Author: FAWE Team
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In Rwanda, UNICEF in collaboration with the ministry of education established model CFSs to effect innovative changes in the school curricular and approaches. TUSEME process is a key feature of every child-friendly school which FAWE Rwanda Chapter is promoting under the auspices of UNICEF. The child friendly school strategy is premised on the idea that the school community needs to accept girls and boys as they are and bring them into a safe, secure and protective place of learning and development that is committed to an equitable learning environment for all children and to gender equality. Therefore, TUSEME clubs in schools are empowerment model through which girls develop assertive skills and understand the gender construct of the society they live in. The clubs also, under the auspices of peers, educators, parents and community members empower boys and girls alike to take the initiative to solve their academic and social problems.
The general objectives of study were as follows:
– To examine the activeness and importance of TUSEME clubs in the CFSs
– To identify gaps in the TUSEME process within CFSs in order to improve its implementation
– To come up with recommendations which will help FAWE Rwanda Chapter to improve the implementation of TUSEME and ensure TUSEME process sustainability
Specifically, the study was designed to:
– Find out the status quo of TUSEME clubs activities in the CFSs
– Examine the impact of TUSEME with reference to girls’ empowerment
– Identify the challenges affecting the implementation of TUSEME process
– Suggest possible ways of strengthening TUSEME process
The study aimed at investigating the implementation of TUSEME process activities in child friendly schools. The survey was carried out in 40 percent of the Child Friendly Schools (CFS) in Rwanda, that is, 21 out of 54 schools were purposively selected from the list provided by FAWE Rwanda Chapter administrator. In view of the fact that the study was about TUSEME process, only schools with TUSEME clubs were considered.
To ascertain ecological validity, the schools were chosen from three provinces and Kigali city, that is, the Eastern, Northern and Western provinces. The study population comprised the school administrators, teachers, TUSEME club members, non TUSEME club members and the PTA/community members. In each school, twenty percent of the teachers were selected. Therefore, 89 teachers (50 males and 39 females) were purposively selected from 21 schools but only 82 filled in the questionnaire. The teachers were chosen according to proportionality, taking into consideration gender. Additionally, 8 TUSEME club members, 8 non TUSEME club members and at least 1 PTA/community members were interviewed in each school. Also, interviewed were stakeholders in TUSEME process in Rwanda and these included CHF International, MINEDUC, UNICEF and FAWE Rwanda Chapter.
Involvement of different informants was done for information and methodological triangulation purposes.
The factor being emphasised by the research design strategy was ‘data representativeness’ and the interpretation of the phenomena under inquiry. With this view, it is expected that more of the ‘emic’ (or the local) perspective will reinforce the ‘etic’ (the researchers’) elicitation (Cohen etal 2004, cited in Karangwa etal, 2007). In other words, in this study, the informants and areas of study were purposively sampled in order for the researchers to elicit the local picture or situation of TUSEME process in Rwanda, allowing the researchers their legitimate position as subjective interpreters of the research phenomena (Spradley, 1979).
The approach led to enormous amount of both statistical and narrative data, which were also subsequently subjected to ‘content analysis’ strategy in accordance to Silverman’s (2000, p. 143) and Miles & Huberman’s, (1994, p. 12) ‘reductionist’ theory. This approach is often viewed as a process that resembles a funnel because it involves a process that progressively sieves the data in a way that shuttles between data collection, data displays, data reduction and conclusion drawing or verification, resulting finally into charts, tables and other expressive data illustration forms.
In order to collect data, questionnaires for teachers and interview guides for non TUSEME club members, TUSEME club members, PTA/ Community members and TUSEME process stakeholders were designed. To determine validity of the data collection instruments, researchers pre-tested them in Bicumbi Primary School in Rwamagana District prior to administration to the intended informants. Subsequent to pre-testing of instruments was data collection. During data collection, teachers were given questionnaires to fill in by themselves and focus group discussions were held with non TUSEME club members and TUSEME club members using structured interview guides. Besides, interviews were held with PTA/ Community members and TUSEME process stakeholders.
Data were in essence gathered on the basis of the following themes among others:
– TUSEME club activities
– Impact of TUSEME Process on girls’ education
– Challenges faced by TUSEME clubs
– Problems encountered by girls
– Ways of promoting TUSEME Process
– Future plans for TUSEME Process
In order to arrive at the intended interpretation of the results, some of the raw data were keyed into Microsoft excel software for statistical analysis and interpretation to provide frequencies and figures which were employed to show the general status of TUSEME process in relation to some variables such as frequency of problems encountered by girls and boys in schools, teachers trained in TUSEME process, , teachers involved in TUSEME activities, Number of active TUSEME clubs in schools, and so on.
Findings and Conclusions:
This study aimed at assessing the activeness and impact of TUSEME clubs in the Child Friendly Schools(CFSs) in Rwanda. It examined the status quo of TUSEME clubs activities in the CFSs, the extent to which TUSEME has empowered girls in schools and the challenges affecting the implementation of TUSEME process. The survey was conducted in 21 purposively selected CFSs found in 13 districts in the provinces of East, West, North and the Mayoral of Kigali city. Data were collected from teachers, TUSEME club members, PTA/community members as well as stakeholders in TUSEME. All these informants were purposively selected and data collection instruments were basically questionnaires and structured interview guides.
The survey results revealed that TUSEME clubs in almost half of the schools sampled (48%) are generally inactive. Even those which are functional seemed to have revitalized their activities after a sensitization workshop on TUSEME local leaders at Sector level which was attended by some school administrators who also doubled as local leaders. . Besides, it was revealed that the activities of the clubs are not necessarily in line with TUSEME process. The clubs activities included singing, drama, and traditional dancing which according to the club members were more general but only identified by TUSEME name.
Pertaining to training in TUSEME, it was found out that at least two teachers from the selected schools were trained prior to the establishment of the TUSEME in the school. Nonetheless, in the 21 selected schools, the trained teachers did not make efforts to train fellow teachers and/or children with the exception of 3 schools where club members were trained. Similarly, PTA/local community involvement in TUSEME process was evident in only 4 schools. Even where they are involved most of the parents seem not to clearly understand their role.
In relation to challenges faced by TUSEME, the informants pointed out such constraints as lack of enough or no training in TUSEME process, limited time for TUSEME club activities due to the pre-determined workload, lack of proper guidelines on TUSEME process, and children’s lack of training in TUSEME process. The report ends by drawing conclusions and recommendations to FAWE Rwanda Chapter that are pre-requisite to the smooth running of the TUSEME Clubs. Taking into consideration the current status of TUSEME in schools, efforts are still required in order for FAWE Rwanda chapter to achieve its cherished mission and objectives of TUSEME process. There is dire need for putting in place mechanisms for publication and dissemination of TUSEME Process documents, diversification of TUSEME activities, contextualizing TUSEME process within the TUSEME activities, and training more teachers and children.
From the study findings, the major problem experienced in all the schools surveyed was lack of materials on TUSEME Process. Even the teachers who were trained in TUSEME Process did not have anything to lean back to that would act as a reference whenever need arose. Under such circumstances, it would be unwise to expect a teacher to train the children when he/she does not have any guide to that effect! Even the most innovative teachers lacked the essentials to enable them have effective clubs that could cause an impact on girls’ education
In view of the above, therefore, the following recommendations are made:
– Provide user friendly training documents- e.g. Translate TUSEME documents into all the languages of instruction to facilitate easy use. Secondly, the training materials should be in form of modules with varying difficulty and chronologically arranged such that one module forms the base of another and facilitates the understanding of another.
– Meetings should be institutionalized into TUSEME regular activities – e.g. weekly and monthly meetings. A record of what transpires in these meetings should also be made. This helps to determine the club’s progress.
– Leadership structures should be enforced to create a loose bonding and club activities movers. These leadership structures should be formed and registered by the school councils.
– The schools seem not to be charismatic about club activities, thus girl child education. Charity begins at home; schools should be vigilant with promotion and encouragement of girls’ education. Therefore the school administration should give every aspect of TUSEME process due attention, respect and guidance it deserves so that it attracts other children to join.
– The Community surrounding the school is an important partner to TUSEME. It is therefore necessary that for the successful implementation of TUSEME the community should not be overlooked. The support from parents and community members in the sensitization process should be sought by inviting them in training workshops to strengthen their participation and ultimately giving their children chance to attend to TUSEME activities. The Community is usually invited to participate in the theatre performances and give their views about how to solve the problems raised by the students. In that way, support is garnered for girls’ education at the grassroots level.
– Sustainability- schools should be empowered such that they are able to sustain and own the clubs well even after the promoters pulled out. Similarly, eligibility for recruitment and membership should be well structured such that all children may have a chance of joining well knowing the procedures required. This would curb down the mentality of the schools’ administration which tend to rely on top class members who upon completion of their national primary level exams leave schools hence loss of club members.
– From the study findings, sexual harassment, unwanted pregnancies and gender based violence were evident in many schools. This was particularly more prevalent in rural schools than in urban schools. From the look of things, it is possible that these problems are due to the fact that sex education is often unavailable or inadequate for children in primary schools. On the other hand, TUSEME clubs in schools through which reproductive health issues would be addressed are also inactive. Therefore, reproductive health education particularly sex education should be an integral aspect of the TUSEME clubs’ activities. This should go hand in hand with lifeskills education to equip children with the relevant skills and knowledge to be able to cope with challenges in life. In fact, this is crucial for teenages who often fall prey to sexual harassment in consequence of having limited access to both informal and formal sources of sex education.
– There is need for training of children, teachers and parents on sexual harassment, gender based violence, and other gender related issues with a view to equipping all the parties concerned with knowledge and skills necessary for promotion of girls’ education. Adult training and sensitisation of parents on TUSEME Process in particular is quite relevant here.
– Accordingly, a manual that comprehensively explains the types, causes, and effects of GBV and child abuse and ways of empowering children especially girls to overcome these problems should be developed and distributed to schools for use. Besides the manual, simple handy texts and excerpts should be designed and written in the languages of instruction. For the beginning, Kinyarwanda is the most ideal language for this venture.
– The heads of schools should be encouraged to involve the community in TUSEME activities
– There is need for putting in place mechanisms for publication and dissemination of TUSEME Process documents, diversification of TUSEME activities and contextualizing TUSEME process within the TUSEME activities
– More training is necessary and should be expanded to include all the teachers where TUSEME clubs are in place.
– Schools should be sensitized to train children in peer supporting, guidance and counseling
– A Monitoring and Evaluation system should be designed by FAWE Rwanda Chapter in consultation with stakeholders and partners. This will guarantee continued follow up of TUSEME activities in schools to ensure effectiveness for the realization of its ultimate goals.
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