60 million girls in Tanzania
Another hop, skip and a jump and we’ve arrived in Tanzania. There, we partnered first in 2017 with the Stephen Lewis Foundation and its field partner, MWEDO (Maasai Women Development Organization). The project took place in the communities of Manyara and Arusha where Maasai girls are often married by the age of 15 and only 1% continue on to secondary education.
This project provided quality education, as well as financial support for school fees, meals, school supplies, books, uniforms, lodging and food, to 100 secondary school girls. Medical and psychological care, including sexual and reproductive health education, was also offered. Importantly, the grant offered awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of girls’ education to the community.
The second, with the World University Services of Canada (WUSC), took place a year later. This project supported 350 Burundian refugees in the Nduta Refugee Camp, situated in the Kigoma Region of Tanzania. The ENABLE program aimed to support young mothers and girls at a critical time in their adolescence. It provided a safe space for the vulnerable girls to learn, equipping them with basic literacy and numeracy skills, and encouraging them to re-enrol in formal education systems.
Welcome to Tanzania!
Girls’ education in Tanzania
- A controversial 2017 government policy expressly says that pregnant or married girls cannot attend school.
- Despite outside pressure, some schoolgirls have been arrested for becoming pregnant and their families have been harassed.
- Despite a lack of evidence, authorities argue that allowing pregnant girls to remain in school will normalize out-of-wedlock pregnancy, absolve the girls of punishment, and create a “domino effect” whereby more girls will become pregnant.
- Tanzanian officials routinely subject girls to forced pregnancy testing as a disciplinary measure and permanently expel those who are pregnant.
- Mandatory pregnancy testing itself is a serious infringement of girls’ rights to privacy, equality, and autonomy, and may cause some to drop out on their own.
But while in Tanzania, take a hike!
- Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. Not only is it the highest mountain in Africa, it is also the fourth most topographically prominent peak on Earth.
- The mountain is part of Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. It is the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 metres above sea level and about 4,900 metres above its plateau base.
- There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Lemosho Western-Breach, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. They can be completed in 5, 6 or 8 days and, yes, you need to be trained and fit for such hikes! For those who need extra time to adjust to the altitude, the Lemosho route is best, with 8 days total on the mountain.