place in the Summer of 2020. That summer school is set to launch again this month. These opportunities contribute to the sustainability of the Girls for Change program and keep the momentum for motivated students to be part of a wider, active network of youth in their society.

“The mentorship program helps youth meet exemplary successful people and increase their self-confidence. This is very important for inexperienced youth to deal with new challenges. I think that the young girls benefit a lot from participating in the mentorship program and communicating with experienced people. The information received from us will help them make the right decision on their path to success.” – Maya Kobalia (Head of the Environmental Protection and Social Responsibility Department at “Crystal”).

“Girls for Change” served as an important platform for young women, as they connected with peers who share similar interests and learned new skills from experienced mentors. Through this initiative, CIPE contributed to elevating the voices of historically underrepresented members of the society and empowered young women to succeed in the work force.

Beyond “Girls for Change,” CIPE will continue to support advocacy of business priorities of youth and women in Georgia and throughout the world.