“Teamwork is dream work.” This is the charming way that Binti Shupavu Mentor, Esuvat Sangeti, describes her interactions with her colleagues at Girls Livelihood and Mentoring Initiative (or GLAMI), which is AfricAid’s program implementation partner in Tanzania.
The Binti Shupavu team consists of 28 superwomen in two locations in Northern Tanzania, Arusha and Moshi. This exemplary group dedicated to mentoring girls includes 22 Mentors, two Managers, two Assistant Managers, and two Social Workers. Together, they serve about 4,800 Scholars at 22 school with lessons and activities to bolster life skills and confidence.
Important Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team quickly shifted its approach to maintain contact with the Scholars remotely. READ MORE
The Binti team believes that each individual is unique and makes her own special contribution to the team. The members bring special qualities and skills, such as – great networkers, perfectionists, good editors, public speakers, event planners, negotiators, problem solvers, leaders, peacemakers, and artists. Together, they are a force! They are a group of committed and hardworking young women who have a passion to serve and give back to the community.
This is actually a unique phenomenon in Tanzania, where the status quo has been that a group of women cannot work effectively together. The belief is that women cannot work together because they will end up fighting each other… that they do not like seeing one be more successful than the rest. Men (and some women too) say women can’t accomplish a task because they will waste time talking, back biting etc.
“When they see us young women working together, some people react with surprise. To other people, we are an inspiration. They get to know that it is possible for women to be working together and be able to accomplish whatever goal they have set,” explains Binti Shupavu Project Manager, Asimwe Suedi.
The Binti team welcomed four new Mentors in 2020, while 18 Mentors had their one-year contracts renewed. An additional Social Worker was added to the team to help address the wide-ranging issues that this large number of adolescent girls faces. Ndiini Kidoko, Kisa Alumna and former Kisa Mentor, has become Assistant Social Worker and Community Liaison. Ndiini shares how one of her Kisa Scholars found the courage to become a leader at school.
Important Note: During the Coronavirus crisis, toll-free numbers to reach the Social Workers were provided to the Scholars.
Binti Shupavu generally draws from Kisa Project Alumnae for employment, and this year is no exception. Three of the four young women have previous experience as participants in GLAMI’s two-year leadership program designed for upper level secondary school girls. So, there is an advantageous sense of familiarity, but also an injection of positive energy with the new team members.
New Binti Mentor and 2015 Kisa Alumna, Wivini Mtende, has had significant mentoring experience at two other organizations. Clearly, it is her passion! Read Wivini’s Story.
Anande Urassa says, “Giving a hand of hope to these vulnerable girls is something I have desired since I was a Kisa Scholar and benefited from having a Mentor.”
Teamwork, integrity, and a culture of open and honest feedback has kept the team intact. Commitment to excellent, resilience, and willingness to learn is what makes the team outstanding.
Internal and external trainings make the team knowledgeable and professional, and on track to accomplish short and long-term goals. All members receive training in a variety of key areas: class management, counseling, mentoring, and how to teach budgeting and saving. Peer training sessions (where colleagues research and present personal growth topics to each other) are often part of regular staff meetings and include: creating a vision board, being proactive, problem solving skills, giving and receiving positive, constructive feedback, and blog writing.
All members have the opportunity to learn by doing when it comes to event planning and management. Each year, thousands of parents attend Parent Engagement Meetings. In 2019, the team organized the first ever Opportunity Day for Binti Alumnae.
Two of the team’s favorite mottos are:
- To whom much is given, much is expected.
- If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.
Binti Shupavu is a four-year life skills course for lower secondary school girls covering topics such as study skills, personal leadership, health and self-confidence with the goal of increasing graduation rates for vulnerable girls.