Diris Martin, Former Learner Guide When we are talking about the Learner Guide program, we are talking – we are building a nation. We are talking about somebody of the next generation. The reason why the program should be scaled is to increase self-awareness to young women, who are the next generation and become competent in everything they do. Competent in their life, competent in their business, competent in solving challenges in the community to have the right people in the community. There is a big importance of partner with government in scaling this program because, you know, the government are the one who are leading the country, not the organization.
Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania So we designed this program, Learner Guide program, to be able to complement the efforts that the government of Tanzania is doing in addressing the issue of learning, quality education and inclusive education. But also, to address the issue of transitioning. So, transitioning from one class to another, for girls and boys to be able to finish school, but also transitioning back into the community, into safer life.
The young women are trained, the CAMA members are trained and come back to their schools to be able to deliver the right skills curriculum, a curriculum that is meant to impact the skills within the students in school, to be able to gain confidence, to increase their self-awareness, to be able to face the challenges because it is focusing on well-being as an individual, but also exploring the power that these children have to be able to face the challenges that are in their communities.
Dotto Ally Ramadhani, Learner Guide My name is Dotto Ally Ramadhani, from Morogoro rural district. We were living a very difficult life. Our mother is a seasonal farmer. Before I got support from CAMFED I thought I had to stop going to school. I thought that if I didn’t get the funding, I had to get married, just stay at home. I did not have school uniforms, and rent for a room was hard to pay.
After finishing school, I felt really bad because I was going back to a difficult life and I did not know how I was going to support myself. In my experience as a Learner Guide, I have developed the ability to stand and talk in front of people. I am respected and called a teacher wherever I go. People call me Madam. It has kept the students close to me, when they face challenges, they come to me to tell me. For example, they say “Madam, I haven’t eaten,” so if I have money, I offer to buy them something to eat.
Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania In a way they are creating linkages where their work is identified and they also gain skills. So, we train them in business and entrepreneurship. We help them set up businesses so that they can be able to earn an income, addressing the financial part. So, in terms of capital, we link them with an organization that gives them loan, but you also link them with government opportunities where they can also apply for a loan.
Dotto Ally Ramadhani, Learner Guide I got business training. My business is soap-making, African prints and batik. The money I save, I use for family issues because my family is poor. I am always prepared in case of anything like a funeral or sickness. If there is an emergency and I can’t borrow money from someone, I will take it from my savings and use it for home troubles. My goal in business is that I wish to be a great businesswoman.
A relative of Dotto I am proud of Dotto since she has joined the Learner Guide program. They are helping her, and she is giving us money for food and farming. Her business helps us because she gives us money to use a tractor to harvest our maize, to store and feed the family.
Dotto Ally Ramadhani, Learner Guide My hope for the future is to help my family even more. To change their status in life, do great things for them.
Diris Martin, Former Learner Guide Learner Guides, they fill in huge gap that we see in our secondary education. Teachers, they’re busy preparing their lesson plan, busy teaching, busy preparing examinations, marking schemes, but the students need support apart from that. They need mental support. I mean they need counselling. They need emotional support. So the Learner Guides are the ones who fill that gap.
Dotto Ally Ramadhani, Learner Guide The My Better World program was developed with the aim of increasing student’s school performance, reducing absenteeism and reducing pregnancy and child marriage. The My Better World program gave me the ability to lead a class and discover the problems of children.
Mwanaisha Ally Joka, Teacher Mentor I am a teacher, and I have been a Teacher Mentor for seven years. As a result of the Learner Guides we have seen an increase of self-awareness among students. Also, through the things they are taught, they have developed a sense of unity. Even when they see their fellow students’ imperfections, they encourage them. If every school in Tanzania had a Learner Guide [there would be many benefits]. First of all, they are young people that are accessible to pupils. Students would gain self-confidence, and as a result would do well in the classroom.
Diris Martin, Former Learner Guide Learner Guides take a lot of efforts to return excluded students to the classroom because they, there are activities they are doing, asking their fellow, where is your fellow student? So, the students in class, you see, they say, “oh, she’s maybe sailing some fishes with her mother.” So, from the class I get good enough information and I tell the teachers. So, when we meet with the teachers, it is where they start a plan on how to make a student come back.
Dotto Ally Ramadhani, Learner Guide The student I helped is called Khadija, who couldn’t afford to buy even a sanitary pad due to difficult living conditions. When she approaches her days, I give her some pads which has contributed to improved attendance. She is progressing well. Before that, she had been coming to school on some days, but missing others. After giving her the pads, it was clear that not having pads to cope with her period had kept her away from school.
Khadija, Secondary Student I see Dotto as my guardian because she has helped me with things I missed in my community. Dotto has helped me with money to eat, bought socks, helped me get uniform and made me feel as good as other students. Dotto is a role model to the community because she helps me with so many things I was lacking at school. Dotto is someone I can talk to about my personal problems outside of school.
In the My Better World book, I love the topic of self-esteem The topic teaches how a girl should value herself. For example, if I can value myself and another girl can’t, I can teach her self-esteem. I have changed through this program, because I learned how to value someone, care and love. When I grow up, I want to be like Madam Dotto, working with CAMFED to educate children.
Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania So, if we have this Learner Guide program and they learn these soft skills that are within the My Better World program, we are creating youth who are very responsible, who are very respective, who are loving each other. They are ready to support each other instead of competing among them self. And ultimately, we have people who can offer them self, who can think and have goal and we will see ultimately, they are not only supporting themselves, but they are also able to step up even when they do not pass completely to go to high school or to have a degree. But they have that skills that can help them to be able to face life.