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.

FAWEZI Moves Forward Bringing DFC to Zimbabwe

On 11 September 2018 FAWEZI hosted a start up meeting for the program Design for Change (DFC). We invited teachers and students to learn about the DFC model and to participate in activities aimed at practicing the steps.

Design for Change is an international platform that advances the message that children can be their own agents of change. DFC encourages children to have an ‘I CAN’ mindset when approaching problems in their own communities. The DFC model is four steps:

  1. Feel the problem,
  2. Imagine a solution,
  3. Do something about it, and
  4.  Share your experience with others.

FAWEZI oversees the Zimbabwe branch of DFC and in the start up meeting we were excited to hear the ideas of the teachers and students about implementing DFC in primary schools. Teachers and students from Avondale Primary and from Louis Mt Batten Primary attended the meeting and brought up problems in their own schools that could be focuses of DFC student-run interventions.

 

In addition, FAWEZI met with Sister Claris Gowo, the Education Secretary of the Education Secretariat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Harare about implementing DFC in catholic schools in Zimbabwe. The Catholic Pope has confirmed attendance at the 2019 DFC conference at the Vatican. Sister Claris was enthusiastic about the opportunity and FAWEZI looks forward to further collaboration.

FAWEZI attends ZIM School Health Policy launch

The Forum for African Woman Educationalists –Zimbabwe chapter (FAWEZI) yesterday (12 June 2018) attended the launched the Zimbabwean School Health Policy at Blakiston Primary School in Harare .This policy comes as a means to endorse positive health factors and alleviate health risks among learners.

The school health policy was conjointly developed by the Ministries of Health & Child Care (MHCC) and Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) and is set to safeguard the health of learners and teachers within the school environment.

This School Health policy was developed with the vision of ‘A primary and secondary education system with an enabling environment for the provision of equitable, sustainable and quality health services for all learners’.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of MoPSE Professor Paul Mavhima said they had been working on this policy with the MHCC for a long time and the policy will deliver health promotion for the benefit of teachers serving learners. He added that in practical terms his ministry will be investing more in school infrastructure ensuring that there are clean safe and reliable water sources, sanitation and hygiene facilities that are age appropriate, gender and disability friendly.

MCCH Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the launch of the policy highlighted the need to provide focused and comprehensive services for the improved health of the child.

“The launch of the policy again galvanises us into a pact to provide focused and comprehensive services for the improved health of the child.” He said.

FAWEZI National Coordinator Lydia Madyirapanze speaking on behalf of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) commended the Ministries for the health policy.

“It is heartening to note that the development of this policy is backed by the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Education and Training,” she said.

“We are quite positive that the School Health policy which we are witnesses to its launch today will among other things, be a significant and useful framework for early detection, correction, prevention or amelioration of disease, disability and abuse from which learners can suffer”.

Madyirapanze also highlighted that the coalition is prepared to fully support the policy.

“As ECOZI we pledge to fully support the implementation of the Zimbabwe School Health Policy and our members will continue to compliment government efforts in ensuring sound health for the learners”.

The launch was attended by the Ministers of Health and Child Care, and Primary and Secondary Education, other senior Government Officials, members of the UN family, development partners and civil society representatives.

6 Mabvuku High Girls Receive Sanitary Pads From Ruvheneko

Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa a friend of @FAWEZI donated sanitary pads to the six girls that she is supports at Mabvuku High on 17 November. Parirenyatwa made the commitment last year at the launch of the FAWEZI Alumini which she attended. Handing over the pads to the girls Parirenyatwa spoke to the girls about hygiene and sexual reproductive health.

“Having sanitary pads is not enough, girls need to bath thoroughly,” She said. She also took time to discourage the girls from early engagement in sex and also warn them of the consequences.

“Focus on completing your education first-it only takes one simply mistake to ruin your life,” She said

Ruvheneko also ‘adopted’ a girl who she pays school fees for.

