IN Tanzania, CAMFED is among educational institutions which have been in the forefront in partnering with the government in helping girls to meet their educational dreams and expectations.
CAMFED provides financial, material and social support to the most marginalised girls to ensure they access and progress through education. The support also extends to vocational and tertiary students, and aims to tackle poverty and inequality by supporting girls to go to school, thrive, and become role models and leaders of change in their communities.
In 2020, CAMFED Tanzania supported 50,622 marginalised children in secondary schools and 3,546 in tertiary and vocational studies. The programmes have been supported by partner communities, spearheaded by members of the CAMFED Association of women leaders educated with CAMFED support.
Africa CAMFED Executive Director Ms Angeline Murimirwa says her organisation had supported 316,196 marginalised children in secondary schools by the beginning of 2020. “Our young leaders and community champions use their own resources to reach out to even more girls, identifying those who are ‘invisible’ to local authorities,” she says.
She explains that her organisation has been supporting the government’s efforts towards improving access to learning materials in schools such as self-study guides, mathematics and English curriculum books. “We believe in quality education (life and learning skills) coupled with social support and mentoring,” she notes.
The organisation has been supporting alternative learning pathways for girls pushed out of the system, enrolling them into a six-month transition programme, and supporting them to repeat examinations, take the Qualifying Test (QT), or access Folk Development Colleges (FDCs).
CAMFED developed Learner Guides, the curriculum which is designed to increase self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-confidence among marginalised girls (and boys, who also take part in the sessions), which in return increases students’ participation in class and attendance.
Murimirwa says that the Learner Guides support vulnerable children using their own lived experience, track attendance, and work with other community structures to keep girls safe and learning. The President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) has officially recognized Learner Guides for their support of vulnerable students.
CAMFED Learner Guides have been key to keeping girls safe and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic across our countries of operation.
“We also partner with schools to create or develop additional support structures for marginalised students at school and community level, which respond to students’ emerging needs and the personal challenges that may obstruct their learning and attendance. She explained,” she says.
They have been using different models, including training at least one teacher at each partner school as Teacher Mentors, who provide psychosocial support and guidance to marginalised girls, and work closely with CAMFED Learner Guides. Also, call together parents’ support groups, which provide material and financial support to students, track attendance, and mobilise the community to support and improve the school’s learning environment.
Community Development Committees (CDCs) are formed by local Government officials from different departments at the district level, consisting of stakeholders in girls’ education. CAMFED Association also supports young women with business training and access to loans, as well as collaborating with government and private institutions to open up internship and employment opportunities.
They have been working hand in hand with community members, including renovation and/or building of classrooms, and provision of toilets, desks, and hostels, which aimed at improving the learning environment for all students.
The CAMFED identified several challenges faced by the education sector in the country including the availability of adequate infrastructure and facilities to facilitate the provision of quality education (Classrooms, desks, teacher houses, toilets, libraries, dormitories, and laboratories).
As an organisation they have been using the Community Engagement Model where community members take the primary role in addressing education challenges in their areas. CAMFED hopes to have a community in which every child is educated, protected, respected and valued; the theme that will be achieved through community and Government engagement and collaborations.
She noted that the life skills and psychosocial support they provide to students aimed at increasing their chances of transitioning to a secure and fulfilling livelihood, and paying forward the benefits of their education as responsible citizens in service to others.
CAMFED Tanzania was launched in 2005, working with the government to boost secondary school enrolment. It started working in the town of Iringa, where many girls who could not afford secondary school fees were leaving home to become “house girls” in urban centres.
The luminaries hope to inspire educators, philanthropists and policymakers who share their passion to positively contribute to and transform education to benefit future generations and society.