Efforts towards improving girls education and creating more gender-equitable schools

Isobel Wilson-ClearyNews & Events

Schools clubs are tacking gender and social inclusion issue

School clubs, known as JUU clubs, are an intervention to support students – especially girls – to develop their own voice to address learning and welfare issues, build confidence and foster greater collaboration and understanding between girls and boys. The clubs help students to explore issues, from learning, to welfare at school and the home environment.

In Kasino Primary School (Rorya, Mara) one mother refused to let her daughter go to school. Through the JUU club, fellow pupils discussed this situation and consulted with teachers and parents who went and talked to her mother. As a result, the girl came back to school to sit her Standard Seven examinations. 

Students with special needs are also involved in gender JUU club activities to create equality and cooperation among pupils. At Mazoezi Primary School (Bunda, Mara) there are 25 students with special needs enrolled and these pupils receive a special diet meal from the capitation grants. Some are involved in their local JUU club.

Female teachers as role models

A shortage of female teachers in rural areas means young girls often have few role models in schools. The School Readiness Programme (SRP) aimed to tackle this by encouraging the recruitment of female Community Teaching Assistants.
“As a female, I want to be a role model for these young girls, for them to understand from the early age that as a woman you can be a teacher and anyone you desire, we have few carrier women in our community” Elika Mjelwa, a CTA from Mkombola SRP center in Dodoma.

Using comic books to campaign for girls’ education

EQUIP-Tanzania has partnered with Shujaaz magazine to campaign for girl’s education issues. Shujaaz is being distributed in all of the regions in Tanzania.
There is a shared understanding among Shujaaz fans that girls do not have enough time for reading and studies because of their chores. A lack of support often leads to child marriage and early pregnancy:

  • “Self-respect of girls should start from their homes. Parents need to prioritize on the needs of the girl child just like they do for their male counterparts”
  • “First the girl child should know what she wants, secondly our community should know the importance and value of the girl’s education, and help the girl child to go further in education”.
  • “Girls should have a stand, but the government should also announce great punishment to parents who do not let their girl child attend school”.