Feb 12, 2020

Indeed when you educate a girl, Change happens

The Girl Child Mentorship Programme is the project that we are seeking funding for. In Zimbabwe, particularly in poor communities, there is a lot of peer and family pressure for the girl-child to get married, as the bride-price is a lucrative prospect for families that are struggling financially. Girls Not Brides (a global partnership of more than 1300 civil society organizations) have reported that 12 million girls worldwide marry before the age of 18. The issue of child marriages has become a global problem cutting across cultures, religions and ethnicities. Today, over two thirds of the world’s 860 million illiterates are women. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) says failure to educate the girl child costs developing countries $92 billion a year. The prevailing patriarchal bias within Zimbabwean society means that parents are more likely to spend money on educating boys rather than girls. Furthermore, due to the current economic crisis facing poorer communities, in many instances the Girl Child is hardly able to access education past Form 2.

In this context, Makomborero Zimbabwe, through the Girl Child Mentorship Programme is partnering with high density schools to work with Form 2 girls (14 - 15 year olds) who are facing various challenges – physical, physiological, financial and cultural- that could hinder them from entering Form 3 and starting them on their journey to complete their O’level. From the inception of Makomborero, we noticed that few girls were applying for the scholarship opportunity as the school dropout rate for the female students was much higher than the boys. In fact, according to the Sustainable Development Goals Report (2019) 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15-49 have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period, and furthermore, 49 countries in the world currently have no laws protecting women from domestic violence.

In this light, The Girl Child Mentorship Programme is multifaceted and deals with personal growth of the girls, while assisting the girls with coming to terms with their story and walking confidently in their story, finding out what their talents and gifts are, creating a safe place to be open and real, to find inner healing and learn a practical skill. Crocheting over the years has been a forgotten skill but is very important and helps the girls to earn a living from resale blankets and table cloths. We ask the Head/Senior mistress from the local school help us identify the vulnerable girls in Form 2. The criteria for this will be based on various factors that could hinder the girls from continuing on in their education.

 

 

Our work so far

We have three projects which have been running since 2018 at Mufakose 2 & 3 and Mabvuku. We use a classroom at each of the schools and work with a maximum of 10 girls from each school. We recruit 2 mentors from each community to assist with the running of the sessions. We have received very positive feedback from both students and staff in our current programmes. In 2019, Our COO, Laura Albertyn was awarded as a gender champion by the Embassy of Netherlands in Zimbabwe for her work with the Girl Child Mentorship Programme. The schools have given very positive feedback as a result of the project from improvement of language through access to the library books. In the girl’s evaluation forms they have even suggested that more books be availed. Attendance was very high; we have managed to get a buy in from both the parents or guardians and the community, through the visible changes in the girls. The families are happy with the provision of bus fare as it reduces the burden of walking for them and it is no extra cost on them. Notably the girls on the programme from all the schools have improved their confidence, more assertive and self-awareness. On their end of term evaluation most indicated that they now know who they are and are comfortable with their reality and circumstances. The sessions on story telling help them in opening up and even fighting fear and limitations they had previously put on themselves. Many noted that because of the Girl Mentorship Programme they are not limited by peer pressure and are not so worried about other people’s opinions of them. The Goal setting session proved to be most popular during the end of term feedback meeting. Many of the participants from all the schools, indicated that, they had realised the future is in their hands and there is hope despite their present circumstances. Moreso, that one is able to dream big and set goals, have a personal vision for their lives and work towards them and actually be successful in life. The crocheting to most of them is new and exciting and it is always wonderful to see the joy in their eyes from their sense of achievement. Not only is it empowering economically but they value it as a skill they can pass on to others in the community. Some have started Girls Club and in their own way they are continuing the important lessons they have learnt through the programme.

 

In 2019 we were privileged to be able to secure a donation through one of our long time sponsors. This enabled us to acquire reusable pads for all the female students at Makomborero. We managed to distribute 40 packs of hygienic certified reusable pads. Menstrual hygiene continues to be a problem in the poorer communities and girls are often hampered from attending school during their menstrual cycle. Pad - up–Zimbabwe the organisation we partnered with also ran a demonstration workshop. It is our hope that with more funding we are able to purchase all the inputs needed to actually run Pad making training workshops in all the communities we are working in. Given the worsening socio- economic conditions of our country, women and girls bear the brunt of all the ills and are often left with the burden of care work. Young girls mature early because of looking after younger siblings, we are beginning to see an increase in child headed homes or single parent households. Often it is the mother who is left with the burden of providing for the families and has to make the hard choice of only choosing to educate just the male children who are deemed assets in the family.

