Helping Girls Stay in School
by Ngaire McCubben, Program Development Coordinator
Girls in Tanzania drop out of school at an alarming rate. Hundreds of thousands are forced out every year by factors such as poverty, pregnancy, lack of parental support, peer pressure and failing to do well on exams. The onset of adolescence is a particularly vulnerable time for girls. Yet without an adequate education, these girls will never reach their full potential. They will continue to live in poverty and the cycle of impoverishment will be perpetuated to the next generation.
With this in mind, our board in Tanzania instigated research into a new program for younger, more vulnerable, more rural girls. Binti Shupavu (‘courageous daughters’), as the program came to be known, is a four-year life skills training and mentoring program, with ambitions to change educational outcomes for tens of thousands of girls across Tanzania.
A small team of staff (Eligrania Lema and Ngaire McCubben) spent most of 2016 researching and developing the program, with support from AfricAid’s partner organization FT Kilimanjaro. This January, we commenced piloting the program with 800 girls, at 10 secondary schools in Northern Tanzania. The program is being led by Ms. Asimwe Suedi (pictured above L-R are Salma, Irene, Violeth, Asimwe and Theresia), supported by a team of Binti Shupavu Mentors, all of whom are graduates from our highly successful leadership program, the Kisa Project.
Binti Shupavu aims to build confidence, resilience, and the determination to succeed, no matter what. Girls will learn how to be focused, committed and proactive. They will learn to believe in themselves, as they develop the skills to overcome the many challenges that will inevitably confront them on their educational journey, and beyond. With the support of her Binti Shupavu Mentor, each girl will develop her own personal strategies to stay in and finish secondary school.
We look forward to bringing you regular updates on this exciting new program.