Girls and Women

Girls Count Competition: Mzeziti Mwanza – “National female education and support service programme”

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More than 4,000 people entered our essay competition: What one BIG idea should African leaders do to harness the power of girls and transform all our futures?

Mzeziti Mwanza – Zambia
National female education and support service programme (NFES-SP)

My one major idea that I believe will give importance to girls education is establishing a National Female Education and support Service programme (NFES-SP) that aims at preventing all social, economic, cultural, political vices in today’s society in negatively hindering female education. Several girls and women drop out of school due to trafficking among others. Further, these vices are hindering women and girls to have access to education or prevent them from staying in school.

This NFES-SP is to have three components, that form a network of support of all girls in schools and encourage those not in school to enroll.

1 ) Female education awareness program; which aims at educating women and girls on their right to education who may not otherwise be culturally believe that “woman’s place is the home”. In addition, women and girls need to be able to identify gender inequality or any other vices such as verbal abuse by teachers, physical abuse and educate them on how to avoid or report such cases. Several girls are unable to identify gender biased statements from teachers, parents or even peers, for example this affects their self-esteem in staying in school. Girls facing sexual harassment may not know how to approach such a matter but the female education awareness programme can teach girls on schools on how to report such cases. The awareness program can extend to engaging traditional leaders as champions of change to promote the elimination of negative cultural and traditional customs that may inhibit female education.

2) Female protection services is the second component of the NFES-SP that aims at establishing structures and systems that support and protect women legally from inequalities in society and the education system. For instance, free counseling services can be provided for the girl child who may not have the much needed parental emotional support for them to successfully complete their secondary education. This can be implemented in partnership with the legal authorities in the country to get cases reported directly to police authorities. Several girls are sexually abused in African rural communities (both in schools and the home) and they have nowhere to report their cases. Girls need a place that they can freely express themselves and talk about the things affecting their education. For instance straining house shores, gender-biased curriculum, verbally and sexually abuse teacher.in addition, the programme could create a toll free number where girls can report cases from anywhere in the country.

3) The third component of the programme is carrying out gender audits of the education curriculum and carrying out effective mainstreaming of gender in the Education systems. In conclusion to this idea, these three components are to work in collaboration to achieve the intended purpose of the National Female Education and support Service programme (NFES-SP).

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