TANZANIA GIRLS' EDUCATION MOVEMENT (TGEM)
Lobbying and Advocacy for girls education
Tanzania Girls Education Movement (TGEM) is a participatory movement designed to give us, we, the children and young people of Tanzania, the maximum opportunity to develop and express our own ideas without adult interference. At the same time, we want to build our capacity to participate fully and creatively in the decisions that affect us.
TGEM resulted from the Girls Education Movement (GEM) conference held in Kampala, Uganda on August 15th - 17th, 2001. And attended by children and young people from throughout Africa. GEM is a mass movement in Africa that will enable the continent to take a great leap forward in the process of transformation of societies, is also child - centred, child led grassroots movement in Africa whose goal is to empower girls by lobbying for; equal access to education, improved quality pf education for both boys and girls, gender sensitive curricula and learning materials, safe environments, abolition of harmful cultural practices, life skills training to empower girls against sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and HIV/AIDS. Tanzania children decided to launch GEM branch and named it as Tanzania Girls Education Movement (TGEM).
GEM operates in six levels. Each of the six levels of the GEM Network Community, district or provincial, national, regional, continental and international is coordinating and supporting mechanism for what really counts GEM self governing groups of children and young people in schools, clubs and other organizations who have something to contribute to the struggle for fairness and quality in education and who want their voices to be heard.
TGEM is operating through a non-hierarchical network of local organizations led by children and young people. The TGEM network is a mechanism for nurturing and sustaining a focus on the ideas and leadership of children and young people. The network starts from local levels and builds up, so it is also a mechanism for promoting participation, democracy and diversity.
Tgem's objectives were developed from concept papers researched and written by African children and young people, debated at the Kampala conference by young delegates from throughout Africa and adopted by a Children and Young People's Parliament at the end of the some conference, when GEM was officially launched.
The objectives, which we, the young Africans agreed on for our new movement were;
*To protect and promote the rights of all girls to quality education
*To create spaces for Tanzanian girls to participate in decision making about their education - by identifying critical issues, evaluating best practices, proposing solutions and taking action on issues that affect their education and their lives in general
*To provide girls with opportunities to develop and exercise their leadership and technical skills
*To tap the potential of boys, men and women to work in partnership with girls to promote equitable, accessible, high-quality education in Tanzania and through education, to create equitable, just societies
*To protect the rights of girls with special needs and any children at risk of exploitation or abuse in or outside school
*To sensitize key actors on the importance of girls' education and mobilize them to support policies and programmers that will ensure quality education for all girls.
FUNCTIONS OF TGEM NETWORK
The basic function of the TGEM Network is:
To promote the objectives of GEM throughout Tanzania by enabling groups of children and young people in all parts of the country to share ideas, lobby for change and access resources. By creating linkages among girls and boys from different parts of Tanzania
The TGEM Network facilitates the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences to help build fairer and more equitable Tanzanian education systems and societies.
The TGEM network is also a platform for developing the consciousness and creativity of Tanzanian young people and creating a "critical mass" to ignite positive change. And as a communication resource
The TGEM network is a forum to lobby for support from strategic allies i.e. boys, women, men, civil society, policy-makers and donors.
Girls and boys, supported by young women and men as strategic allies, will lead the network right from the community level to the national level. TGEM believes that empowering girls is the best way to strengthen and accelerate positive transformation in Tanzania and Africa. The empowerment of girls is the key to overcoming barriers to development, ensuring healthy families and building stable, productive communities.
TGEM in standpoint
There are many different organizations working for the goal of Education for All (EFA) by 2015. Yet both access to education and quality of education are declining in many parts of the developing world, especially in Tanzania. And almost everywhere in Africa, girls are the worst affected. Fewer girls than boys get the chance to go to school. More girls than boys drop out of school, and girls are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and HIV infection. Girls are also victimised by harmful cultural factors such as female genital mutilation, forced and/or early marriages and negative attitudes about girls' capabilities, especially in maths, sciences, computers and other technical subjects.
There are many social, political and economic reasons for the declining capacity of many Tanzanian education systems and for the discrimination against girls. We know that underdevelopment in education is just one aspect of a much larger development problem in Tanzania and that education problems can't be solved in isolation.
But we also know that educating and empowering girls is the best single investment we can make in overall social and economic development. Educated girls and women are the key to healthy, stable families and peaceful, productive communities.
Empowering girls, particularly through life skills training, is the best possible HIV/AIDS prevention strategy. TGEM doesn't want to compete with other organizations working to improve education and empower girls in Tanzania. Nor are we saying that other organizations are not doing good work. But we want to bring the ideas and voices of girls and boys to the forefront. We think the best way of making
progress on girls' education is for children and young people themselves to have a chance to develop and share ideas about how our education systems can be improved. As Urban Jonsson, the Regional Director of UNICEF ESARO said at gem's launching, " Children and young people are the experts on childhood and youth. So to tackle the problems of girls' education in Africa, let's call in the experts!"
*The Best Single Investment a nation can make in social and economic development
*The most effective long term HIV/AIDS prevention strategy
*The key to healthy, happy families and stable, productive communities
*A fundamental human right which every signatory to United Nations Convection on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is obligated to respect
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