One of Girl Child Network’s ways of engaging with communities is through community health volunteers. We identify people in each community who are willing and have the time to advocate for girls’ education in their own neighborhoods. We train them and provide them with support so that they can work toward reenrolling girls in school. Some CHVs take the training and run with it, identifying additional ways they can advocate for education in their communities! Ismael is one of these CHVs.
Most children in Ismael’s neighborhood attend Bahati Primary School. After spending some time there, he realized that the school was lacking some of the things it needed to function effectively. He started meeting with the district commissioner for education and various NGOs working in the area to advocate for the school. Due in large part to his advocacy efforts, since 2013, Bahati Primary has gotten a preschool unit, nine toilets (four funded by Girl Child Network!), a fence, two new classrooms, and four classroom renovations. Because the community knows that the school is becoming safer and healthier, they are sending their children to school in record numbers. Since 2013, their population has increased from 60 to 114!
But Ismael’s greatest impact has been on individual girls and families. By going from house to house in his community, Ismael has identified out-of-school girls and started conversations with their parents about why they should send their girls to school. Although many parents pull their girls out of school so that they can support the family by making money or doing housework, he explains that having educated girls will help the family much more in the long run. Because the parents already know Ismael as a neighbor, they’re willing to listen to what he has to say. Through these conversations, Ismael has gotten six girls reenrolled at Bahati Primary School! One of those girls has now completed primary school and taken the national examination. Because of Ismael’s dedication and Girl Child Network’s support, these six girls will have brighter futures with greatly increased opportunities to support themselves and their families!