Working within the formal school system in Tanzania enabled Rights, My Voice (MRMV) to convert school governance and result in significant improvements in students’ confidence and voice, as well as the quality of their education.
My Rights, My Voice is a four-year programme that educates poor and marginalised children and youth about their health and education rights. The programme was implemented by our local partners in eight countries – Afghanistan, Georgia, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam – and was primarily funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
Children and young people have enormous power to change their families and communities. They can be a driving force in breaking the cycle of poverty that so many are born into if given the right skills, support, and opportunities.To help them reach their full potential, their rights to health and education must be respected. In Tanzania, we teach students (particularly girls) about governance, their right to a high-quality education, and how to hold authorities accountable. And we’re assisting schools and the government in harnessing student feedback to improve learning.
Building the confidence and leadership of girls and young women required concerted training, mentoring, and capacity-building – as well as attention to gender dynamics.
Teachers used to treat students unfairly in Tanzania, but now that students are aware of their rights, they can all sit down and discuss their problems together.The project takes a multi-sectoral approach to ensure that girls and women achieve their educational goals. Great developments in attitudes and beliefs about female students becoming leaders in schools and communities resulted from the project. More female leaders in communities now have higher potential and hope.
The project’s overall goal was to empower students, particularly girls, to advocate for their educational rights and to participate in school decision-making processes. The MRMV approach was transformative because it focused on developing students’ capacities as rights holders capable of demanding their own quality education.
To enable students, particularly female students, to speak out collectively for their rights to quality education and educational priorities;
2. To assist female students in becoming good leaders in their schools and communities.
3. Increase community and consultation with student leaders in order to advocate for improvements in school governance processes.
More relevantly, as both female and male students have seen improvements in education quality as a result of their own empowerment and awareness of their rights, student interest and participation in student councils has increased, which bodes well for the project’s long-term viability.