My name is Ashura Issa , I’m 25 years old and I have a BA in Project Planning, Management, and Community Development from the University of Dodoma. I have worked with Restless Development since 2008 – first as a volunteer in Ilongo Village in Mbeya and then in Namabengo Ward in Ruvuma. Now I’m an Assistant Programme Coordinator Intern in the Girls Leadership Programme in Ruvuma where I help oversee the operation of the Volunteer Peer Educators (VPEs) and the activities of the Girl’s Groups. I have learned so much already! I have participated in implementing different activities aiming at empowering girls.
I have helped educate girls on the ‘return to school after delivery’ policy and have reached out to pregnant girls in order to help them to continue with their studies after delivering. I have been building capacity in girls regarding different issues, such as entrepreneurship, livelihood and employment, and sexual reproductive health in order to improve their skills, knowledge, and confidence. I’m enjoying my work and am inspired everyday by the young women and girls we are training. Recently we completed trainings and assisted with the formation of the Girl’s Groups. The girls I work with are very optimistic about their lives once they are educated because they know their rights and want to empower others to feel the same. I will be so happy when I see young women and girls have the ability to make informed choices on sexual reproductive health and rights, have the confidence to participate in civic engagements, and are no longer economically dependent on their families but are entrepreneurs themselves! I look forward to following up with the Groups in the months to come and even after my contract is finished in September 2013.
UPDATES FROM THE FIELD
Training & Girl’s Group Formation: A four-day Girls Leadership Training session took place in early April; it included 30 girls from three different regions: Msindo, Nakapanya, and Mkumbi. The trainings highlighted four important areas: leadership, sexual reproductive health and rights, entrepreneurship and employment, and life skills. At the end of the training, each district formed its own pilot Girl’s Group; we planned to visit them in one months’ time to catch their progress...
GIRLS LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: SITE VISITS May 2013 !
In Msindo, 15 girls have joined the group “Ushirikiano Group.” They have already drafted a group constitution and selected their chair person, secretary, and treasurer. Currently, they are in process of registering their group. To ensure member commitment, each member must contribute 5,000=/ Tsh to join; they have used this investment to open a small restaurant, and start a garden and farming activities. Lastly, they have begun forming meetings and seminars to educate fellow girls on sexual reproductive health and rights, entrepreneurship, and girls leadership in their community.!
In Nakapanya, 11 girls have joined the group and they meet weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. They have started a soap business, a small chicken coop, and a goat project. They have also been cooperating with a community action group for establish a groundnuts farm where they have already harvested 100kg of groundnuts! In the coming months, they are scheduling community seminars with young girls and women to discuss topics on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and civic participation; they are also planning on visiting different health centers in order to obtain information to disseminate to others.
In Mkumbi, the Girls Group has expanded to 20 girls. The group has opened a small bistro and has planted their own vegetable garden in a plot donated by one of the girl’s parents. Each member contributes 5,000=/ Tsh to the group in order to sustain these activities, though they continue to face challenges regarding financial management. In the coming months, they plan to open a sugar cane plantation and making a timetable to visit Information Resource Centers (IRCs) for supportive reading materials.
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