Competition Finalists

FAWEZI awarded finalist position in international story competition funded by ADEA! Ministers of Education from participating FAWE chapters selected the most significant change stories from across six African countries.

FAWEZI submitted three stories from many Zimbabwe submissions to be judged. One of FAWEZI’s submissions — Chiedza Child Care Centre’s — was recently selected as one of the three winners.

Representatives from FAWEZI and the director of Chiedza will be traveling to Nairobi, Kenya to attend the Award ceremony.

Second Phase SRHR Project Start up Workshop

FAWEZI held its second phase start up workshop on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in Harare on the 1st of September. Our aim was to engage teenagers in a discussion around the problems around SRHR and also listen to their proposed solutions so that we could map a way forward in our two year SRHR project to be implemented in Epworth and Chegutu.

The workshop was attended by Junior Parliamentarians who were instrumental in identifying the problems around SRHR for the youths who are in and out of school and also giving suggestions on the possible strategies to solve them. The Junior Parliamentarians confirmed that there is a lack of knowledge in the area of SRHR amongst the youth and also acknowledged that for those who are informed there is a tendency to ignore the information and indulge in pre-marital sex leading to early pregnancies, STI’s and HIV.

Child president, Tinaye Mbavari urged her fellow mates to make contributions so that a way forward could be mapped and lead to the reduction of early indulgence in sex by teens. “SRHR is the in thing, let’s all talk about it, let’s not be shy –speak out and make a difference,” she said. “It is a sensitive topic but let’s be open and fight rape, STI’s and HIV”.

There was a lively discussion between the young parliamentarians and the facilitators with the teens suggesting youth friendly means of packaging and delivering SRHR education. They also indicated that there is need to involve parents in such workshops so that they are also empowered to speak to their children on SRHR. Use of prominent people to educate the youth was also raised as a way of reaching out to the youth.

They said if musicians could be used to spread SRHR message most youths would comply as some tend to listen to their role models and celebrities. Above all the young leaders also said children need support in other abilities besides academic excellence so that those who are good in practical areas can also feel appreciated while in school and therefore reduce the risk of dropping out.

Youth friendly spaces were also applauded but the teens said they need the spaces to be better placed out of hospitals to avoid the stigma that surrounds being seen at a hospital.

STEM for Girls Through Innovative Competition Project

FAWEZI is running a ‘STEM for girls through Innovative Competitions project’ which will run from May to August 2017 in the Epworth Mabvuku-Tafara-District.

It is being run by The Forum for African Women Educationalist (FAWE).

The aim of this project is to create a platform for female students to test their creative, technological and innovative minds through the selective Gender responsive projects in STEM. This involves researched initiatives developed into projects that are presented for competition at the school, national and finally at the Regional level.

As an affiliate of FAWE in Nairobi which developed a (STEM) project with the aim of increasing the participation and performance of girls in STEM across Africa, FAWEZI seeks to advance the participation of Zimbabwean girls in STEM.

The STEM model incorporates activities such as; organizing science days and remedial classes for students, conducting STEM student camps, training teachers with skills to develop gender responsive teaching, encouraging teachers to use locally available teaching and learning materials, building capacities of teachers to use ICT in the teaching and learning process, starting School level STEM related projects, STEM competitions and exposing students to policy makers, exposing girls to telecommunications market leaders and female scientists as role models and mentors.

The competition will initially be conducted at school level were the overall two best innovations will be selected to compete at National level.

At the national level the best overall 2 performing projects will be selected to present the respective innovative and creative ideasas well as compete against each other at a Regional level in Lusaka, Zambia and also get an opportunity to showcase in Nairobi, Kenya at a 1 day regional conference during the FAWE Girls Education Conference and General Assembly slated for August 2017.

FAWEZI will be working with pupils and staff and pupils from selected schools in the district.

Communication has already been done with Mabvuku, Domboramwari, Epworth, Tafara 1 High Schools.