GBV awareness empowers Ann to report abuse from her teacher

A good number of rural girls face various barriers to education caused by the intersection of rurality, poverty, limited social services, limited family support, lack of voice, lack of information, and sexualizing social norms.

Among others, Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the factors contributing to the high dropout rate among learners especially girls. School closure due to the covid-19 pandemic fueled the violence that young people face. As a way of mitigating the challenges that learners faced, CRECCOM through the Improving Education Quality in CDSS (IEQ-CDSS) project conducted training aiming at raising awareness to the mother group and learners on GBV and its reporting structures.

After being trained in GBV causes, effects, and the reporting structures, Chinukha mother group organized and conducted a girls' retreat aiming at bringing awareness to girls and sensitizing them on the reporting structures. Ann Mkamanga was among the 49 adolescent girls that the mother group reached out with the GBV awareness campaign. Ann, a form 2 student and aged 17 was empowered with the information and decided to open up on the GBV that she had been suffering from her male teacher.

Annie: my teacher proposed to me

“Since I was in form one, one of my male teachers had been making some advances proposing a sexual relationship. He used to make promises that if accepted he would ensure that I get good grades and pocket money.  My rejection of the offer exposed me to different kinds of verbal abuses and threats. I didn’t know what to do as I was afraid of the implications if I was to open up to someone until March 2021 when I attended the girls retreat organized by the mother group,” narrated a smiling Ann.

Ann  (R) with the school matron to whom she confided in

Ann explained that the awareness talk by the mother group gave her the confidence to confide in her school matron about the issue.

“Am glad I opened up. Am now a free girl attending my lessons without any fear. Am grateful to the project and of course to the mother group for the knowledge,” said Ann.

The school matron was quick to mention that the issue was resolved in collaboration with the school’s headteacher and the school management committee. The mother group envisions creating a GBV free school environment where girls will learn freely.