SOMA seeking society’s change of mindset on girls education

02Apr 2021
Francis Kajubi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
SOMA seeking society’s change of mindset on girls education

​​​​​​​READERSHIP for Learning and Development (SOMA) Institute in Dar es Salaam through its ‘Hadithizetu’ programme has picked Gwantwa Lucas to undergo a project on challenges facing young girls in pursuing education to levels of their dreams.

Gwantwa Lucas presents her script idea for a pilot project on girls’ rights to education before a panel of judges in Dar es Salaam mid this week. Photo courtesy of SOMA.

Funded by Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) the programme targets at ending silenced voices of young girls especially from rural areas by exposing challenges they face in pursuing education that is portrayed in the form of poems, animations, radio drama, paintings and story writing so as to bring about mindset changes in communities.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam mid this week, SOMA Executive Director, Demere Kitunga said youth girls go through a lot of discouragements from the families and communities in pursuing education hence denying them their fundamental right.

“Though there is progress made in realizing young girls’ rights, but still a lot of effort needs to be done by bringing more stories to the mainstream media on new challenges arising in the society that set impediments on young girls’ prosperity,” Kitunga said.

“In uprooting the mindset of female discrimination, creativity for transmitting feminist stories from the grass level is of crucial importance,” she added while noting that last August SOMA invited young female artists for a competition of which they were required to chip-in ideas on today’s major setbacks on young girls in the process of pursuing their education. After going through the entries, 12 artists were shortlisted of which five were picked to undergo training and implement their ideas.

“The appointed judges have gone through all pilot projects and have decided that her project be implemented,” she said noting that all five projects were qualified but Gwantwa Lucas’ entry seem to have easy access to the general public with a special focus on decision makers.

The SOMA Executive Director further added that visual arts and literature are a living tool in the fight against discrimination towards young girls and women in rural areas hence through the funded programme, decision makers will be made to understand new challenges facing the group in the digitized world.

“Lucas will now be funded to make her project on families’ mindset towards girls. New narratives are required especially for the silenced and victimized ones so as to bring awareness of what is still going on in our homes and the society,” she affirmed.

Commenting after being announced as winner, Gwantwa, who currently works with Seasoning Palet as an accountant, said that her pilot project was called Fatuma, a play that explains the mindset of some families in intimidating girls into getting married.

“Fatuma is a play about a young woman who has graduated but wants to pursue her further studies but needs to be married first before she proceeds with higher education,” she said adding that in the play, Fatuma’s parents believe that she can’t make it on her own without being married first.

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