Update from Tanya Chinyukwi
"Access to education is a right of every child in Zimbabwe but of recent, poverty has become a major challenge to the education of the girl child. This is because female children are seen as a source of income to sustain their families through early child marriages, child labour such as prostitution and being maidservants for the richer families. The high cost of education has also seen some of the girls dropping out of school as the poor families prefer sending the male child to school to sending the female child. Thus the number of girls dropping out of school has been increasing for the past two years and hence the need to address this situation before the country loses its future Oprah Winfrey or Maya Angelou.
Therefore, the Girl Power Initiative Campaign seeks to ensure that the girl child has access to basic education and livelihood skills training which empower her to reach her full potential and become an independent woman in the society. Through the MCN global webinars, I have managed to get some skills on how I can organize the campaign with the help of other people. So far, I managed to connect with some University students in Zimbabwe and together we have formed a mentorship group for the girls who are going to benefit from this campaign.
Furthermore, I connected with some young lady entrepreneur (Ruramiso Mashumba) who has volunteered to give skills training workshops on various agriculture projects and also one of the local female artists (Cindy Manyavi), who would be focusing on personal development workshops.
We shall also be working closely with Girl and Women Empowerment Trust, which is a local organization that focuses on empowering the girl child both socially and economically. For now, all the ground work has been set and what still remains a stumbling block is funding which we hope to get in the future. Upon getting funds, we hope to get broiler chickens for the families of the girls so that they can start a poultry project which helps them generate income in order to send the children to school.
Through the MCN global webinars, we managed to connect with other African student leaders who are also interested in empowering the girl child and women in their respective countries, so in the future we hope to transform this campaign into a regional program where girls and women will also have an opportunity to participate in seminars, workshops, trainings on education, health, entrepreneurship initiatives etc. This is aimed at improving girls’ self-awareness and decision making skills as well as equipping them with skills that uplift their social status. At Girl Power Initiative Campaign, we believe that the change Africa needs now lies in the hands of the girl child so let us then join hands together and transform her life!"
Update from Thabu Mugala
"My name is Thabu Mugala; I was born and raised in the northern part of Zambia. I am currently studying Agricultural sciences at EARTH University in Costa Rica. Since I was young I have watched how hard my Cousin (guardian) worked to put food on the table for my nieces, nephews and I, always waking up early and coming home late. He has always been a big inspiration to me. He taught me the importance of education, and it’s because of him that last year when I realized people of my community think that child marriages and prostitution are solutions to poverty but in the actual sense they are probably the main cause, I came up with a campaign which was recognized by the Millennium Campus Network for the X-factor prize.
The campaign “Child Marriages and Prostitution Are Not Solutions to Eradicating Poverty” started as a give-back project which aimed at reducing poverty in my community by empowering young women with various agricultural and entrepreneurial skills. With my background in agriculture sciences and natural resource management, I really have a deep understanding of food production which is vital in this campaign, I am also very passionate towards advancing sustainable techniques of agriculture to create food security for all especially to the women of Mpyana Bwalya. Mpyana Bwalya is a small community in Chinsali, Zambia where I actually live.
Living on a farm led me to loving agriculture and also the processes involved in food production, hence most of the activities for this campaign are agriculture related. Among the many activities are: posts on the importance of women empowerment on different social medias, empowering women on different entrepreneurial skills, and outreach to communities. The chicken project is a cardinal component of the campaign; its purpose is directed towards raising enough revenue to give loan to the women with an already established business plan and with entrepreneur and agriculture skills, in order for them to start a business. They later give back the money with interest enabling other women to also have the chance to borrow. Hence keeping these young women busy and making them avoid early marriages and prostitution.
Some of our short term results are to expand the campaign by partnering with different stakeholders who work for the common good, which is women empowerment; we hope to have at least 100 women empowered by 2018."