Mozambique: “She belongs in school”, a project that alerts to education “urgency’’

“She belongs in school” wants to encourage and keep girls in the education system. The work has already started and will be developed over the next five years in the Mozambican provinces of Nampula and Niassa.
The target audience of the “She Belongs in School” project are girls between the ages of 10 and 19, whether or not they attend school, and whose right to education is at risk. The initiative aims to eliminate some of the factors that contribute to school dropout among Mozambican girls.
“There are some gendered social norms that hinder or prevent girls from attending school and continuing with their studies to a higher level.” These norms include forced marriages and early marriages. We also have situations where families favor the boy over the girl when it comes to the investment of education and situations where the girl is overburdened with household chores, “explains the project director, Arsson Ruben.
In Niassa province, the project is being developed in three districts by Associaço Progresso and United Purpose. After meetings with the communities in 20 schools in the districts of Mandimba and Cuamba, and a previous survey, the school dropout rate of 5th to 7th grade students was observed.
Violeta Candeia, the project manager of Associação Progresso, considers it essential to have a greater follow-up of the girls, in order to remedy the situation. “We did a mapping of the 5th to 7th graders, we are going to form a group that we call monitoring, in which we are going to work with the girls in the initial phase for some life skills activities, extracurricular and also community mobilization. We are going to form an education interest group for the whole community, for the parents. They are going to have a meeting where we are going to talk about the value of education for the girl,” she explains.
The project also seeks to address the problem of distance between communities and educational establishments. “At the level of the provincial education directorate, we have been working with distance learning colleagues to map out the schools that will host the support and learning center for distance learning starting in 2023,” says the project manager.
“We are going to introduce it in ten schools, five in the district of Mandimba and five in the district of Cuamba, because one of the reasons for the lack of continuity of girls in school has to do with the fact that secondary schools are far from their communities, the idea is to see if we can bring it closer,” she adds.