Asante Africa’s Girls’ Advancement Program Supports
Women’s Equality Day
Written by: Zak Attioui
The History of Women’s Equality Day
Women’s Equality Day — celebrated in the United States — dates back to 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment (prohibiting denying women the right to vote) was adopted to the United States Constitution. In 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. Every year since, we celebrate women on this day, condemning women’s oppression and equipping women with support for a bright future.
The Importance of This Day to Asante Africa:
For years, women were restricted from equal rights and opportunities—the same opportunities granted to men—but, on this day we highlight the importance for women’s equal rights and opportunities. In 2022, Women’s Equality Day celebrates the achievements of women’s rights activists and reminds us of the unique daily struggles that women face.
Education is the pathway to gender-equality. The United Nations studies reveal that education is the most effective way to reach gender-equality. “Girls accounted for 53 percent of the 61 million primary school children who were out of school in 2010.” By granting girls more access to education, we take a giant leap into reaching gender equality. “Not only is it impossible to achieve gender equality without education, but expanding education opportunities for all stimulates productivity and reduces the economic vulnerability of poor households.”
Equal rights and opportunities should not be restricted on the basis of one’s gender. We know that women can be change-agents in their communities as much as men. Our programs give importance to female leadership and gender equality by harnessing educational tools and empowering African youth. One program, in particular, that exemplifies Women’s Equality Day is our Wezesha Vijana (Girls’ Advancement) Program. Wezesha Vijana means “empowering ourselves” in Swahili.
The Wezesha Vijana Program is simple: we collaborate with parents, local leaders, and organizations to develop a community-based program that is specific to East Africans. We educate adolescent girls, their mothers, and male peers on female rights, reproductive health, financial literacy, and personal safety.
Our program results are incredible: Our program results show that post-intervention, girls have increased knowledge on body maturation and puberty, with 85% of participants reporting they confidently attend classes during menstruation and 70% reporting that they know the importance of preventing HIV. Financial understanding has increased, with 95% appreciating the significance of saving for future goals. 89% of girls at schools involved with the program have demonstrated an improvement in academic performance.
Numerous studies highlight the importance of girls’ education as the most cost-effective strategy for promoting development and economic growth. We have many success stories from our Girls’ Advancement program and other programs that back up the studies. Sauma (currently a Form 1 student) is an alumni from our program. Read her story down below.
Sauma From Tanzania:
Sauma lives in the Usambara Mountains in Northern Tanzania. Her parents are divorced, placing a lot of weight on Sauma’s shoulders, being the oldest of four.
She began menstruating during the pandemic at her home. Since menstruation is viewed as a taboo discussion within her community, she felt restricted in seeking help nor did she have enough money to purchase sanitary pads. Once she learned that her school offered Wezesha Vijana club-based program, she joined it. This is what she has to say about being part of this club.
“I was worried as I did not want to get sick from using dirty clothes. When I’m in school, I benefit from being a part of the Wezesha Vijana club led by team members from Asante Africa Foundation. They distribute sanitary pads to girls and also teach us about staying healthy during this time.” — Sauma
During the pandemic and through the Wezesha Vijana intervention, Asante Africa distributed family essentials kits that included many sanitary pads and learning/survival necessities. Sauma was one of many who received this care package. This is what she has to say about the package.
“Getting this package was a relief. Having enough sanitary pads saved me from being embarrassed. Even though I was out of school, I got enough learning material to continue my studies and do well in my final exams.” – Sauma
Did you know?
Only 29% of rural girls successfully transitioned from primary school to secondary school in Tanzania due to cost and language barriers. Will you help us “Bridge The Gap” as we send 300 students back to school this year?
This month, your gift will have double the impact!
When you give $200 to send a student back to school, Quest Foundation will match your donation dollar for dollar and make twice the impact.
Thank you for supporting us as we unleash the power of the next generation.