• Laura Kleinwort

Empower Girls – Transform Women

On the 8th March Tai Tanzania was holding an event for the International Women’s Day at the Salma Kikwete Secondary School in Dar es Salaam, to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

International Women’s Day recognizes the rights and achievement of women in a society, that women should understand how important they are in the society and they can fulfill their full potential in life.

We support #PressforProgress the hashtag of the international Women’s Day 2018, by ensuring all girls stay in school through SRH education and advocating for free pads alongside free education.

Tai Tanzania has committed to the theme of the International Women 2018 "Time is now, Rural and Urban activists transforming women's lives" by expanding our activities to rural areas in Tanzania, where the challenges faced by girls are more severe.

But why celebrating Women’s Day for Girls? “Girls are the future women of tomorrow. Girls have to learn at an early age what they are worth and that they can make a change. Only then they can develop high self-esteem in terms of decisions they make in life and self-control as they grow, to be finally transformed into powerful women.” said Asimwe Rutageruka, Jali project manager at Tai “Now it’s the time, that they are going to school. When they skip the school as young adolescent there is almost no chance for them later on to become an independent woman.”

The event that was scheduled from 02:30 pm to 05:00 pm attended around 750 students, teacher and guests and contained a lot of different activities:

First, we invited a lot of great guests to deliver inspiring and empowering speeches to the students.

“We think for reaching our goals that we all share effectively and as soon as possible it is important to work together. Therefore, we want to bring together bright minds to give talks that are idea focused and to provoke conversations that matter on the subject all about empowering girls.” said the MC Mariam Mmbaga.

The highlight for everyone was the speech of Valerie Msoka, one of the founders of TAMWA and a real rolemodel for the girls. She pointed out the importance of celebrating the International women’s day with her own experience by saying: “Being a woman journalist wasn’t easy, our efforts were underestimated, we wrote stories but they were not published and that lead us to come up with the idea of starting our own association known as Tanzania Media Women Association TAMWA as a platform that will raise our voices, so our voices lead the way forward for other women to speak up, and that contribute to developmental changes, because women make significant contribution in family level and community at large”

Also, the students were very excited to listen to child-book author Richard Mabala, one of our supportive man at the event. Next of being active in several organisations supporting youth, he gained a lot of attention with books like Mabala the farmer and Hawa the bus driver. Mabala took the chance to speak with students and offered them very deep words, by using an example of the famous film of Sarafina: “Sarafina’s mom was humiliated, discriminated, and ignored and yet she was very strong for the sake of providing good life to her daughter.”

Moreover, our dear partner NGO Sports for change, an organization that is using sports to raise awareness on sexual reproductive health, prepared different games and sport energizer that helped to keep the students active during the event.

A wonderful contribution was given by the students themselves: 10 of the students presented a Swahili poem, that was prepared by Tai Tanzania with the aim girls understanding their rights in the society as to reach their full potential.

Next to the event three Videos of our dear partners Her Cause Foundation were displayed in a separate room for the students. Moreover, we presented here our 3D animation Harakati za lucy, which is about the challenges a girl faces during her menstrual period and how she copes them. It was a nice alternation for the students, because of course children love watching movies!

Furthermore, it was great to have four doctors of our dear partner from TAMHEF, who accomplished a Health Check-up, where 77 students were able to be checked their health. “It is important for the students to know their health status and to get advice of the professionals on how to stay health. It is great to give them the opportunity of getting a Health Check-up, since many of them normally do not have access to that.” Said one of the doctors of TAMHEF. All the students were thrilled to be next for the Health Check-up, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible to meet all of them.

In addition, we set up a signing board, on which students were able to write down what they know about International Women’s day, why it is important and about the rights and achievements of women in the society.

Finally, at the end of the event we were happy to distribute hygiene kits, containing 2 reusable pads, soap and underwear, to 52 girls: 10 hygiene kits were given to the former champions that participated well in the training we conducted last year and 42 to the girls that made a great contribution during the event.

All in all, we had a great day: we shared ideas with other NGO’s, had a lot of interesting activities and we had the chance not only to raise awareness to the students attended this event but also to have a greater impact on the society through media coverage before and during our event. We are already looking forward to our next event the Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th, to continue our advocating for free pads and SRH education and fighting for equal rights.

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