Encouraging girls to stay in school
In Uganda, we've partnered with Girl Power Foundation to launch an ambitious project to try and reduce school drop out rates amongst girls in Kihembe. In the two months since the launch of the project, Monica and the team have delivered workshops to 50 girls from 4 different schools in Kihembe.
The workshops have been educational in nature and have been structured to provide girls with the opportunity to hear from role models who have progressed through school and achieved an education. Role models such as Winnie, the founder of Girl Power Foundation, offer girls the chance to see what is possible when they stay in school.
It's a sad reality that the drop out rates of girls compared to boys in Uganda is disproportionately high. This is often due to the many expectations place on the shoulders of girls, particularly in relation to work to be done at home. Also when girls are in secondary school, they are sometimes encouraged to find a partner to marry, instead of staying in school. Sadly, many girls also fall pregnant and are forced to drop out of school by their parents/teachers.
Monica and the team have devised workshops that try and mitigate against some of these challenges that girls face. For example, girls are being warned about the dangers of participating in risky sexual behaviours and being counselled on ways to avoid advances of older boys.
Moreover, our team are speaking to parents in Kihembe to try and emphasise the importance of allowing girls to stay in school. Parents often place pressure on girls to work hard at home, often neglecting their school work to complete chores and work in the garden. Monica and Winnie are trying to show how girls can contribute to their families by staying in school. This is an incredibly important message.
As schools in Uganda remain closed due to the COVID-19 situation, we're hoping that the workshops will inspire girls to stay focused and stay motivated to remain in school. There are so many potential distractions and it's incredibly important that the girls know they have the support of role models like Monica and Winnie. We are confident that these workshops will continue into the future and we hope that we see as many girls as possible return to school when they re-open at the start of next year.