Wasichana Wanaweza (Girls are Able) Scholarship Fund

Tanzania

In January 2012 a group of women and their daughters from Kingston ON Canada joined a medical caravan in Tanzania administered through the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. Prior to the medical caravan, the group of women met with Dr. Karen Yeates, the co-founder of Prevention Through Empowerment, and a Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre Volunteer and Board Member. After collaborating with Dr. Yeates, the group of women and daughters decided that not only did they want to support the Medical Caravan; they wanted to create a fund that would make a difference in the lives of some of the young women in Tanzania. The group decided that they wanted to raise money to provide secondary school scholarships for young women. 

$2,500 raised so far

About

As in most of the world, a young girl who has an opportunity to receive an education will stand a greater chance of living a more success and fulfilling life, based on the employment opportunities education provides. Unfortunately, many girls are faced with obstacles such as gender based violence, gender inequality and HIV, to name a few, thus lessening their chances for success. Providing a young girl with an education is a way of giving hope to her and her family, thus helping her realize her dreams and transforming communities. The women from the group in Kingston also wanted to demonstrate to their own daughters that they can make a difference in the world, by helping one person at a time.

The group of women and daughters collaborated with the social worker from the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre. She worked with the School Headmasters to select five young women from each of the three high schools the Pamoja Tunaweza Women Centre is affiliated with. The criteria for selecting the young women required that each young woman had to excel academically and required financial support to continue their education.

An overnight empowerment retreat to Lake Chala was subsequently organized by the Kingston women with the assistance of Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre Social Workers. All of the girls selected would join the Canadian women and daughters for an overnight camping trip. The evening prior to the camping, the women and daughters met to discuss the final details of the trip and to try and establish a name for the scholarship fund. The daughters all agreed that the name had to have meaning for the young women they were going to meet so they decided to choose a Swahili name (which is the prominent language spoken in Tanzania). The Kingston girls decided upon Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Fund which translates to mean “Girls are Able” Scholarship Fund.

The Tanzanian girls selected were unaware of the Scholarship Fund prior to the camping trip and thought that they had been awarded the opportunity to go on the trip as a reward for their academic success. Once the young Tanzanian women arrived and met the Kingston women and daughters all of the Canadian and Tanzanian girls were asked to share their personal stories about family, school, and their personal aspirations for the future. The exchange of stories was extremely moving and inspirational for all. Originally the Kingston women and daughters had planned to select five girls to offer a scholarship to. Upon hearing their stories, fraught with hardship, heartache and perseverance, the Kingston women met and decided to extend the scholarship offer to all of the young Tanzanian women and as such allow each of the young women a chance to change their lives through education. Following breakfast the next morning, the Kingston women and daughters announced to all of the Tanzanian girls that they would commit to offer all of the girls a Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship. This news was met with shock, tears, laughter and an abundance of hugs and love. 

The Kingston women and daughters explained to these young women that they would not be able to do this alone, that they would have to fundraise and solicit donations to make this possible. The young Tanzanian Women began to call the Kingston women “mama” but it was conveyed to them that they will have many “aunts” and “uncles” in Canada who will also believe in them. The theme of the Lake Chala trip was “Together We Can”.

The Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Fund is currently supporting the original fifteen young women (ten of which are orphans) and one additional young woman who was a sister of one of the Lake Chala girls. One of the Tanzanian girls selected has a younger sister who was very distressed when she realized she could not continue her education, but that her sister was going to be funded. Upon hearing this, the Kingston women agreed that the only reasonable response would be to pay for her to attend school also, increasing the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Fund to support sixteen young women.

In addition to establishing the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Fund, the Kingston group also raised (through a fundraising event held in Kingston) the funds required to build a Medical Lab at the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre in Moshi Tanzania.

Project Vision

Ensuring that all of the sixteen girls selected have the funding and supports to go as far as they are able to academically in order to pursue their dreams. Education can enable the girls to create a life for themselves with financial security improving their chance of remaining healthy and having productive lives within their own communities. Education is one of the most cost-effective ways to achieve long-term security and development in a society.

By providing financial aid to further their educational endeavours, we are helping to prepare these remarkable adolescent girls for the future. Education has the ability to increase confidence and develop functional life skills, relevant to their culture and society. The success of the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Program will not only be realized by educating the sixteen extraordinary young women selected, but will also have far-reaching impact on their families and communities. Supporting education is a genuine “pay it forward” approach to the betterment of many lives, well beyond the sixteen girls selected.

