New initiative makes 6,000 girls achieve their dream of education

04Nov 2021
Correspondent
Serengeti
The Guardian
New initiative makes 6,000 girls achieve their dream of education

​​​​​​​A programme aimed at empowering secondary school girls to get an education without any problems has put thousands of girls at a better chance of realizing their education dreams in Serengeti and Bunda districts, Mara Region.

Grumeti fund community development manager, Frida Mollel, shows sanitary towels distributed to students who were empowered to achieve their educational dreams in Serengeti district recently. Photo: Guardian Correspondent

Grumeti Fund's Girls' Empowerment came into existence in 2018 after their study identified a number of barriers to educational dreams for girls.

Some of the challenges include oppressive traditions, such as FGM, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy as well as lack of female towels, a condition that caused many of them not to attend school during menstruation

The Grumeti Fund that supports conservation in the Ikorongo / Grumeti Game Reserve and community development in 22 neighboring villages has managed to alleviate these problems by enabling 6,000 female students to realize their value and the importance of education.

The implementation of the programme has witnessed the presence of concerts to enable girls from various schools in the districts to receive training to enable and encourage them to study hard to achieve their dreams. The programme has benefited 2,391 girls and 632 boys in the area.

"We are pleased that this year alone, we’ve been able to reach 2,391 girls and 632 boys from 12 schools. The aim of these concerts is to enable and inspire girls to achieve their educational dreams," said Frida Mollel, Grumeti Fund community development manager.

Frida said the concerts took place between May and October this year, with the programme for the first time taking the initiative to involve boys so that they could be part of the girls' success to achieve their dreams.

"We have seen fit to involve boys because they are part of the community so that they too can be part of the solution to the girls 'challenges," Frida said during the inauguration of the boys' festival at Issenye Secondary School in the Serengeti district recently.

University of Dar es Salaam lecturer Dr Chris Mauki urged the boys to be ambassadors to encourage their communities to abandon the notions that deprive a girl child of access to education and economic development.

Dr Mauki said empowering a girl child is not only the responsibility of the government and philanthropic institutions but of everyone in the community.

"Everyone should care for love, respect, and defend the girl child," she stressed.

According to Frida, the secondary schools reached in the first phase in May this year, are Serengeti, Issenye, Makundusi, Nagusi, Rigicha, and Nyichoka (Serengeti) and Hunyari and Chamriho (Bunda).

The second phase involved boys from Issenye, Rigicha and Nagusi secondary schools, while another recent festival involved 1,100 girls from Mugumu, Manchira, Ikoma and Sedeko secondary schools.

Handing over female towels to the 1,100 girls at a festival held at Mugumu Secondary School, Frida said the sanitary towels were reusable hence they can be used throughout the year.

"These towels are used throughout the year and as a Grumeti Fund we are happy to come up with a solution to the menstrual challenge which has been causing female students to miss school periods while they are menstruating," she said.

The students received more training and understanding about the effects of bad habits that could jeopardize their educational dreams, such as FGM.

One of the activists in Mara Region, Rhobi Samwelly urged the students to be at the forefront of opposing the tradition in their communities.

"Life is education, and not FGM," Rhobi said, adding that FGM is one of the biggest obstacles to the development of the girl child in the Mara region.

“Circumcision is a long-standing tradition. I myself was circumcised and after going through hardships I do not like to see girls being circumcised,” said Rhobi who is also the founder and director of Hope for Girls and Women in Tanzania (HGWT), she said

Rhonda Vetere from the US, who is one of the 10 women technology champions in the world, said: "Study hard so that you can achieve your dreams and not let anyone extinguish your dreams."

The students who participated in the concerts thanked the Grumeti Fund, saying the training they had received gave them the courage to stand up for their rights and study hard so that they could finally achieve their educational dreams and economic freedom.

A 17-year-old and Form Four from Nyichoka Secondary School Faraja Sospeter commended the fund for supporting girls with female towels saying: “These towels have motivated us to attend school without missing even during menstruation."

Jane Amos (16) of Form Three from Makundusi Secondary School also said the training has empowered her to overcome and overcome academic barriers, including FGM.

“This training has changed me; it has great benefits for me. Even these female towels will help us a lot to be modest, and they have taught us a good way to burn out expired, instead of throwing them away, ”Jane said.

Damali Misolo (17) of Form Four student from Serengeti Secondary School thanked Grumeti Fund saying: “I have benefited from the reproductive health education they have given us; they have built our confidence and overcome obstacles. I want to graduate and be a mentor to what we have been taught.” A male student, Magori Stephano, a Form Three student at Nagusi Secondary School, said: “This training has made me realize that all children; women and men have the same rights, both are entitled to education and care. Even with household chores, we have to support one another. 

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