 

We have had to change the starting time for sessions, to allow the girls to do chores at home and participate in other obligatory roles be it church or community groups. Below is the sample of our normal Saturday programme. End of term feedback sessions have been so helpful as the girls from different schools get to interact, share ideas. We introduced an Art therapy session where they get to paint their own T shirts with inspiring messages or take- aways, as well as quotes they learnt throughout the programme. We use this time to invite motivational speakers and other successful female leaders to inspire them. Sensitive topics such as adolescent sexual reproductive health issues where we ensure the young girls are getting age appropriate information

 

Programme for the Mornings

10.00hrs Arrival and catch up

10.15hrs Book reviews

10.30hrs Handicraft session – Crotchet

10.45hrs Short break – Snacks and drinks provided

11.00hrs Life Skills – Life Skills sessions and discussions, as well as some weeks just discussions and building relationships.

Once a term, an inspirational Zimbabwean woman will speak to the girls. These events will be hosted at the Resource Centre in Marlborough with an end of term lunch.

These copyrighted sessions will have been written in collaboration with past Makomborero students, as well as other sources and are property of Makomborero.

 

Library

A small library is available each week for the girls to read.

At present, the project is operational in Mufakose 2 & 3 and Mabvuku and Tafara suburbs. Makomborero Zimbabwe is providing two past female students who are working hand in hand with community mentors to meet with the ten selected girls every Saturday at the different schools. The mentors are girls who have lived in similar circumstances and can relate to the challenges that the girls are facing. The mentors facilitate sessions in the following courses: 1) inner healing; 2) goal setting 3) menstrual health; 4) women’s rights and 5) leadership and other life skills. The Head and the Senior Mistress of the school will recruit community mentors from the community who they will train to take over the program, next year.

Outcomes

The expected outcomes of the program which we constantly try and assess at the each year are as follows: 1) the girls will learn assertiveness and leadership skills; 2) the girls will have hope and vision for the future beyond the society pressures that they face ; 3) The girls will learn practical skills that they can use for economic gain (e.g.: Crotchet); 4) The girls will improve their reading skills by reading through library books of female role models across the world that have made it and defied the odds; 5) The girls will be taught safeguarding issues through the Makomborero policy and this will generally empower them to be aware of their rights, and action steps to take to prevent abuse even in families and the communities that they live in.

Indicators of achievement                                                                   

In terms of the monitoring and evaluation of the project, a qualitative analysis is applied. Essentially three indicators will be measured against three results over time. Questionnaires are sent to families, the school and key community members which the girls interact with, who can give character references for the girls. From the start of the programme till completion, the progress of the girls will be measured by their 1) accumulative performance 2) changes in their behaviour (in terms of assertiveness and self-confidence) 3) improvement in their academic performance (which will be measured using termly progress reports and will ultimately be shown by their O-Level results). The Girl Child Mentorship Programme provides the girls with hope and vision for the future as well as a practical skill such as crochet which can potentially subside financial pressure and allow the girls to stay in school. Ultimately the Girl Child Mentorship Programme is interventionist in nature. The programme has been designed to run throughout the year instead of only celebrating 1 day key events which are ineffective in improving the livelihoods of girls and women in the society.

Sustainability and Innovation

In a society which is strife-ridden, prone to crisis and dominated by patriarchy, the project is assisting the girls even after the grant has subsided as the girlswill have learned skills and traits that will allow them to survive in a difficult world. These traits include assertiveness, self-motivation, leadership and even entrepreneurial skills. Ultimately, these traits will serve as tools that the girls can use for self-betterment throughout their lives. We envision a grassroots approach and that this movement, like the international Girl Guides can became a world phenomenon. We work with the multiple stakeholders and our aim is to compliment Zimbabwean government through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, the Gender Ministry, the Gender commission, the UNFPA that and other non-governmental organizations that are working broadly in the achievement of SDG 4 for quality education. To date, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrolment rates in schools particularly for women and girls.

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Jan 8, 2020

Here's our 3rd Term Newsletter

Christmas celebrations
Christmas celebrations

Happy 2020 hope you have a good start to the year so far. 2019, remains one of the hardest years we’ve had in the history of Makomborero. Despite all, we made it to the end of another fantastic – but challenging year! Looking back over this year it has felt like at times every curve ball thrown at us would undo us but we have made it!

