NIKHALAMO - 1551 girls back to school.

Nikhalamo SMT OlympicsIn 2015, 1.551 vulnerable girls out of a target of 2.000 were enrolled and retained in schools in Namacurra district, Zambezia province through NIKHALAMO (Girl child stay in school – I am here to stay) project financed by USAID and implemented by ADPP Moçambique in partnership with Girl Child Rights (GCR).  An additional 205 vulnerable girls have been identified for enrolment for this current year.

NIKHALAMO project is aimed at increasing the enrollment, retention, transition and completion of vulnerable girls in the upper primary school (6th and 7th grades) to lower secondary school (8th to 10th grades), improve the quality of lives of the vulnerable girls and subsequently their learning environment through strengthening the active participation of community members in supporting girls education.

To achieve set objectives, in 2015 the project team conducted more than 400 door-to-door visits, 42 community campaigns, broadcasted several radio messages, community theater, traditional dances and held community meetings to mobilize parents and guardians to send their girls and boys to school.  1028 vulnerable girls were enrolled into 18 primary schools and 523 vulnerable girls were enrolled in 3 Secondary Schools. The project recruited and trained 164 Girl Mentors (godmothers) to work with the 1 551 vulnerable girls principally to support them to handle problems they face at school and in the community including providing them psycho-social support, hygienic menstrual support and nutritional support.

 “We are on the right track, last year we enrolled and retained 1028 vulnerable girls for 6th and 7th grades in 18 primary schools. We also managed to enroll 523 vulernable girls for 8th to 10th grades.  All this was possible, thanks to the collaboration of the community and Namacurra District Services for Education, Youth and Technology (SDEJT) Distritais de Educação Juventude e Tecnologia de Namacurra”, reported Betinho Gimo, Project Coordinator.

During this process, the community was actively involved and in some cases contributed with building material for the construction of Community Pre-schools to cater for the younger siblings of the project beneficiaries, providing them time to devote to studies and other extracurricular activities.
 “In the community, we have a group of people called Girl Mentors.  Each Girl Mentor is responsible for 10 vulnerable girls benefiting from the project in that community. The community leaders heads of 10 households, heads of the first level, second tier and third tier) meet on a monthly basis with the Girl Mentors and Girl Education Promoters to analyze the needs and issues facing the vulnerable girls. Community leaders who are part of the School Councils, School Directors and the Promoters meet once a month to discuss the girls’ school needs and discuss possible solutions to address these difficulties” explains the Project Coordinator.

The project is a response to the actual situation of girls who complete the 7th grade (about 22.6 %) and those who complete general secondary education (only 4 %). This is caused by dropouts linked to early, early pregnancy, overload of household chores in the case of orphaned girls and orphan headed household, the distance between home and school, poverty and gender-based violence

This 4 year project aims to improve the academic performance and life skills of the students, promoting a strong culture of reading, both at school and at home through a special mentorship and coaching program.