World Vision International
article • Thursday, July 30th 2015

Men become champions for girls' education in Zimbabwe

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Lot is a 66-year-old man participating in the IGATE programme in Zimbabwe. (Photo credit: Sibusisiwe Ndlovu / World Vision)

IGATE has found that within Zimbabwe, similar to many Sub-Saharan African countries, the involvement of men at all levels of change is critical for adoption and sustainability of new practices. Current gender norms within communities are often perpetuated by groups of individuals who lack the knowledge and leadership required to make difficult but important steps towards parity. Read more in the IGATE 2014 - 2015 Annual Report.

Lot's story in his own words

I heard about IGATE in 2014 when I attended a five day training at our local school, Masenyane Primary. I had heard through the grapevine that other communities had bought goats through this IGATE programme and so was curious to know more about it. During the training we were taught about the six IGATE models and I became a member of a Village Savings and Lending group. I am also a member of the Mothers Group.

Life has become far easier for us as we can now pay [school] fees for our children.

In our group we save and lend out money monthly to each other. We have tried to increase our money through fundraising. We also buy and sell commodities using the money that we would have borrowed from the group. Life has become far easier for us as we can now pay [school] fees for our children.

In the Mothers Group[1] we sew pads [sanitary napkins] and these are distributed to needy girls so they can have something proper to use[2]. At first sewing pads was difficult for me but it has become easier. Our challenge has been that of acquiring the waterproof material. Through linking with other organisations, Days for Girls has donated a lot of this material to our Mothers Group. We are hoping to sew as many pads as we can. We also teach children on menstrual hygiene, though I must admit that at first it was a difficult thing for me to do.

Previously education was not valued in this community but these days you see men busy buying things to support their children’s education.

I hope that as we acquire more money through the Village Savings and Lending group. We will continue to send our children to school and at the same time acquire more assets like livestock which are a symbol of wealth in our culture. Other men are getting involved in IGATE as they have realised that IGATE can help their families. Some are now active in advocating for the end of child abuse too.

The most significant change in our community is that men are changing their mind-set in relation to sending children to school. Previously education was not valued in this community but these days you see men busy buying things to support their children’s education. There is an improvement in the payment of school fees. IGATE has brought a positive change in our community.

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 [1] Within IGATE, World Vision has begun to see more men joining these groups, showing greater interest in supporting girls and being a part of the solution for improving their attendance in school. There are currently 344 active Mothers Groups in Zimbabwe.

[2] One of the reasons that girls miss school in many developing countries is because they lack access to private latrines or feminine products, which may be cost prohibitive or unavailable.

 
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