Arming HER with skills for the work place

Today the Forum for African Women Educationalists – Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) joined in the  observance of  the International Day of the Girl Child (IDCG) under the theme ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force’.  October 11 was declared the International Day of the Girl Child by the United Nations General Assembly On December 19, 2011 with the  day being set aside to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

As we observe IDCG for FAWEZI it is not only about remembering girls’ access to education, staying in school and completing education but also about preparing them to enter the world of work  inline with the 2018 IDCG theme ‘With Her: A Skilled Girl Force ‘.

Our girls today are growing up in an environment which is fraught with challenges and uncertainties. It is amid these uncertainties that they strive to access education, stay in school and complete their studies. As we remember our girls this year we urge all educational institutions to bear in mind that the fight for the education of the girl child is not a discriminatory issue. While we have reached parity in access to education, the completion rate of girls beyond the second year of secondary education is low. This is where most learners begin to think about careers and their areas of interest in terms of professions. This is where we begin to lose the participation of girls in issues of development.

It is against such a background that as an organisation we seek to advocate for and support the participation and performance of girls in the ‘21st century skills’ which include Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Arts and ICT. We are of the belief that if the barriers to their participation in these areas are broken from school level the results will be more females in the related industries which will also produce more female role models for the girls back in school. We believe that girls can achieve their opportunities if they do no not face gender based discrimination.

As Zimbabwe we have a very supportive environment and policies which encourage the education of the girl child. Partnerships and collaborations between Civil Society Organisations and the public sector to make the necessary interventions to increase girls’ access to education, staying in school and completing.

It is our desire that every girl child in Zimbabwe accesses and completes a basic education which will position her to be of meaningful contribution in her society. In relation to the IDCG2018 theme we call upon women who are in different sectors to take part in empowering the girl child through mentorship and career guidance so that we jointly create a future skilled female workforce. This however can also be achieved by tackling gender stereotypes across professions and addressing the many systemic barriers faced by girls and women.

On the IDCG we also emphasize on the need to intervene on the plight of the girls who face various socioeconomic difficulties evidenced by child marriages, forced marriages, sexual harassment, emotional abuse, child labour, human trafficking and unemployment among others.

Over and above all we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to continue the efforts of prioritising education financing and create an enabling environment for Civil Society Organisations working to support education in Zimbabwe.

FAWEZI is a non-governmental organisation established in 1998 and registered as a private voluntary organisation in 1999. Since the organisation has worked with communities, schools, civil society, non-governmental organizations and ministries to achieve gender equity and equality in education through targeted programs. Its work influences government policy, builds public awareness, demonstrates best educational practice through effective models, and encourages the adoption of these models by governments and institutions of education.

FAWEZI DONATES WEATHER STATIONS, LAB EQUIPMENT, AWARDS ESSAY WINNERS.

On September 25 the Forum for African Women Educationalists Zimbabwe – Chapter (FAWEZI) held a ceremony to celebrate its Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) interventions in the Epworth – Mabvuku – Tafara District. The ceremony included the donation of weather stations to 3 schools, lab equipment to 6 schools and awarding ten STEM easy winners with cash prizes.

 

The three schools that received the Atmos 41 weather stations are Oriel Girls, Manyame and Mabvazuva high schools. Oriel Girls, Mabvuku, Domboramwari, Epworth, Tafara 1 and Tafara 2 high schools each received $400 worth of laboratory equipment.

Speaking at the event FAWEZI chairperson Irene Mkondo said the donation was aimed at improving the quality of education, especially for the girl child.

“We understand that with access to education must also come quality,” she said.

“It is our hope that by handing over these equipment we are increasing the quality of scientific, geographical, statistical, meteorological and mathematical education for our learners.”

This STEM ceremony came as part of the recent steps by FAWEZI to increase its dedication to providing young girls and women opportunities for STEM education and advancement. The organisation believes that the donation of the weather stations and lab equipment is a giant step in increasing the quality STEM in its project schools.

The ATMOS 41 weather station is one of the newest and most innovative weather stations on the market. While most weather stations are cluttered, complicated and frustrating to install and maintain, the ATMOS 41 packages 12 weather sensors into a single, compact device for atmospheric conditions. There are no moving parts to fail. Its installation and maintenance have been simplified to the maximum, leaving more opportunities for students to learn and use the data and not have to stress about failing parts.

FAWEZI brought this ATMOS 41 through a partnership with the Trans-African Hydro meteorological Observatory: TAHMO. TAHMO has members in other African countries working to install networks of weather stations to increase weather data collection and predication capabilities. TAHMO has helped set up ATMOS 41 weather stations in other schools across the continent and using their software girls from the schools will be able to communicate with these other schools and compare their weather data.

The lab equipment donation came under the running STEM project funded by VGIF. FAWEZI asked the project schools to identify their needs to the value of $400 .The schools that received the lab equipment are Oriel Girls, Mabvuku, Domboramwari, Epworth, Tafara 1, Tafara 2 High schools.

Under the same STEM program FAWEZI asked leaners from these same 6 schools to submit essays on STEM under the theme ‘The Next Big Thing in STEM’ and awarded the best ten with $100 cash prizes and hampers from Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited .

FAWEZI continues to work education in Zimbabwe especially that of the girl child.

 

 

FAWEZI ENHANCES ITS SRHR INTERVENTIONS

On September 7 The Forum for African Women Educationalists- Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) held a meeting to introduce and plan for its second phase of the project on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). FAWEZI seeks to Maximise the Opportunities for Girls and Young Women’s access to SRHR. This project comes as an augmentation to a previous project which addressed the SRHR issues for girls in and out of school.

FAWEZI gathered representatives from various Civil Organisations, Ministries and Government departments with the aim of finding out the already existing work, services and gaps in line with SRHR interventions.

Representatives of young women and junior parliamentarians shared on the challenges that they continue to face in relation to SRHR and also suggested means of solving them. Popular among the challenges raised by the adolescents were limited access to SRHR services, lack of youth friendly service centres, costs attached to the service provision, negative norms and culture , lack of recreational services and the general cloak of silence that surrounds sexual maturation issues in their homes.

FAWEZI advances the belief that change cannot occur among youth communities unless youth are involved at every level. Because of this, inception and stakeholder meetings have junior parliamentarians or other youth present whenever possible.

The representatives from the Ministry of Health and Education acknowledged the presence of challenges in dealing with young people and their SRHR issues. They indicated that there is need to capacitate service providers, educators and parents so that they are able to engage the youth with regard to the modern trends.

Access to uncontrolled internet was also identified as a reason why adolescents are equipped with inappropriate SRHR information. Other recommendations in dealing with SRHR issues also centered on packaging positive SRHR messages in youth friendly means like Google applications, whatsapp and television series which appeal to the youth.

In 2014 UNICEF released a data set that indicates that while Zimbabwe’s rates of child marriage are slightly lower than neighbouring countries, more than 1 in 3 children are still getting married before the age of eighteen. Around 1 in 25 women are married before they even reach their fifteenth birthday. The rates of child marriage are especially due to young women falling pregnant while they are still in school. In light of this, FAWEZI directs SRHR programs to both in and out of school girls. .

FAWEZI next looks forward to SRHR stakeholder meetings in Shamva. Since 1998 FAWEZI has worked all over Zimbabwe, promoting the education of the girl child and running a broad range of programs both in and out of schools to address disparities in education at multiple levels.