|© UNICEF Zimbabwe/2006|
|Fransisca Nyabvure, 18, spoke on behalf of the Girls Education Movement at the launch of the National Girls Education Strategic Plan in Zimbabwe.|
By Fransisca Nyabvure
The National Girls Education Strategic Plan, launched in Harare, Zimbabwe, aims to help achieve universal primary education and keep girls in school. At the launch ceremony, Fransisca Nyabvure spoke on behalf of the Girls Education Movement (GEM), an organization headed by girls like herself to help empower their peers.
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 18 October 2006 – My name is Fransisca Nyabvure I am 18 years old. I am doing my lower six at Darwin High school, in northern Zimbabwe. I live with my grandparents. My parents are dead.
In 2004, I was lucky to be chosen to represent young people at a leadership conference in Johannesburg. From the conference I discovered that a lot of my friends were not assertive, they lacked confidence and in some instances could not access education because they were girls. With a few friends we decided to form the Girls Education Movement.
The movement aims to help prevent child abuse [and] equip girls with life skills, leadership and decision-making skills. More importantly, we talk to parents and communities about the importance of keeping girls in school.
Leadership in schools
The Girls Education Movement is a way of mobilizing girls and boys to participate in the promotion of their education and development. The word ‘GEM’ means a precious stone, so really you can say that girls are precious stones.
At GEM clubs we learn what leadership is. Girls are encouraged to speak out, and venture into the world of sciences by participating in mathematics, sciences and technology. We also learn about how to protect ourselves from abuse and HIV. Over the past two years, GEM clubs have been established in many schools, and I am very exhilarated to note a change as many more girls have become committed to succeed in their studies.
However, I am in a sullen mood as the cases of ill-treatment of children by step-parents are mushrooming daily. This has resulted in many students underperforming. Cases of child abuse – especially sexual abuse by teachers – are also increasing….
‘Start with girls’
I would like to inform the nation that the Girls Education Movement will continue to hold dialogue with girls to assist them with life skills. It will motivate them to excel in education until the sky is their limit.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and other non-governmental organizations for supporting this movement. I am very exuberant with these educational movements.
Allow me to pull down the curtains by the old saying, “If you need to save trillions of dollars, begin by saving a cent.” Or, put another way, “If you want to develop your country, start with me – start with girls.
And so I humbly urge: Educate the whole world and begin with a girl child, because when you educate the girl you have educated the whole nation.