Liaison is not a new word to read in most AfricAid blog posts. At the end of February, one of the blog posts was about Kisa Liaison training. Binti Shupavu Liaisons also received valuable training in early 2018. AfricAid’s two programs, the Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu, run at different times during the week and sometimes in separate schools. Therefore, each AfricAid Partner School assigns one teacher or matron as a Binti Shupavu Liaison just as Kisa does. The significant role that Liaisons play in helping the program run efficiently has been critical to the success of both initiatives.
Binti Shupavu’s expansion in 2018 has led to two Binti Shupavu Liaison trainings running separately with different agendas. The program has recently been implemented in ten new schools in the Arusha Region. All ten new Binti Shupavu Liaisons attended the Arusha session (pictured above) and were happy to fully understand the objectives and curriculum in detail. Liaisons have always felt more confident after gaining comprehensive information about AfricAid. The closer relationships that are formed with AfricAid staff through these meetings also results in increased cooperation.
Chausiku Mkuya, Arusha Binti Shupavu Project Manager said, ‘’After the Liaison training I am looking forward to seeing more Liaisons support the program as they now understand areas of assistance AfricAid needs from them. I am also hoping that Liaisons will be good ambassadors in spreading positive attitude on girls’ education.”
In the Kilimanjaro Region, where Binti Shupavu was launched last year, Liaisons already had a better understanding of the program. In early 2018, eight Binti Shupavu Liaisons and eight Mentors were trained on child education support. The professional facilitator helped the trainees understand children’s needs based on their gender and provided techniques to help improve children’s self-esteem, life skills and well being. Teachers in Tanzania are not often privileged to attend such trainings. Liaisons appreciated AfricAid for the opportunity saying it will not only help Binti Shupavu Scholars, but benefit every student the Liaisons teach. AfricAid believes in the power of empowering all children, therefore the training was worthwhile for both Liaisons and Mentors.
Liaisons reported some noticeable changes in the Partner Schools where the program has been running for over a year. More parents are engaging in their daughters’ education and there are fewer number of pregnancy cases. Madam Pamela, a Binti Shupavu Liaison said, ’’ In my school, girls have become open, and I receive questions about concerns that most girls in my community feel shy to tell anyone.”
In both trainings, Liaisons and Mentors shared challenges each side comes across during Binti Shupavu’s implementation, and the group came up with sustainable solutions. One of the good things about the Liaison training is the opportunity for Liaisons and Mentors to work together to find the best ways for how the program can effectively support girls.
One of the challenges mentioned from last year’s Binti Shupavu Liaison training was lack of cooperation from Partner School staff. Since the beginning of 2018, Binti Shupavu Project Managers have been facilitating a number of staff meetings in Partner Schools to involve teachers and explain the program. In all meetings there have been interesting questions and good recommendations.
Asimwe Suedi, Kilimanjaro Binti Shupavu Project Manager said, ‘’ In all of the staff meetings I have facilitated so far, I am impressed with male teachers’ eagerness to understand the program and share their opinions on how the program can improve.’’
It is important that Liaisons and teachers in Partner Schools are familiar with what we do. It is also vital that we demonstrate good working relationships with more stakeholders as we mutually rely on each other. In the end, the more education stakeholders are provided, the more girls are supported.