Ministry pays heartfelt tribute to Learner Guides’ activism and commitment to girls’ education
On Saturday, 3 October 2020, the Hon. Loata Erasto Ole Sanare, representing the Minister from PO-RALG, was welcomed by CAMFED Tanzania at a special event in Morogoro, where he distributed certificates of recognition to Learner Guides in acknowledgement of their support to vulnerable students.
Learner Guides are young women from marginalized backgrounds, many of them educated with CAMFED support, who were themselves once vulnerable to exclusion from education. Now they are working to keep more girls in their communities in school. CAMFED is partnering with Ministries, school stakeholders, civil society representatives, and women leaders in the CAMFED Association to explore the potential for scaling the Learner Guide Program across the government school system.
CAMFED Tanzania welcomed the Hon. Loata Erasto Ole Sanare, Morogoro Regional Commissioner, representing the Hon. Suleiman Jafo, Minister from the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) as the Guest of Honor to a celebratory event at Kilakala Secondary School in Morogoro region. He was joined by the Director of Education at PO-RALG, as well as the Regional Administrative Secretary and Regional Education Officer. The Minister met with CAMFED Tanzania’s executive team, including National Director Lydia Wilbard and Board Chair Jeanne Karamaga Ndyetabura, as well as CAMFED District Committee members, and 70 young women representing Learner Guides from across 32 districts and 9 regions of the country. The Regional Commissioner presented certificates to the young women in recognition of their services to vulnerable children in their communities, ensuring that every child – especially girls, who are usually the first to drop out of school because of barriers related to poverty and gender – get the opportunity to stay in education, learn and thrive.
In his speech, the Regional Commissioner applauded the dedication of CAMFED’s Learner Guides, who, having themselves experienced hardship and exclusion, will stop at nothing to ensure that girls complete their education by getting the social support they need to succeed.
During school closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Learner Guides supported students in many innovative ways, including through the delivery of life skills lessons over local radio, and the distribution of printed study materials.
They also continued to run small, socially distanced study groups, and mentored girls, ensuring that they did not lose hope, and were prepared to go back to school as those reopened.
Learner Guides are young women in the CAMFED Association of leaders educated with CAMFED support, who themselves are from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds.
They are role models and mentors, whose own experience means that they understand the challenges many students face — including grief through the loss of close family members, and the pressure to marry young.
Learner Guides return to their local schools and deliver a bespoke life skills and wellbeing curriculum, My Better World, which aims to improve educational outcomes for children, particularly the most vulnerable, by building their skills and confidence, supporting children to set goals and learn how to achieve them.
One of the Learner Guides who received a certificate on behalf of her colleagues is Maria Kamande from Iringa. She was among 70 young women who relayed their personal success stories to the guests assembled, out of 954 Learner Guides currently active in Tanzania. Maria said, “The Learner Guide Program does not only support students in school but also the youth to achieve their goals. Through this program I have gained confidence and been empowered to see opportunities around me. I am currently a business woman owning a restaurant, two car wash centers and a mobile money business. All these are possible due to the life skills I learned from the Learner Guide Program.”
Beyond the classroom, Learner Guides create an important home-school link, following up with children who drop out of school and working with communities and district officials to keep vulnerable girls safe from child marriage. Through this process, Learner Guides develop their own confidence, and new leadership and entrepreneurship skills. With access to interest-free loans in exchange for volunteering, as well as business training from CAMFED, young women can start and grow their own businesses, establishing independent livelihoods while supporting more children to go to school.
The recognition event was inspired by a recent visit to Morogoro by a number of government officials (from PO-RALG; the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; and the Prime Minister’s Office, Labour, Youth Employment and Persons with Disability) who experienced Learner Guides in action, and saw their impact first hand.
CAMFED is partnering with government Ministries, school stakeholders, civil society representatives, and CAMFED Association leaders, in a Real-time Scaling Lab as part of Millions Learning, to explore the potential for scaling CAMFED’s Learner Guide Program across the government school system.