TUSEME” a Kiswahili word meaning “Lets Us Speak Out” is an empowerment training for girls, boys and Teachers on Gender Responsive pedagogy. It is a complete community concept and one answer to many concerns; it is an original human right based approach, gender responsive and inclusive. Because of its inclusiveness, the “TUSEME” process is persuasive and effective for social mobilization, which offers a distinct advantage in the effort to promote girls education and gender concerns because it instils oral expression, problem solving, values and attitudes to the youth for survival to enable them live in dignity and to participate fully in their development. It is believed that empowering girls alone without boys would pay little dividend because society has already empowered and socialize boys. Through TUSEME both girls and boys are empowered to co-exist and work on development mutually. With “TUSEME”, meaningful Gender transformation can be achieved by eliminating the gender inequalities, thus empowering women from the time they are young girls.
Mothers’ Club is an organization of women dedicated to the advancement of women and girls through education. These Clubs are set up by FAWEGAM in collaboration with the ministry of Basic and Secondary education (MoBSE) and UNICEF and are attached to schools in their respective communities to support girls education. The Mother’s club is an initiative used to change attitudes in girls’ education with the understanding that if Mothers in the communities are in the forefront of the advocacy for girl’s education then they will be able to influence their leaders. Then girls will be able to attend school and with support can perform well and stay in school until they finish.
As part of their activities, they conduct enrolment drives, community sensitizations on issues around women and girls, guidance and counselling for older girls, advocate against Gender Based violence, early/forced marriage, support the needy students, supplement the school feeding program and monitor the attendance and performance of students especially the girls, for retention.
The Mother’s clubs has made considerable contribution in the education system of the Gambia and as a result, the enrolment of girls in schools has rose significantly and in some cases gone higher than that of the boys resulting to the Gambia reaching the EFA Gender parity goals of 2015
With support of its partners FAWEGAM has set up 275 Mothers Clubs Nationwide and provides them with seed money which they grow. With these funds they provide books, uniforms and shoes to needy children, some even built toilets and retain the services of teachers to conduct extra studies for the girls. Almost Mothers Clubs engage in farming and gardening of which the proceeds are used to support the school feeding program for a balance and hygienic diet. They also conduct guidance and counselling, advocacy against gender based violence and early marriage and also intervene in cases of early marriage.
About Mothers Clubs:
Its mission is to campaign, support and promote access, retention and quality education for girls through effective participation in the education system. Its aim is to boost enrolment, retention and performance of girls in schools. This is done through advocacy activities, resources mobilization, community sensitizations for access, enrolment and retention and quality education for women and girls.
The objective of the Mothers clubs is to provide support to increase enrolment rates in schools, encourage retention of girls in schools, increase girls’ participation in communities and become role models, promote clean and safe schools, ensure that children come to school clean and neat, support the school feeding program and needy children. They also intervene when a girl is at risk of dropping out of school, being given our in marriage or teenage pregnancy.
The functions of the Mothers club is to disseminate information on education to their communities, conduct enrollment campaign, contribute to the provision of basic learning materials, support the school gardens and farms, support the school feeding programs, work with the school administration and the Regional offices to improve the quality of education.
Since the setting up of mothers clubs we have realized some successes, each mothers clubs has its own executive which is responsible of the running of the club they have different capacity levels.
- Some have raised lots of funds through fundraising, income generation, setting up of school farms and gardens with the proceeds ploughed into the school feeding program for nutritional diets for the children and the rest sold for income generation.
- There are those that have built classrooms and toilets for their schools, pay teachers to study their children, support the schools by providing uniform, shoes, books, pens and pencils for the children. Fixing the school taps, repair furniture, provide bowls and utensils for the school kitchen and provide funds for the school when they go out on school trips.
- In partnership with the MoBSE the cluster monitors are able to help us in monitoring .
- Enrolment of girls has increased
- Mothers clubs are intervening where there are early marriage cases, girls dropping out and gender violence
- Development of mothers clubs training manual
- Setting up of Regional Network of Mothers Clubs to encourage collaboration between mothers clubs in their regions.
- Joint annual review of mothers clubs
- Study visits amongst mothers clubs
With success there must be some challenges; FAWEGAM has been able to set up 275 clubs nationwide. There are some communities that are setting up clubs which we are not aware of, we have been providing seed money through UNICEF but not all of the 275 mothers have received seed money and we are not able to reach all of them for trainings and monitoring due to the limited staff and unreliable vehicle.
- Raising the funds to be able to build the capacity of all the mothers clubs by providing them with training it requires funding which has been a great challenge.
- FAWEGAM do not have reliable vehicle since its accident to conduct regular monitoring.
UNICEF is providing funds for the Mothers Clubs in Central River Region (CRR) and Upper River Region (URR), the other four regions are not as well trained as their counterparts in CRR and URR