Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Girl Empowerment through Education

My vision is to see a well-developed girl-child socially, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally with a high self-esteem. And I believe that girls can be empowered to stand for their rights through education.

The main barrier to education for girls in my community is the economic crises the country has been facing over the years. Besides the economic crises, Zimbabwe which is mainly an agro-based economy has had recurrent droughts over the past five years. The economic downturn has resulted in many families forcing their children out of school or transferring them to mediocre schools a situation that affects their ability to excel at Ordinary and Advanced levels. Unaffordable food prices, school fees and healthcare costs are forcing the household to compensate by reducing quality and quantity of the food consumed and reducing other “less essential” expenses (health and education). In most cases the girl child is one that is forced to drop out of school and engage in risky behaviour and in exploitative income generating activities such as forced prostitution and child labour to earn an income for the family.

One of the projects we have done as an organisation is to deliberately target the girl child through the goat pass on project. Girls in the community are selected to benefit from this project. They are given two goats each which they rear and when these goats have kids then the beneficiary passes it on to another girl child in the community. The proceeds that the children get from selling their goats are used to assist them to pay school fees and buy uniforms and stationery. We have also facilitated the establishment of income generating projects at various schools like poultry projects and nutrition gardens. The proceeds from selling the chickens and the vegetables also go towards paying school fees for girls.
At University level, the government due to the economic crises is no longer providing student grants to university students and this has led to most female students resorting to either prostitution or transactional sex for survival. According to the National AIDS Council as quoted in the Sunday News of 29 December 2012 there is a high incidence of HIV and sexual transmitted infections in the 15 to 24 age group in tertiary institutions of Zimbabwe.

Children and youth clubs have been established where they are taught on life skills, including decision making, assertiveness, confidence, children rights and adolescent sexual reproductive health. Girls also get to play rest and relax when they attend these children’s clubs meetings as they do most of the chores at home without much time to play or study. Parents are not left out. They have their own clubs where they meet weekly and discuss various issues that affect them and their children and come up with solutions to their problems. These are also the clubs that do incomes, savings and lending’s which as an organisation we have termed self help groups. These are usually groups of 15 women that meet weekly and teach each other on how to start businesses. They also access loans to start businesses from their savings clubs.

The other barrier that has been noted in my community is the long distances to schools. Zimbabwean women generally have a high illiteracy rate due to the fact that secondary schools are far away from one another (an average of about 15-25km away). The ratio of secondary schools to primary schools in most rural Matabeleland is 1:6. On the other hand when it comes to primary education, according to the PASS report 27% of pupils in Matabeleland leave further away from primary schools, that is they walk more than 5 kms to school. This poses a risk for the girls as they may risk being sexually abused along the way. Sexual abuse cases are high in Zimbabwe and it is perpetrated amongst young powerless girls. One of the projects that we are currently doing as an organisation is raising awareness on child sexual abuse amongst girls and encouraging them to report abuse cases. We use the children’s clubs as a platform for our awareness campaigns. The children are encouraged to walk in groups on their way to school, with other children’s club members. I am a trained facilitator of child friendly tools that can be used when working with children to raise their self esteem and to be assertive. These are the artistic self expression tools like puppetry, poetry, dance, drama and drawing. The tools are utilised to develop the child’s life skills. Through these tools children have been able to report abuse cases. Self-confidence and assertiveness has increased which helps to ward off some of the perpetrators.

Through this forum I believe we will cover some strides in helping girls to access education.

Downloads

Comments

MyrtleG's picture

Empowering tomorrow's leaders

Dear Sunga,

You have managed to contextualise young girls situation in your country and Africa as a whole, succinctly.

Thank you for sharing the good work your engaged in and vision for our future leaders.

In Faith,
Myrtle

Myrtle Adams-Gardner

Sunga's picture

Dear Myrtle Greetings. Thank

Dear Myrtle

Greetings. Thank you Myrtle for the comments, am inspired!

Sunga

Sunga- What amazing and truly great opportunities your programs are providing. Although it is heartbreaking to read of the lengths girls feel they must go to in order to survive (takes one's breath away), and to procure a such a basic right as an education, I am filled with hope because of these amazing and positive programs. You are demonstrating persistence and overcoming in the midst of a true national crisis. It is because of women like you who show incredible compassion and innovation who are paving a way for school age girls becoming women. Thank you and many blessings to you for giving yourself to this work.

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

Sunga's picture

Thank you Michelle for your

Thank you Michelle for your motivating comments. Lets continue the good work.

Peace and hope indeed!

Sunga

mikabo's picture

VOF Listener

Thank you Sunga,

This was a very well written and inspiring essay. You describe the issues and also the actions being taken to create solutions. You also describe your own participation -- well done. One thing I would like to see in your writing is a personal example or story -- someone that experienced what you are describing, or perhaps your own story?
This is a strategic method that helps to bring the reader into a more empathic state in order to really feel the issues you describe.

Over all very well done!

Thank you for your voice.

In Gratitude,

MiKaBo

Sunga's picture

Hi MiKaBo Thank you for your

Hi MiKaBo

Thank you for your coments. I have so many stories to share, but I will share with you three success stories. We have two youths that went through our education program that are now at University sudying Development Studies and they both chose to come to our organisation for their college internship.

We also have one of the ladies from our self help group that wone a prize for best farmer at the recent ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fare.

There is a group of youths that were unemployed and struggling that we trained in vocational skills, now they have their own shops for dress making, welding, beadwork. The stories are endless.

Regards

Sunga

mikabo's picture

Thank you for your leadership

Dear Sunga,

You are such an inspiration! I feel that with all the trouble in the world -- created by systems that have become destructive or obsolete -- we in the West must now understand that the answers and innovations that will have the most impact are going to come from people like yourself and the organizations you create. Women in developing nations are the ones to watch! You are the innovators, the "game changers" and the most powerful people on the planet today.
Your own experience has taught you to seize opportunities, create partnerships with your local communities and break the rules of patriarchal convention -- (because this is no longer healthy for the community). We look to you for leadership now. The old ways are over (although some do not realize this, your success will bare that out...).
I am very proud to connect with you and I thank you for helping us all by being a leader.

Very sincerely yours,

MiKaBo

Aurore's picture

Well-written!

This is a wonderfully-written piece! I find your style very journalistic and I like the mix of factual information and personal experience and input.
congrats!
Aurore

Sunga's picture

Dear Aurore

Thank you for the inspiring comments.

Stay motivated!

Sunga

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Letters to a Better World

Letters to a Better World

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

womenspace's picture

CAMBODIA: Ordinary Women Can Make a Difference

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative