Tanzanian girls and young women empowered through income-generating activities

“It is such a big achievement being economically independent and having my own income", said Fatma Khamis from Mkoani, Tanzania. She did not have basic literacy and numeracy before joining the UNESCO’s project nor training in skills development or entrepreneurship. She is now working as a henna artist while taking care of her three children. Recently, she has opened a small grocery shop in her village.

In Tanzania, around 600,000 young women dropped out of school in 2019, according to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Dropouts often occur during the transition from primary to secondary education. Nearly 73% of boys make the transition to secondary school versus 69% of girls. Dropout often relate to various challenges such as adolescent pregnancy, early marriage, lack of family support, a less conducive learning environment, and ultimately a lack of skills for income-generating activities.

It is such a big achievement being economically independent and having my own income
Fatma Khamis, a project beneficiary from Mkoani, Tanzania

UNESCO has been providing alternative education to out-of-school girls and young women, including young mothers, since 2018 in collaboration with the Tanzania government. Skills training range from pre-vocational and entrepreneurship skills to ICT and life skills. Girls who could not read and write have participated in literacy and numeracy training at a community-based youth centre established by the UN joint programme in Tanzania.

More than 700 girls developed pre-vocational and like skills in Sengerema in Mwanza, Ngorongoro in Arusha, Kasulu in Kigoma, and Mkoani in Pemba island. Among them, around 100 girls completed internships under local companies. Thirty-eight income-generating groups, ‘Village Community Banking (VICOBA) Groups’, were created to support their small-scale businesses. UNESCO plans to provide seed money to income-generating groups to further their professional journey. UNESCO will also support five girls from Mkoani for their education in Dar es Salaam.

The participating girls and young women have clear visions. “With this journey with UNESCO and fellow girls, I found my goal. I want to share our experience, empower other girls in Pemba and Unguja island and even mainland Tanzania[1]", said Walda.

This project was part of the UN Joint Programme, 'Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education in Tanzania', supported by KOICA. Launched in 2015, it applies a collaborative, coordinated and multi-sectoral approach to ensuring girls’ and women’s right to quality education in Tanzania.

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[1]Tanzania consists of mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar islands, namely Pemba and Unguja islands.