The Talking Boxes is an initiative of Polycom Development Project. The Concept was developed in 2004 when we realized adolescent girls from Urban informal settlements are not bold enough to share their most intimate challenges. The Talking Boxes initiative works as a suggestion box, however in this context, it allows the adolescent girls to inform the Organization what is challenging them. The notes are often anonymous. Through the talking boxes, adolescent girls have developed confidence and they know there is someone out there listening to them.
The concept has been developed in 50 schools with a hope of scaling to more schools in the near future.
How it works
The talking box, which is used to discuss the issues in an anonymous manner, serves as a secure place for the adolescents to jot down their most private issues and place them in the box. The Adolescent Girls write down their problems or questions on pieces of paper and post them through a slot in the boxes, which are often placed outside bathrooms or in other discreet locations to give them more privacy, especially in mixed-gender schools. Local volunteers trained as mentors read through the hundreds of messages posted every week, deciding how best to act on them. Thereafter, they organize a response session with the adolescent girls and address the issues raised with them.