Today, we are heading off to Morogoro, name given to both the town and its larger district. In fact, our journey ends in a rustic village called Kisemu. Located an eight-hour drive away from Dar-es-salaam, the main economic city that concentrates 90% of Tanzania's wealth, our destination has fair chances to be contrastingly remote and poor.
Once we arrive there, not without trouble as the rainy season reaches its peak, we enjoy a delicious meal, a soup made with locally bred chicken, then have a long night sleep to have us ready for the next day: we will have some young women to train!
Camfed Tanzania, one of the five countries in which Camfed operates, is regularly organizing training for these girls that they have supported during primary and/or secondary school and that are willing to become leaders for their community. Commonly known as Learner or Transition Guides, these women have often just finished secondary school, aspiring to be role models in their turn by the end of their training.
Held in the facilities of the district secondary school during school break, the training goes on for five days, with the participation of different community leaders and a variety of themes discussed. By the time we arrive at the school, Nasikiwa and I, all models-to-be are already patiently seated. Upon entering the classroom, we utter the traditional « Mambo » greeting, which is replied by a harmoniously loud « Poa» from the whole class of 29 young students. I am pretty much thrilled, but Nasikiwa is not.
Manager of the Young Women Program at Camfed Tanzania for more than 3 years, plus another 4 years with different positions at Camfed, she has accumulated great experience in supporting and training vulnerable children in rural Tanzania. Today and after, she surely will be an inspiring model one more time.
On this very first day, my role has been limited to introduction and observation. I will realize soon that the emotions, the nervousness I feel, are outweighed by these of the girls, determined but young, assiduous but unpolished.
To be eligible to this training under Camfed’s program, they must have been Camfed supported girls, implying that they have been vulnerable in their childhood. Now that they are at a turning point to become leaders for other children in their own community, I can only show admiration and give my best to teach them however little I can pretend to, as these young women surely have undergone thousands of obstacles.
This second day, it is time for me to step in, reviewing together financial skills, credit particularities and Kiva’s model. Though it has been challenging for them to have a 4-hours discussion in English covering complex topics, their perseverance is remarkable. Their gratitude at the moment our session is over touches me greatly.
Attending only three days of all five, I can nevertheless sense the force driving them to make changes for a better access to education, for a better equality between men and women, for a better world. In the end, it is them who actually taught me a more important lesson: a lesson in humility.
Camfed is an international NGO promoting women empowerment, operating mainly in five countries in Africa: Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Learner Guides and Transition Guides have access to Kiva loans to start or run their business while they provide weekly volunteer work for their community under Camfed’s program, around 3 hours per week. This is considered as their social interest on the loan, and as such Camfed do not charge any financial interest. Here is how to fund loans for these amazing women!