The roads were long and dusty, and there was a glare in the afternoon light. The surroundings were beautiful. The Tanzanian traffic police were very active, stopping us a couple of times over the course of the day to check our car papers. Hours out of town, the internet network was not strong enough for Google maps. We became lost a couple of times. Asking for shortcuts to the schools we needed to visit, one of the local people made us smile as he said “Just go straight with the tarmac road until you see the tarmac road.”
I am the Kisa Project Manager of the Kilimanjaro Region and Asimwe Suedi is the Binti Shupavu Project Manager, also based in Moshi. Together, Asimwe and I went on a reconnaissance trip to three potential new Kisa Partner Schools in Siha District outside Moshi. This was part of our plan to expand the Kisa Project in Kilimanjaro with four additional schools. The day’s plan was to visit the Heads of Schools and for our Driver Asanta to find the best way to drop our Mentors off at the three schools along this one very long winding road.
AfricAid set the strategy to reach more girls in Tanzania last year. Taking into consideration AfricAid’s ability to put staff on the ground, preference is given to rural schools, government boarding schools, schools with few resources and limited programs, and schools with administrative and government support. Plus. there was a strong request from our Kisa Alumnae for an expansion of the program into rural areas where there are so few opportunities for school girls.
Tumaini Kimaro, a Kisa Alumna who now volunteers in the AfricAid office, recommended the schools in Siha, which would be a new District for the Moshi office. We determined that the Siha District schools met all our criteria when considering potential new locations for our programs. Tumaini explains two reasons why these schools need Kisa:
“Magadini Ward is populated with different tribes, but the dominant one is Maasai. In this society, girls are often forbidden to go to school because they are forced to get married. I proposed the Kisa Project be established in this ward because it will educate girls about their basic rights, empower them and they will use the knowledge acquired from this project to educate their parents and the entire society as well.”
Tumaini knows these communities well since she is from this area and did her field training for her BA in education there. She continues: “At Oshara Secondary School, many girls live with their uneducated grandparents and lack good guidance from well-educated parents. I believe the Kisa Project would transform girls’ minds and give them self-control over their own lives. They will know their value and focus on making their dreams come true. “
We are proud to announce that AfricAid is expanding its Kisa leadership program by the eight schools listed below. In all, Kisa now operates in 25 Partner Schools in 9 Districts. This expansion will allow 395 more young girls to experience the benefits of the Kisa program. 1,748 Scholars will receive valuable mentoring, which is an increase of 29% over the previous year.
There is a greater demand for positions in Moshi Region so there will be more sessions added there, and the classes will be bigger. For this current expansion, Moshi has tended to focus on rural schools and Arusha more on peri-urban schools (i.e. the area adjacent to town).
- Nuru Secondary School
- Magadini Secondary School
- Oshara Secondary School
- Msangeni Secondary School
- Mlangarini Secondary School
- Mwandet Secondary School
- Mringa Secondary School
- Arusha Girls Secondary School
Starting new programs in schools has been a surprisingly smooth process because both the schools and the local governments happily welcomed this opportunity for their girls. We were encouraged by the Heads of Schools’ reactions to including them in the implementation process. They were also eager to have AfricAid’s Binti Shupavu program introduced to their younger girls, and they want their teachers to be involved in the sessions as well.
Our visit out to our new Partner Schools was a long day and we were tired but fulfilled when we finally made it home in the dark. We had seen beautiful countryside and had taken nice photos. We even bought fish from a local lake called Nyumba ya Mungu (House of God). We were very encouraged by the positive response we had received from the schools. For the Mentors from the Moshi office, the journey we took today will now be repeated every Tuesday, as we run five sessions in these three new schools. AfricAid’s influence in empowering young girls continues to expand.
This giant leap in Scholars means that there are more opportunities for people to support and get to know these girls. Are you interested in becoming a Kisa Sponsor?
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