 It is a very busy term with Prize Giving ceremonies, examinations, leavers dances, SATS, university applications, graduation, Christmas Party etc but it is an incredibly memorable term too. Our end of year graduation was such a celebration of our Students and their achievements and their time with us! We also ended the term with a Christmas party combining our Internal and External students. Through many kind donations of meat, presents and a fabulous craft – they day was a huge success.

We have attached to the newsletter a copy of the graduation programme for you to see our students achievements over this year. The Lower Sixth Hellenic and St Georges students went on their respective leadership camps and it is always wonderful to welcome them back more confident young men who have made some new friends!

Yeukai was badly burnt at the beginning of the term and we were so thankful for an incredible doctor – she was so very brave and weathered a very hard trial well. She is finally totally healed!

Our testing process is underway for this next intake starting in January – it will be our 10th intake and we are incredibly humbled we get to do this again and again! We continue to refine our testing process – impacting lives for one day, even if it’s their only day with Makomborero, is our absolute goal as well as academic testing. We sow seeds of hope during this process and see lights come on in eyes, even if only 18 of them gain a scholarship. It is a wonderful time seeing our current and past students come together and give tirelessly of themselves to touch students lives over these coming weeks! We hope to finish home visits by 20th December!

 

The Ndeipi entrepenurial training programme was a great partnership with One Hope Iniciatives who ran the course. They came in for a number of weeks and ran sessions on setting up small scale businesses with very little capital, budgeting, managing a business. Many of our students and families will be graduating from this training programme today. This course is so empowering, it not only gives practical skills but it is filling hearts with hope again. We are grateful for this partnership and the opportunity to run this course again next year!

 

We ran our Pilot Girl Mentorship Programme last year and were able to expand to two programmes this year – one in Mufakose and one in Mabvuku. These programmes take the most vulnerable girls in form 2 and we work with them for one year. What an incredible journey it has been with them. Makomborero past students are the mentors and they trained up community mentors to take over the programme in the new year – we see the trainee mentors lives change as well as the girls on the programme and it is inspiring and wonderful! I think what surprised our mentors the most was how much they fell in love with each girl – each girl became a highly valued jewel in their eyes. Words cannot describe the transformation that has taken place in each young girl. We are looking to run four mentorship groups this coming year and will continue to refine and work on our material. It hasn’t cost us much, it isn’t playing the world numbers game, but it is giving hope to a few precious girls each year and we are thrilled. I am immensely thankful to Ropa and Rura, Isabel and Shyline for all they poured into this project and for it’s success this year and for the incredible Trainee Mentors who have become part of us too!

 

Our Mobile Lab continues to run on Saturday mornings – running two sessions per Saturday, impacting students from all over Harare and different High Density schools. Giving them a deep joy for science, seeing their worth and learning the practical side of a subject. I tell my two awesome teachers – the academic side is important but above all of this is your heart connection with these students!!! We want them to leave with hope and purpose

 

in their hearts, that someone values them deeply as a person. I think they accomplish that and more in the 9 weeks we have the students!

 

We continue to see students get international scholarships and will see students go off to Botswana, Germany, The States and Morocco next year, having sent students this year to Scotland, The States, Mauritius, Botswana and Kenya. These scholarships are an amazing opportunity and we are proud of our students but the real heros are the students studying at our local universities!

We have 22 students at UZ and NUST. We have regular get togethers at our house, mentorship sessions and opportunities to encourage each other. We had a big emphasis on mental health this year and this I think has been particularly worthwhile for our students. The living conditions of many of our students as they try and secure accommodation near campus is completely unacceptable and it has been heartbreaking to witness! We have had three incredible families come forward and offer their homes to Makomborero. A couple in Vainona have given space in their home to two Makomborero University students and have been doing this for a few years now and another couple invested in converting 4 rooms on their property into beautiful accommodation for four of our students. This has been a life saver! The last family have generously donated us a house in Avondale West which we will be looking to convert into an 18 bed University Residence. These three families have blessed Makomborero beyond words and we are so incredibly grateful – humbled and overwhelmed at their generosity!

