Celebrating the Power of Girls
Michelle Obama once said, “When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous.” Just imagine how rich all countries could be if girls were provided education equally and how women could add value to their countries’ economies by being employed or employing themselves. “Inequality in education is yet another fixable issue that is costing the world trillions,” explains World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, “It is time to close the gender gap in education and give girls and boys an equal chance to succeed, for the good of everyone.”
As we celebrate International Day of the Girl Child today, everyone should understand that our communities will have the best chance to improve if girls are helped to discover, develop, and utilize their potential. This year’s theme, developed by the United Nations, is With Her: A Skilled GirlForce. In a special message for the day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urges: “Although the number of girls attending school is the highest ever, many are still not getting the skills necessary for lifelong success. On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit to supporting every girl to develop her skills, enter the workforce on equal terms and reach her full potential.”
AfricAid’s Kisa Scholars have well demonstrated not only the positive impacts of acquiring formal education but also the importance of additional leadership, life skills, and entrepreneurship training that help girls to be the best possible job candidates or able to start their own businesses. For younger girls in Binti Shupavu, activities include mapping hopes and dreams, creating a personal strategy for success, and overcoming obstacles with inner strength. For older girls in Kisa Project, there is an entire unit devoted to entrepreneurial topics such as budgeting, networking, and how to write business or project plans.
In addition to the weekly classroom sessions, Kisa Scholars participate in other value-added projects, including Year 1 Presentations, 2 Day Challenge, and Career Day. These are where job readiness reaches the next level! “Kisa exposed me to meet people with different careers who inspired me to work hard in school and achieve my goals,” shares Kisa Alumnae and Binti Shupavu Project Manager Chausiku Mkuya. “Through Kisa I learned how to grab opportunities that come my way and find those that have to be found. It prepares me to have a sense of uniqueness and be confident when going to job interviews.”
While personal leadership and empowerment is fundamental to a girl’s success, the impact reaches far beyond the individual girl to her family and the entire community.
A Second Mistress (Assistant Principal) at one of our Partner Schools, Moringe Sokoine, Ms. Juliana Enock, explains that there is a need to educate girls if we want to see changes in our country. “It is easy for an educated girl to be employed or employ herself, as they also become independent and are able to identify different opportunities. As future mothers, they become very responsible, contribute to the economic wellbeing of their families and will always make sure they play a big role in educating their children.” Ms. Juliana added that, “As for myself, I couldn`t get this position if I were not educated.”
Kisa Alumnae are securing jobs because they are more unique than other applicants, resulting in winning the job interviews, and they prove to employers that they are the best qualified, earning them the position. Others are creating their own jobs: 26% of Kisa Alumnae have already started a business and 50% plan to do so in the future. Just a few of our entrepreneurs include Mai, who is selling porridge in a creative, new way; Nengarivo and Winfrida, who are turning their passion for hairstyling and make-up into a paycheck; and Hajra, who is solving a community problem of lack of fresh water and earning money at the same time by selling fruit juice and drinking water.
Mr. George William, AfricAid’s Assistant Liaison* at Makumira Secondary School said, “Helping and empowering girls is very important for the well-being of the community. For instance, if you take girls to school we produce doctors, business women, entrepreneurs etc., who will come back to the community and utilize what they learned in school. Doctors will help in health sectors, while entrepreneurs will start companies that will employ large percent of people in the community.”
*and the only male acting in this position system-wide
It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a whole other group of people that is benefitting largely from AfricAid: the young women who are employed in one to two-year contracts as Kisa and Binti Shupavu Mentors. These Mentors, the majority of whom are Kisa graduates, are receiving practical, hands-on training and continuous feedback. This makes them very marketable employees when their contracts end and they are successfully moving on to other organizations and businesses with tremendous job experience under their belts.
Community transformation isn’t just a dream. People should invest in it and enhance everyone on earth to actively participate in all development activities, and the foundation for this is the provision of education to both girls and boys. When girls are empowered, we increase the number of confident girls in the community, girls who are able to stand up for their rights, become decision makers and contribute in social, political, and economic sectors.
Esther, a Senior Kisa Mentor who grew up in a place that does not believe in educating girls would like to say something now to her community and others like it all over the world: “I see girls becoming individual assets to the development of their families and communities in ten years to come, but only if these girls are given a chance to go to school.”
Watch Kisa Mentor Einoth Justin make a case for educating girls in this video!
AfricAid mentors secondary school girls in Tanzania to complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities. We equip girls to overcome challenges and reach their full potential because educated girls create lasting positive change. The outcome is resilient, proactive and socially-responsible girls who secure better jobs, raise healthier families and increase the standing of women in society.