Girls4Girls launches in Babati
This summer LTT welcomed our first ever Girls4Girls volunteer trip to Babati!
Girls4Girls is a new volunteer programme, partnering girls from a UK school with Girl Guides at one of our partner schools here in Babati. The volunteers work on a specific project to benefit women and girls in their host community as well as participate in workshops, together with the Tanzania girls, to explore their experiences, goals and challenges. The trip is a unique opportunity for girls from the UK and Tanzania to work closely together, building their confidence, determination and self-belief, whilst also learning about local culture.
In July a team from Blackheath High School arrived in Babati. This group of 11 girls and 2 teachers stayed in Managha, partnering with the Girl Guide Group from Fredrick Sumaye. On their first afternoon, the girls got together for a ‘get-to-know-each-other’ session and it is incredible how quickly any shyness or perceived differences were overcome with a game of ‘lions and zebra’s’ (think British Bulldog). With the support of the dedicated Inspire Worldwide leaders the group were guided through a series of bespoke workshops to encourage personal reflection and self-awareness. The sessions saw the group discussing personality traits and skills they felt they have inherited from mothers and grandmothers, qualities of a good leader, their style of working in a team, and their aspirations for the type of world they want to live in. The workshops enabled the girls to recognise strengths they never realised they had and to work out ways to overcome some of the challenges they faced as well as building incredible friendships. As Happiness Dawson (of our partner organisation MCDO) put it “the trip was special because of its nature….it has impacted on the girls in terms of knowledge, confidence and a sense of togetherness”. Taking part in the workshops which were largely conducted in English, has also been enormously beneficial for the girl guides with their confidence in public speaking, particularly in English, taking huge leaps forward.
As well as the impact of the workshops on the girls, the Girls4Girls programme has a lasting impact on their host community. Blackheath’s volunteer project spanned both school and community, with the volunteers completing an entire classroom floor in less than 2 days! This is a fantastic contribution to Managha Primary School, especially for the standard 6 students whose classroom it was, and for the girls at the school to see ‘girl builders’. For the rest of the trip the volunteers were out in the community, building fuel-efficient stoves and raised bed gardens at people’s homes. The gardens provide an easily manageable way for families to grow vegetables at their own homes using organic pest controls. Growing their own vegetables not only saves the household money but also brings vegetables literally to their kitchen door; making them more readily available and as a result supporting an improved household diet. The fuel-efficient stoves are a simple construction of wire mesh, locally made bricks, cement and mud. These stoves contain and concentrate the heat from a fire meaning that one small fire can fuel two separate cooking pots simultaneously. By making the most of the energy from the wood the fuel-efficient stoves can reduce a household’s firewood consumption and expense while reducing smoke inhalation as compared with cooking over open fires. These stoves and gardens will continue benefiting women and their families for years to come.
At the basis of the Girls4Girls programme is a belief that women all over the world have the potential to support one another and that we can all learn from each other. It is often our peers who are best placed to help us recognise the strengths we already have and when we work together to bring about change we are far more effective than when we try to move forward on our own. On this trip two groups of girls from completely different countries with ostensibly different experiences found that actually they shared an incredible amount, including their visions for the world and the challenges they faced on a personal level. The bonds the girls formed will we are sure survive the borders they stretch across and have a lasting impact on them. And as they move forward with their lives we hope they will all use the confidence and skills they’ve developed to pursue the future they want for themselves and women around the world.
If you’d like to know more about Volunteering in Tanzania with LTT on a Girls4Girls programme or with a mixed group please get in touch with Julian@livingstonetanzaniatrust.com and you can find out more about the Girls4Girls programme on the Inspire Worldwide website.
If you’d like to know more about our work with women and girls in Babati click here.