Today TaLI joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child #IDGC2018, a day set aside to acknowledge the struggles the girl child faces in her everyday life. These challenges include lack of access to education, early and forced child marriages, maternal mortality, sexual abuse, lack of representation among other issues. In Zimbabwe more than 27% of children are not going to school, according to the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education 2016-2020, and the major reason being the inability to pay for school fees and levies. The constitution of Zimbabwe Section 75(a) provides for basic education for all children and sets the responsibility on the government to ensure every child has access to education.
This year’s theme “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce” resonates well with the struggles girls and young women women in Zimbabwe face. The Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank reported that only 10% of our national economic gains are enjoyed by women, yet they provide the most labor and constitute 52% of our country’s population. This tells us that there is urgent need to ensure opportunities are availed to the girl child to develop herself to be able to be skilled and attract better income as she enters the work force. When girls are provided with good education and exposure opportunities, they are able to access training as doctors, engineers, pilots, innovators, and to dream big to become business leaders, civil society leaders and public service leaders.
In commemoration of the 11th of October, TaLI held the Annual Girls Conference #TaLIAGC2018 with support from Econet, SAPST Trust, Global Fund For Women and Higherlife where close to 100 girls came together over 2 days from the 2nd of October to the 3rd. Some of the girls who attended the conference were from the TaLI Leadership Economic Mentorship Programme (LEMH) who in turn recruited other young people in their communities where they lead development projects together. During the conference, the young women learnt more about their rights, to get more exposure to opportunities, to build their confidence. They mingled with successful business women and men. Most importantly they sat with Parliamentarians and lobbied for education for every child. With the Leadership of TaLI Secretariat, they managed to convince the members of Parliament who came to the Conference to lobby government for #EveryChildInSchool, a campaign which TaLI in partnership with ZNCWC, WCoZ, ECOZI and more than 150 organisations across the country launched last December to push for access to basic education. Through this campaign, the consortium is calling for the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to release a circular to instruct school authorities in public schools to allow for children who cannot afford schools fees to enrol for basic education while their parents negotiate for payment plans, and also with the view in the long run for making basic education absolutely free. Members of Parliament Honorables Chinanzvavana, Saruwaka, Kwaramba and Tofa committed to move a motion in parliament in support of this call.
The government of Zimbabwe must work to prioritise education for all as we are in the New Republic. The national budget must depict the 20% as agreed in regional agreements and this 20% must not be to fund the Public Service bill in the form of teachers salaries but to fund for the resourcing of children’s education including putting mechanisms such as these Circulars that allow children access even without money into public schools. As the government pushes for a middle income in 2030, this cannot be without ensuring basic education for all, and it begins now. As we call for Zimbabwe is Open for Business; Investors must contribute to an education fund for children and the health of our nation, and so should local corporates.
Source: Tag a Life International (TaLI)