One Girl, One Bike project, is the project which aim to support young girls who walk, 10km to and from school to enable them attend school safely, but also to reduce the risk of being subjected to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) such as rape, early pregnancies and child marriage.
On 2nd December 2020 Msichana Initiative donated a total number of 40 bicycles in Tinde and Kituli Secondary schools in Shinyanga Region. Through this donation 40 young girls benefited (20 girls from Tinde and 20 from Kituli Secondary School). These schools were selected through collaboration with Regional Education Officers after seeing the challenges which some of the girls from these schools.
During this donation our Executive Director-Rebeca Gyumi had the chance to speak, where she pointed out that, before the Shinyanga region, the Msichana Initiative had handled over 40 bicycles in Dodoma, 25 Bicycles in Lindi, and 40 bicycles in Tanga region.
“This year the organization conducted an evaluation on the impact of the project on girls and found that the project has real impacted girls positively by increasing their academic performance, reducing girls’ school dropout as well as decreasing SGBV incidences. One of the impacts that the organization is proud of is that one of the project beneficiaries in Lindi region who performed excellently in her O-level final exams. She is now pursuing her advanced level studies in Nangaru Secondary school, in Lindi region”. Rebeca Gyumi
During this donation Msichana’s team was accompanied by board members of Msichana Initiative Organization where Mr Benedict Kikove had a chance to speak to beneficiaries not to take the bicycles for granted rather to be motivated to work even harder in their academic arena. He also encouraged girls themselves to be agents of change by fighting against harmful traditional practices in their communities.
Also Ms. Angel Benedicto insisted parents at the forefront of encouraging their children, especially girls, to pursue their dreams. She also encouraged the spirit of sisterhood among girls such that they should love each other and support each other to unleash their potential Mr Edwin Songoma the headmaster of Tinde secondary school in his note during welcome remarks he pointed out that many girls are forced to drop out of school because of long distance from home to school which lead to poor academic performance as well as risk to SGBV like rape, teen pregnancy and child marriage. He talked on how the bicycles will help to retain girls at school and hence improve their academic performance and reduce temptation to girls on their way to school since they will be able to ride their own bicycles to school safely. Songoma also urged parents not to use the bicycles for their own income generating activities. He insisted that parents should be at the forefront of ensuring that bicycles are always in good condition to enable their children attend school on time. He encouraged the beneficiaries to help other girls who are living in their neighbourhood who walk long distances to school by giving them lift since the bicycle has an extra seat which can carry another person.
Also the academic teacher, Mr Ombeni Mbise said that GBV is still a problem in Shinyanga region due to unequal power relations between Male and Female. He referred to the statistics of survey conducted by THDS on 2010 which shows that Shinyanga is leading with high rates of child marriage by 59%.
“Most the students walk more than 15 kilometers to school every day. Due to extreme poverty most parents cannot afford purchasing bicycles for their children to enable them to attend school in a timely manner. For many marginalized girls walking long distance to school increases their likelihood of their dropping out of school as well increasing their vulnerability to GBV on their way to and from the school. While both students (boys and girls) suffer the consequences of walking long distance to school, in most cases girls are more vulnerable. Some GBV cases that are more likely to happen due to walking long distance to school includes: – rape, unwanted sexual touching, unwanted sexual comments, bullying and name calling. Unequal power relations between adults and children and between male and females contribute highly to these kinds of violence on the way to and from school” Ombeni
In Kituli Secondary school, the Headmaster delivered a welcoming remark where he welcomed the Msichana Initiative team and appreciated their invaluable contributions in changing the lives of girls in Tanzania. In his remarks he pointed out that in his school most girls fail to attend school on a daily basis due to the challenge of walking more than 10 kilometers to and from school every day. He also stated that their school is currently building hostels for girls who live far from the school compound. Due to limited resources the school seeks to get contributions from various sources so as to ensure that the project is accomplished. He appreciated efforts done by Msichana initiative in ensuring that more girls get their basic right of education. He also urged Msichana Initiative to donate the bicycles again whenever possible because the need is still high for girls in his school.
On behalf of parents of beneficiaries Mr. Amos Nkuba appreciated the Msichana Initiative for choosing to donate bicycles in their school. He said, the bicycles donated will reduce risk of bodaboda temptation to girls on their way to school, but also will encourage them to perform better in their studies.
Msichana Initiative would like to appreciate our partner ILAVA for their contribution and Tanzanian who contributed to this project. This achievement wouldn’t be possible without your contributions. Our aim is to reach more young girls in Tanzania, if you would like to support us in impacting lives of more girls through One Girl One Bike project, kindly reach us through +255754251022, firstname.lastname@example.org