Gender clubs in empowering girls
School clubs are an intervention to support students, especially girls, to develop their own voice to address their learning and welfare issues, build confidence and foster greater collaboration and understanding between girls and boys. The clubs help students to address the issues they want to raise amongst themselves, from learning, to welfare at school and the home environment. The clubs are aimed at supporting participation and empowerment of boys and especially girls in primary schools.
In Kasino Primary School (Rorya, Mara) Elizabeth Sombe’s mother refused for her to go to school. Through gender empowerment (JUU) clubs, fellow students discussed it and consulted teachers and parents who went and talked to her mother. Elizabeth came back to school and sat her Standard 7 examination last year.
Students with special needs are also involved in gender JUU club activities to create equality and cooperation among pupils.
“Juster Malima” is a special education student and a member of the gender club Mara region
At Mazoezi Primary School, in Bunda, Mara there are 25 students with special needs enrolled under the special education, these pupils receive a special diet meal from the capitation grants. However, due to some social and economic difficulties only 10 pupils can attend the classes.
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.
Use of comics’ books from Shujaaz magazine to campaign for girl’s education issues.
EQUIP-T has partnered with Shujaaz magazine to campaign for girl’s education issues. Shujaaz is being distributed in all of the regions in Tanzania.
Analysis and comments from Shujaaz’s fans
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”.
Parent Teacher Partnerships (PTPs) supporting girls’ aspiration and attendance
A number of stories highlighting the positive role PTPs have played in supporting girls’ education have been shared across the EQUIP-T regions.
In Chemba District, parents prevented their children from taking exams, asking them to fail purposely so that girls could get married and boys could continue helping the family with income-generating activities. PTPs in all schools conducted sensitisation meetings with parents and educated them on the importance of education.
“Every year, girls performance was very poor in this school, while we were thinking on what to do, we talked to girls in school and it was realized that the main obstacle for success were parents, we had to use PTP and School Committee to talk and educate fellow parents to understand the great need of educating girls. Last year 25 girls passed compared to 9 girls last year” Mwasala WEC in Nzega district.
At Kilulu Primary School (Simiyu), “it was observed that the issue of menstrual hygiene was affecting girls’ education. Most girls did not attend school during their menstrual period every month due to unavailability of safe and private girl’s toilets. Community, through PTP involvement, were able to build two toilets with special facilities for disposal of sanitary towels” Kanali Msesi (Ward Education Coordinator).
In Dodoma, the parents of a girl in Standard 4 prevented her from taking the exam. The PTP spoke to the family about the importance of educating girls and she was allowed to take the exam.