Representatives of school girls from some of the schools in Kilwa and Singida Rural districts have met with decision makers and education stakeholder in their areas to demand their right of having improved sanitary facilities in schools.
The event was organised by ActionAid Tanzania(AATZ )in collaboration with KINGONET and MEDO in the Global Action Week for Education(GAWE)climax week and took place in Kilwa and Singida Districts respectively. Girls from 3 schools of Kilwa(Kikanda, Masoko and Nangurukuru) and 3 schools of Singida Rural(Mtinko, Azimio,Mgori) represented other girls in the project targeted schools.Other participants were government officers, members of parliament, School Management Committees(SMCs) representatives, Village leaders’ representatives, Education stakeholders and teachers representatives.
The meeting was a continuation of a series of activities to advocate for challenges identified in the baseline survey undertaken in Kilwa and Singida Rural which revealed that girls are suffering a number of disadvantages compared to boys thus lowering their performance in their national examinations.
The report shows that girls are subjected to many forms of violence, early marriage, pregnancy, domestic chores and lack of sanitation facilitates in most schools.
The aim of the forum was to facilitate children to engage with decision makers and other stakeholders at district level and raise their voices on the need for improved hygienic infrastructures at schools and related issues as per required standards. Also it was aimed to enable education stakeholders discuss and agree on the way forward towards addressing this challenge.
In the event, children presented their concerns using songs, poems, role plays, and special message which reflected the nature of hygienic infrastructures and its impact to their school life including truancy, poor performance, feeling shy and uncomfortability. Other issues were importance of female teachers in schools etc
In Kilwa District, the forum was honoured by the District commissioner (DC) Hon Christopher Ngubiagai who appreciated AATZ and Kingonet for their efforts in taking education agenda forward. He also commended the unique methodology especially the use of the survey findings which revealed the real situation in the ground. “AATZ, Kingonet and other CSOs have done their part in supporting and reminding the government.. Now its time for the district and its departments to take their responsibilities towards the improvement of education.” insisted the DC
n Singida, the District Council chairman Hon Elia Digha who officiated the event had the following to say. ”We have been capacitated for a long time by this organisations…Now its time to act..I am requesting all village leaders and School management Committees to prepare an action plan to make sure all this 30 school have quality toilets”.
After hearing the children concerns participants had a chance to reflect and discuss and some of the wayfoward actions were; Government and its departments to take its responsibilities to ensure that they implement its plans accordingly, Effective implementations of hygienic infrastructures not only in school but also at family level, School management committees to seat with teachers and agree on how to address challenges facing their schools, fair distribution of teachers especially female teachers, Effective collection and distribution of resources including returning the 20% to the villages, Enhance community participation in planning and implementation of plans for their children’s wellbeing, School management committees to work with village leadership to ensure communities are aware of the challenges facing their schools and implement the plans from schools etc.
ActionAid and its partners are implementing Promoting Quality Education through Progressive Domestic Resource Mobilisation project with the aim of ensuring that children especially girls access improved quality free education by addressing those challenges through increased fair tax revenue. Its a three years project funded through NORAD.