 

I can’t move on from our University students without acknowledging the big role that Sandvik play in the success of this programme. As things have become more and more challenging in Zimbabwe the gaps in our funding have grown. Sandvik have plugged this gap for us with our University Students and if it was not for them we would not have been able to pay tuition fees.   Our partnership with Sandvik has been humbling and life saving all at the same time. The vital food packs arriving just in time to fill students bellies have filled a very real practical need! Their vision for Zimbabwe and their incredible leadership is inspiring and I leave their site often feeling like I’ve visited a foreign land.

 

Thank you to our corporate sponsors and individual sponsors. It is wonderful to have the loyalty of our long standing sponsors, you do not realise how much your dedication to us means, when so many of our local sponsors have had to stop supporting us over this year! A shout out to four corporates who this year have upped their game and really plugged some holes for us – Halsted, Belina Payrol, Multichoice and Caurnarddmetal box for sponsoring today. Thank you, thank you! This investment will pay off in the long run!

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you from all of us at Makomborero Zimbabwe!!!

 

 

Science testing
Science testing
Graduation 2019
Graduation 2019
Reunions
Reunions
Selection process
Selection process
Grocery donation
Grocery donation

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Nov 26, 2019

Update on the third term so far

Students from 1st round of tests
Students from 1st round of tests

We have not yet purchased the bus and we are still finding ways to fundraise. Prices continue to increase with the hyperinflationary conditions currently prevailing. We managed to get updated quotations locally and from South Africa. The third term is always busy and we are trying to combine so many activities. Thankfully the current upper sixes have just finished writing their exams. The testing process for 2020 scholarship students has also started, with the 1st round having been done this weekend. This saw 200 students from all over Zimbabwe coming through, all very hopeful and very gifted students. Apart from the testing they also got Lifeskills training, art session and some motivational talk from Makomborero Alumni students. It is times like this where we wish we had a bigger bus to help transport the students. We are grateful to Hellenic Academy who lent us their buses for students living in Chitungwiza which is 26kms outside Harare, the rest were dropped off in town to find other transport means to their respective homes.

This year we will be participating on the Giving Tuesday on the 3rd of December 00:00:00 ET and end at 23:59:59 ET on Dec. 3, 2019. We need to raise money from at least 20 unique donors to qualify for the bonus prizes. For more terms please follow the link on https://www.globalgiving.org/2019-givingtuesday-terms/ 

In other news here are some of the updates from our November newsletter:

It's nearly the end of term, and therefore prize giving with many of our students winning amazing prizes. 

Congratulations to our Gateway High School boys & girls on bringing home 2 trophies and a shield at their Prize Giving day last week. 

  • Muzi (U6) got subject prizes in Maths and Chemistry, won DHL Senior Attainment Trophy for best AS results and best Sciences student. 
  • Yeukai (L6) got subject prizes for Biology and Chemistry and the Mathematics Cup. 
  • Winnie (L6) won the subject prize in Mathematics. 

Congratulations too to our Hellenic boys, both Lower 6s and Upper 6s received prizes at the school's Annual Prize Giving Ceremony! 

 Girl Mentorship Programme

Laura visited the Girl Mentorship programme in Mufakose recently - she found it so lovely to see how the girls have found their voices! At the start of the programme some were so shy and hardly spoke a word, but they can now stand up front and debate!  We have seen huge transformations during the course of the year, and to Makomborero that is what the programme is all about - empowering the girls and giving them hope for a brighter future. We are looking forward to starting another 2 programs next year!

Thank you all for the kind donations that enabled us to get solar lights to students staying at our University Residence!  We are so grateful for the grocery donations for our University of Zimbabwe students from a local business this week. What a timely donation this has been, just when we had received messages from students saying they had run out of food!

 And so it begins...!

This past weekend an incredible team of 9 volunteers read through every one of our 450 application forms. So grateful for hours of their time, allowing the stories to be told. Each student given a place to say 'this is my story'! And for our team to consider each one. The trauma, pain, victory - inspiring beyond words!

Makomborero Zimbabwe are now gearing up for the first round of testing in 2 weeks time. This will be a memorable, life-changing weekend for 200 of our applicants, as well as an intense testing process.  We have previously blogged about our testing process, and you can read about it in more detail here, and Laura's personal take on the process here.

The logistics of receiving these 450 application forms from around the country, amidst extreme fuel shortages, has to be carefully planned, along with then contacting 200 students who don't always have access to the internet, or a phone of their own, makes this an incredibly complicated process.  But the rewards of seeing lives transformed makes it all worthwhile!

Selection process
Selection process
Gateway Prizes
Gateway Prizes
Donation of groceries
Donation of groceries

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