The journey of young Tanzanian women towards empowerment through education brings us to meet Siwema Paul and Chiku Swalehe. After giving birth, Siwema and Chiku had to abandon school and could not find jobs that would allow them to support themselves financially. However, they both found the Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme, which significantly impacted their lives.
Siwema Paul was going through a difficult time with her family. The temporary jobs she could find were not paid enough to sustain herself and her child. Her relatives were also skeptical when they heard about the Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development programme, as they thought she would not be able to complete it and they would not help her take care of her child. Nonetheless, Siwema did not stop in front of the challenge and started the programme, keeping her child in the Folk Development College (FDC) daycare, which allowed her to pursue her courses.
The Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme was a three-year project implemented by our local partner Karibu Tanzania Organisation in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Tanzania and funded by the Mastercard Foundation. The programme was created so that young women could resume and finish their secondary education. The programme provided young women with vocational training and social and financial education, empowering them to gain the necessary 21-century skills to become self or formally employed or further their studies in formal schooling.
Within this programme’s context and needs, Aflatoun International adapted its Life Skills, Financial and Entrepreneurship Education curricula. In the Life Skills courses, young women learned about their rights and responsibilities, understood their values and built self-esteem and confidence, which can equip them with the best tools to overcome challenges in the future.
The programme also focused on raising awareness of young Tanzanian women and gender issues in the communities, discussing gender-based violence, peer pressure, and community engagement. Through Entrepreneurship Education, on the other hand, the participants of the Elimu Haina Mwisho programme were able to learn about the balance between saving and spending, about small and medium enterprises, and learned how to analyse business ideas and identify the best ways to realise them. The young women studied planning and budgeting and how to make their first steps to create their social and financial enterprises.
Thanks to the programme, Siwema learnt tailoring and, combined with the entrepreneurship skills provided by the Aflatoun curricula, she was able to set up her small enterprise and start her career in this sector. She opened her own tailoring shop, which has had great success in the town. Siwema became self-sufficient, and her family is not against her anymore, but now relies on her for financial support. As Siwema’s business was thriving, she started training two boys and three girls for the job. Now she is happy, independent and confident in her skills; she said her goal is to become successful, and believing she can, she will give it her best to make this a reality.
Chiku Swalehe had the opportunity to go back to school after years of dropping out, thanks to the Elimu Haina Mwisho programme. She was not stopped by the obstacles encountered, and when she found the opportunity to resume her studies while her child could stay in the FDC daycare, she did not hesitate.
She appreciated the Skills Development Programme because it taught her about a specific field, in her case electricity, but also how to find other sources of income, pursuing different opportunities without remaining in one sector. As a result, she is now working as a mobile money agent, and she can follow different career paths and possibilities.
She advises young girls like her that come from difficult situations to keep studying and never miss an opportunity to go back to school because the Elimu Haina Mwisho programme truly changed her life for the better. Thanks to the programme, she is now self-confident and believes in her ability to become an agent of change for her future.