Applications are now being accepted for the MENA-USA Empowering Resilient Girls Exchange (MERGE). In order to build emotional resilience skills, MERGE brings together young women and girls from the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region and the United States who are between the ages of 15 and 19.
While discussing and experimenting with a variety of stress-relieving and coping techniques, participants engage in both synchronous (live) and asynchronous exchange, guided by trained facilitators.
Describe Your Award:
Girls growing up in underserved communities have a higher risk of mental illness, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, which can all have a negative impact on how well they do in school, the workplace, and in relationships. This is according to a 2012 American Psychological Association report. The MENA-USA Empowering Resilient Girls Exchange (MERGE) encourages participants to gain knowledge of their own mental health and emotional resilience. Participants then share this information with their communities through a website that is accessible to the general public.
MERGE is a series of eight-week open enrollment virtual exchanges for girls in the Middle East and North Africa who are 15 to 19 years old. Participants discover, acquire, and exchange practical strategies for fostering resilience in both themselves and their communities during the first week of the course. Various cultural exchange activities are used to introduce participants to one another and their small group facilitator. The participants experiment with a variety of stress-relieving and coping techniques over the course of the following five weeks, both individually and in small groups.
Journaling, exercise, meditation, encouraging thoughts and affirmations, and nutrition are a few specific techniques. The science underlying each tactic will be explained, along with the advantages of developing these skills in both individuals and communities. The participants will collaborate in five-person teams during the last two weeks of the exchange to produce an entry for the program’s final website on mental resilience strategies that will demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge.
- Up $1,000 from the Stevens Initiative Alumni Small Grants program.
- Duration: MERGE runs for eight (8) weeks.
What will the participants do during their time at MERGE?
MERGE is an eight-week virtual exchange program that will teach you about mental health while focusing on your own emotional resilience and the empowerment of your community. You will participate in a variety of activities that promote cultural understanding and community building during the first week of the program.
Over the next five weeks, we will look into various methods for increasing our emotional resilience. You will be in a section with ten young women from the United States and ten young women from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and you will support one another as you work to put these strategies into action in your own lives.
Throughout the program, your facilitator will serve as a guide, providing resources and moderating group discussions. You will interact with other young women via written and video content, as well as research mobile applications such as Flipgrid. You will take part in two live discussions about leadership and emotional resilience as part of your program. These discussions will provide you with new perspectives.
Previous featured speakers have included Bilqis Abdul Qadir, a coach and activist working to empower Muslim girls in sports, and Alyson Watson, an entrepreneur creating digital tools to assess mental health. Both of these ladies spoke at this event. During the final two weeks of MERGE, your five-person team will collaborate to create an entry for MERGE’s digital resilience strategies website. This entry will be distributed to your community as well as the rest of the world.
- Participants in MERGE must:
- Reside in the United States or a country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, or Yemen);
- Identify as a young woman or a girl;
- As of September 26, 2022, you must be between the ages of 15 and 19;
- English proficiency (intermediate or higher);
- Be available during the above-mentioned program dates;
- Have access to a dependable, internet-connected device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) that you can use for at least three (3) hours per week for the duration of the program;
- Have a passion for mental health, community development, and international exchange.
- MERGE is an eight-eighth week virtual exchange program in which you will learn about mental health while also focusing on your own emotional resilience and empowering your community. Your first week will be spent building a supportive global community through cultural exchange activities. The next five weeks will look at practical ways to boost emotional resilience. You’ll be part of a 20-person section — 10 young women from the United States and 10 from the MENA region — and you’ll help each other put these strategies into action in your own lives.
- Throughout the program, your facilitator will assist you by providing resources and moderating discussions. You’ll communicate with other young women through writing and video, and you’ll experiment with apps like Flipgrid. During your program, two live discussions about leadership and emotional resilience will provide additional perspectives.
- Previous featured speakers have included Bilqis Abdul Qadir, a coach/activist who empowers Muslim girls through sports, and Alyson Watson, an entrepreneur who creates digital tools to assess mental health. Your five-person team will create an entry for MERGE’s digital resilience strategies website to share with your community and the world in the final two weeks of the program!
- By taking part in MERGE, you will be eligible for unique project funding opportunities of up to $1,000 from the Stevens Initiative Alumni Small Grants program, as well as access to the US Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni network and a Certificate of Completion in leadership and mental health awareness.
- Eight (8) weeks will pass during MERGE. Beginning on September 26, and ending on November 18, is the second cohort. Three (3) hours per week of your own time must be set aside for the program, which you must complete.
- The majority of tasks are finished throughout the week as they become available. Throughout the program, you will also take part in at least three scheduled video calls with your MERGE section; the timing of these calls will be predetermined.
What are the Advantages of Receiving an Award?
If you participate in MERGE, you will be eligible for unique project funding opportunities of up to $1,000 from the Stevens Initiative Alumni Small Grants program, receive a Certificate of Completion in leadership and mental health awareness, and access the U.S. Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni network. In addition, you will receive a Certificate of Completion in leadership and mental health awareness.
Facilitators will be compensated with a stipend of $1000 USD for their work at the end of the program.
How Long is the Program?
8 weeks. Cohort III will take place from September 26 – November 18, 2022, while Cohort IV will start in February 2023.
For more information, visit https://www.globaltiesus.org/merge-participant-application/
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