Enhancing students' agency to make informed decisions about child marriage and romantic relationships

HEY! Intends to provide an empowering and emancipatory education that promotes the search for the ultimate meaning of life in one’s own way: agency. Agency is the ability to act upon what matters, to pursue a life one has reason to value. More specifically, HEY! intends to enhance students’ agency so that they can have healthier and more equitable relationships, and therefore a better quality of life. 

This new sense of purpose and clarity about what students want for their future and how they plan to act upon it is exemplified by an 11th grade female student. With the knowledge gained from participating in HEY!, she plans on taking specific actions to have the type of life she wants:

Interviewer: And how are things in your home? 

11th grade student (F): In my home things are not like that. I would like them to be like that, but obviously they were raised with values of the past which teach men to always impose and teach women to obey… 

Interviewer: And how do you think your life will be like in the future? 

11th grade student (F): Obviously, I have learned, so I will not look for a man that is machista because I do not want that for my family. So, I am going to think about the question in the first book: “what do I want for my life?”

The enthusiasm for this lesson was also noticed by a tutor who shared that this lesson sparked meaningful discussions in the classroom: 

Teacher (M): The themes [in the workbooks] help students have a better perspective of life. I remember that in the workbook “Living my youth with purpose” the first lesson was “What do I want for my future?” My students analyzed, reflected, thought, and shared their ideas of what they wanted to be in 5-10 years. It asked them how they saw themselves, how could they achieve their goals. This project, this workbook has helped them a lot. The lesson about the causes and consequences of child marriage and teen pregnancy has also helped them. When we studied these lessons, they loved participating…In my class girls were very interested in these themes. They said “Wow, we have never studied these topics before. This is why these things happen [child marriage and teen pregnancies], but now we are prepared”. Girls told me: “we can think differently now, we can think about what we want, how far we want to go, and what we need to do to achieve our goals”.