Projects Mission/Goals

The Wasichana Wanaweza “Girls are Able” Scholarship Fund was developed to ignite hope by providing the financial resources needed to educate and improve the lives of the young African women who participated in the Kingston Connection Empowerment Trip at Lake Chala

In Line with CACHA’s Vision and Goals

CACHA mobilizes resources and addresses problems facing the rural poor, orphans and vulnerable children and other local communities in order to improve their living conditions and create an enabling environment for education, health and other basic needs. 

CACHA seeks to improve population health and provide HIV care and education to remote African communities. CACHA accomplishes this through the provision of adequate resources based on the determinants of health that include: childhood education, water and sanitation, women's rights, income security, housing and nutrition. They provide materials, infrastructure, and promote skill development in order to create a positive outcome on health in supported regions of operation. CACHA seeks to engage in strategic partnerships and build programs to ensure sustainability, transparency and accountability.

Through the umbrella of the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre and in strategic partnership with CACHA, the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Fund is helping to address the needs of sixteen, rural, indigent, young women. Many of whom are orphaned and vulnerable. The goal is to enable, them in their own environment, by providing them with the necessary resources to continue their education.

Project Objectives

To raise funds through private donations and fundraising to:

  • Provide the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship recipients with scholarships to pay for Secondary–Ordinary Education (Form 1-4 for ages 14-17), including school fees, examination fees, school supplies, caution fees, watchmen fees, school uniforms, shoes and daily lunch
  • Provide the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship recipients with scholarships to pay for Secondary-Advanced Education (Form 5-6) for ages 18 -19) including school fees, boarding fees, school supplies, uniforms, healthcare, meals, bus money
  • Provide the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship recipients who become eligible with scholarships to pay for University/College and the associated expenses
  • Support the sixteen young students who have already experienced educational interruptions due to family and financial strains; we hope to provide the financial help and resulting security needed for successful academic achievement

Activities

  • Payment for Secondary School Ordinary & Advanced and University/College Tuition and associated fees\
  • Payment for the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’s Centre social worker, to act as a liaison between the Wasichana Wanaweza scholarship recipients and their

Canadian benefactors, practical responsibilities such as payment of annual school fees, biannual visits to the girls to assess their needs, challenges, and successes as well as to offer guidance

  • Making payment of school examination fees, provision of school uniforms/shoes, school supplies, and providing healthy lunches since hunger impairs learning
  • Assessing safety needs and paying associated costs such as a watchman, when needed
  • Supporting local healthcare infrastructure through donation directed toward the Pamoja Tunaweza Women’ Centre Medical Laboratory
  • Providing miscellaneous, but important items such as eyeglasses, mattresses, linens etc. on an individual need basis

Projected Outputs

  • The hope is that the majority of the young women will graduate to then become self-sufficient and to then act as role models to other young women in their communities
  • The young women will be equipped to provide assistance to their families and be agents of change in their communities
  • That the promise of scholarship funds have provided each of the recipients with hope for their future lives; each girl has knowledge of the fact that an entire group of people believe in them and are committed to helping them succeed in realizing their dreams
  • According to Global Partnerships for Education:

¨     If a child’s mother can read they are 50 per cent more likely to live past the age of five

¨     one extra year of schooling can increase a person’s earning capacity by up to 10 percent

¨     the risk of war is reduced by three percent if the enrolment rate in secondary school is 10 percent higher than the average 

Direct/Indirect Beneficiaries:

  • The direct beneficiaries are the sixteen young women that the Wasichana Wanaweza Scholarship Fund supports
  • Should these young women have a family of their own one day, their children will benefit directly from their mothers’ education
  • The indirect beneficiaries include the families or guardians of the young women, whose financial burden has been eased by the scholarship fund
  • Another group of indirect beneficiaries is the other children of these families or guardians; they may now have the funds to send another child in the family to school
  • In the end we hope another indirect beneficiary will be each community in which the girls will ultimately live and work

Project Sustainability

  • The project is fully funded by personal donations and ongoing fundraising initiatives in Canada
  • The Kingston women and daughters involved in the project are committed to seeing that each one of the selected girls have the opportunity to receive the level and type of education, which allows them to optimize their personal potential