Throughout the world, growing up as a girl is fraught with challenges. For example, approximatley 40% of women and girls in the Dominican Republic were victims of domestic violence. In Tanzania, the literacy rate was 57% compared to 80% for boys and gender disparities in HIV/AIDS infection rates were observed throughout Africa. Because girls' needs are chronically undervalued, IOFA developed Girls Talk! a program model to promote gender equality and empower young women to act as agents of change in their communities, nationally and globally.
New York City (2001-2004)
Girls Talk! NYC was launched by IOFA and the YWCA as an annual leadership program at YWCA-NYC's Center for Girls. The program worked to prevent violence against girls through leadership training, mentoring, and organizing an annual Girls Talk! conference.
Girls Talk! Tanzania sought to prevent HIV/AIDS and foster microenterprise development by supporting grassroots organizations that promote the advancement of women and girls. In April 2005, a delegation of young women from Tanzania came to New York City to learn about project planning and management. The young women then planned a Girls Talk! conference for girls in their community to educate them about HIV/AIDS prevention.
Dominican Republic (2002-2003)
Girls Talk! Dominican Republic strove to prevent violence by supporting grassroots organizations that implement programs for community development and girls' empowerment. Representatives from NGOs in three communities and young women were trained to lead empowerment projects.