Learner Guides are young women from marginalized backgrounds, who were themselves once vulnerable to exclusion from education, but they are now working to keep more girls in their communities in school.
Speaking at a function to hand over certificates of recognition to young women Learner Guides in acknowledgement of their support to vulnerable students at Kilakala secondary school in Morogoro Region over the weekend, Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Selemani Jafo said the program is worthy of government support.
During the event, 70 young women represented Camfed Learner Guides from across 32 districts and 9 regions across the country.
“We are working together to see how it can reach more students in schools throughout the country. Our nation can achieve its Development Vision 2025, which describes a nation of citizens with a positive mindset, and a culture which cherishes human development through hard work, professionalism, entrepreneurship, creativity, innovativeness and ingenuity”, Jafo said in his speech read by Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Loata Sanare.
Jafo added: “Your efforts and commitment are highly appreciated. We recommend you continue to do this good work.”
He said that Learner Guides identify children who are at risk of school drop-out, and link them to additional support from school officials and local authorities.
The minister noted that the linkage is important to students, their families, and the wider community, as a reduction of school dropouts is key to the development of the nation.
He said the collaboration between Camfed and the government will help to create new pathways of civic engagement for young people in their transition from school to the workforce, while improving quality and access to education for marginalized students and mobilizing community engagement.
Jafo noted that during school closures as a result of the Cpvid-19 pandemic, Learner Guides supported students in many innovative ways including delivery of life skills lessons over local radio, and the distribution of printed study materials.
The Learner Guides continued to run small, socially distanced study groups, and mentored girls to ensure they don’t lose hope, Minister Jafo stated.
Camfed Tanzania National Director, Lydia Wilbard said that the ‘My Better World’ programme builds skills such as self-confidence, effective communication and problem-solving, which are foundational for employability, both formal and self-employment.
“Since Learner Guides are from the communities they serve, they are able to relate to pupils on a personal level and inspire them with a concrete demonstration of leadership and confidence,” said Wilbard.
She said that since its establishment in 2005, Camfed Tanzania has supported more than 683,439 children to attend and succeed at school, with a focus on marginalized girls at the secondary school level and 1,580 tertiary students were supported.
Wilbard stated that by the end of 2019, an additional 316,196 secondary students have been supported through the philanthropy of women leaders in the Camfed Association and their community members.
A total of 26,376 young women who have completed secondary school with Camfed’s support have joined the Camfed Association of women leaders.
Women under the association are provided with leadership and entrepreneurship training, and volunteer programmes. These initiatives help them build important skills and knowledge that empower them to improve future opportunities for themselves as well as their families and communities.
One of the Learner Guides, Maria Kamanda from Iringa Region said that through the learner guide program she has been able to help not only children at school, but also increased her confidence and ability.
“I am now more confident to fight for my goals. I currently own different businesses including money transfer agents, and restaurant.” Maria said.
Camfed works in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, President’s Office - Regional Administrative and Local Government and the Ministry of Labor, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disability to explore possibilities of adapting Camfed’s Learner Guide programme towards supporting the goals of the specific ministries.