Waache Wasome “Let them Learn”

Waache Wasome empowers girls and young women in Tanzania to complete their education, develop protective assets, and take control of their futures.

Funder

USAID

Location

KARATU, TARIME, AND MUSOMA DISTRICTS

Dates

2016 - 2021

Waache Wasome’s comprehensive model supports girls in Tanzania to set and achieve personal and educational goals. Project interventions with secondary school students and teachers address the complex social norms and economic barriers that constrain girls’ ability to access or remain and excel in school. The project also provides a tailored package of services to highly vulnerable girls who have dropped out of school due to pregnancy, early marriage, or other hardship. Waache Wasome enables girls to build protective assets using evidence-based content and engages men and boys as allies in combating gender-discrimination and violence at the school and community levels—all in close partnership with the Government of Tanzania.

The core objectives and activities of the Waache Wasome project are to:

Women infographicBuild the agency, knowledge, and protective assets of girls in secondary school: Through peer-led and teacher-mentored Protect Our Youth (POY) Clubs, students participate in an evidence-based, life-skills curriculum that develops critical skills such as decision-making, leadership, and self-esteem. POY Clubs offer students a safe space to discuss issues like violence in schools, gender-norms, and child rights. The adolescent girls and boys who participate in POY share the lessons they learn with the greater school community through dramas, songs, and debates.

Increase family commitment and capacity to invest in girls’ education: Caregivers of girls attending project schools are invited to participate in the LIMCA (Livelihood Improvement for Mothers and Caregivers of Adolescents) initiative. LIMCA are savings and lending groups, supported by Economic Empowerment Volunteers who are trained by WEI/Bantwana. Through small, but regular, savings contributions, LIMCA members build up sufficient loan funds that they can use for starting or growing a small business or investing in a major household upgrade (such as electricity). LIMCA members receive basic financial literacy and business skills training as well as “positive parenting” sessions that improve their communication skills, awareness of adolescent development, and understanding of the importance of educating girls. Each LIMCA group also contributes to an Education Fund that is used to support students in need in their communities.

Foster a girl-friendly and supportive school environment: The project enlists educators through intensive training and follow-up that focuses on attitudes, practices, and changing approaches to school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV). Through a cascaded training model, the project supports head teachers to deliver awareness and skills sessions to the entire teaching staff. The training emphasizes children’s rights, teachers’ roles and codes of conduct, positive discipline, and prevention of and response to physical, sexual, or psychological violence. Waache Wasome helped establish Dropout Early Warning Systems in schools to assist teachers and administrators with early identification of signs of potential dropout—and with information, skills, and referral networks to ensure that girls at risk of dropping out receive the needed support to stay in school. Waache Wasome also challenges negative stereotypes about girls’ interest and abilities in science subjects through co-ed, in-school Science and Math Subject Clubs, which are typically led by two girls and one boy and through weekend Design Squad Clubs which offer girls and boys equal opportunities to participate in a hands-on design process to create simple engineering projects.

Provide alternative education pathways for girls who have dropped out of secondary school: Out of School Support Groups (OSSGs) are peer groups for adolescent girls and young women who have dropped out of school (whether due to pregnancy, early marriage, or other hardship) and have no option to return to public secondary school. Waache Wasome has adapted WEI/Bantwana’s evidence-based models from other countries to the Tanzanian context to provide wrap-around services to these marginalized out-of-school adolescent girls and young women. The project builds buy-in for the intervention among local government and community leaders, before introducing it to the girls and their families. The OSSG model offers participants step-by-step opportunities to develop life skills and learn about health education, early childhood development, and basic business and financial literacy. They have the opportunity to take part in income-generation skills training and participate in individual or group savings activities—all in a supportive peer environment which helps reintegrate girls back into their communities.