Gender Respect Project
The goal of this project is to help Tina’s students make decisions that improve their chances to remain in school and lead healthy lives through a curriculum centered around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender-based violence (GBV).
The Gender Respect Project was initiated by Manuel Kernen, who traveled to Shirati with REACH in 2009, when he helped build the first water catchment tank at Tina’s school. In early 2019, Manuel returned to Tina’s School with the idea of adding to the health and gender issues curriculum at our school.
Our Headmistress, Madam Anna, along with teacher, Linda Arot, and Manuel went on to design a socially and culturally sensitive curriculum. The project does more than instill knowledge, it builds a foundation of mutual respect and understanding for gender rights among our students and their families. Indeed, after informing the students of the project, they were required to get explicit permission from their parents to participate, and their families unanimously gave enthusiastic consent!
The Gender Respect Project was launched in January of 2019 with 49 girls and boys from class five learning side-by-side, as requested by the children, about SRHR and GBV. In the coming years, we hope to expand this project at Tina’s and further our collaboration with Dr. Chirangi from Shirati Hospital.
We believe this is a vital addition to the life-changing education our students already receive at Tina’s, because gender plays an important role in the opportunities available to youth in Tanzania. Traditionally boys are encouraged more to get an education while girls are likely to be married early. REACH Shirati has worked very hard to shift this paradigm in the community we serve through our scholarships that encourage more girls to not only start school but to continue their education into secondary schools.