Empowering a girl Child through mentorship.
Supporting girls and women to be the author of their own story it requires efforts from very corn of the community; Community needs to collaborate to bridge the gap between a girl child and a boy. In 2017 when Bridge for change and Vodacom Tanzania foundation collaborated to run the mentorship and coaching program for students from Kibasila and Kilangala. We aimed at helping students to plan for the future, receive career awareness and connect with Vodacom employees who will be interested in mentoring them.
It happened that one of Vodacom employees Happiness was interested in mentoring girls. Ten girls were enrolled as mentees under her and Bridge for change coordinated the mentorship sessions every Saturday. Happiness had to meet at least three girls to mentor per Saturday, and this went on for 9 months. The energy from these girls to learn from other women who are doing better was very high with a lot of curiosity from the start. We had some challenges with a resource to mobilize an active session like a conducive environment, e.g. providing a cup of tea or coffee or well decorate mentorship meeting room.
Zakia is one of the girls who took part in the mentorship program pamoja na Vodacom run by Bridge for Change her story of becoming changemaker as she is dreaming is now becoming a reality. Zakia teamed up with other girls, leading them, and they started a campaign to encourage students to study hard in Kisarawe region. They have been able to inspire students from 3 secondary schools in Kisarawe, and they collaborated with the District Commissioner of Kisarawe, Hon. Jokate Mwegelo to reach one of the schools.
Zakia says,” I just wanted to share all that I have learned with others. It is important for youth to know why are they in school, why should they study hard. They need to find reasons to motivate them to study hard, and I knew my reasons, I wanted to inspire others as well.”
It is undoubtedly evident that guidance Zakia gained through the mentorship and coaching has inspired her to provide the same to others who were not in the position of accessing that guidance. Mentorship has a ripple effect since mentored youth becomes leaders in their societies through different capacities and then, in turn, mentor and lead others effectively. It is important for mentorship to be accessible to youth especially girls so as to prepare them to unleash the leader in them. Think if we can have more Zakia’s product, Zakia and other girls have surely gained the courage to pursue not only their dreams but also impact the community around them.