Education is a basic human right that should be exercised fully in all nations, but for many girls in Zimbabwe, attending school is not an option. Despite the constitution guaranteeing equality before the law and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, Zimbabwe remains a patriarchal society.
By Style Reporter
In view of this, local girl child network, Tag a Life International (TaLI), hosted the second edition of the TaLI Annual Girls Conference in Harare. The conference, which was attended by more than 100 girls drawn from the capital city, was running under the theme Girls at the table.
According to conference organiser Nyari Mashayamombe, who is also founder and director of TaLi, the girls convened as a way of advocating for non-discrimination of girls when it comes to education.
“Today we started the second edition of our TaLI Annual Girls Conference #TaLIAGC2018, whose theme is #GirlsAtTheTable,” she said.
“We targeted 100 girls and were very pleased with the outcome. These young people spent some great time helping us advocate #EveryChildInSchool #ECIS, a campaign my organisation launched last year to demand the government of Zimbabwe to ensure access to basic education by every child especially those from poor communities,
“The campaign is challenging the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to come up with a policy to fulfil the constitutional provisions of ensuring access to education by all children, especially those who are out of school and cannot afford education.”
Despite increasing international recognition that the education of girls is one of the most powerful tools for progress, girls suffer from discrimination when it comes to getting an education. According to the International Labour Organisation, of the 72 million primary schools out of school, 44 million are girls.
Zimbabwe’s adult literacy rate of 96% makes it the highest in the region. However, women constitute 60% of the illiterate adult population and the school dropout rate, particularly among female students, still remains high. Enrolment at secondary school level and tertiary institutions is also significantly lower for females compared to males.
The two-day conference was also graced by several legislators who were tasked by the girls to move a motion in parliament to put an end to discrimination when it comes to education.
“We as TaLI together with many partners look forward to see at least every child being given access to education and then we can all talk about the quality of education while every child is enjoying the right to it,” said Mashayamombe.
Econet Zimbabwe, Sapst Trust and Higherlife Foundation Southern Africa Embrace Foundation Global Fund for Women supported the conference.