BUJUMBURA April 25th (ABP) – The Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE-Burundi) contributes to the fight against gender-based sexual violence in schools, announced on Thursday April 21, 2022, the chairperson of FAWE Burundi, Mrs. Alice Nindorera, during an interview she granted to the check by ABP.
During that interview, the chairperson of FAWE Burundi said that the gender-based sexual violence committed by some teachers against their pupils or others committed by people from outside the path of school, teenage pregnancies and early marriage, have prompted that organization to take the lead in trying to eradicate these vices.
Within that framework, a mentor project entitled: “Institutionalization of aunt and father in schools as a strategy to eliminate sexual gender-based violence and early pregnancy in schools”, which was implemented in 2013, in 121 schools in different provinces of the country including Gitega, Muyinga, Rumonge, Kirundo.
According to Mrs. Nindorera, that project was created to help end the violence and pregnancies that hinder the education of Burundian girls.
The FAWE-Burundi supports the implementation of the “Aunt” and “Father” mentor project, in schools, for female teachers trained by this forum. Village child protection committees, school management committees, school development center assistants are also trained to help and support those aunts and fathers. That role of mentor has been entrusted to the “fathers” for the boys and to the “aunts” for the girls to be relays of information in this fight.
Through that mentor, pupils are given guidance until they reach sexual maturity before marriage. The FAWE Burundi also created “Tuganire mw’ibanga” cells (let’s talk in secret) and set up suggestion boxes in 121 schools that participated in the above-mentioned project, to allow pupils to share their experiences of sexual violence anonymously. Mrs. Nindorera said that the Ministry of National Education has taken ownership of that project since 2019 to extend it to the national level.
She reported that this forum is in the process of creating another girl empowerment module called “TUSEME” (Let’s express ourselves without embarrassment) in the 10 schools in the peripheral districts of the Bujumbura town hall. Some teachers, and some students are being trained even in gender-sensitive pedagogy. At the end of the training, the latter will in turn create “TUSEME” clubs in different schools, so that the pupils (girls) come to express their problems in relation to their education, to help them to have self-esteem.
Through that same module, there will be creation of the network of women to constitute models for the girls. For her, the education of girls is the foundation of true development. An educated woman becomes the pillar of the family and a leader.
Getting young girls into school is a critical part of their access to economic empowerment, she added. Mrs. Nindorera took that opportunity to invite all stakeholders in education, including parents, teachers, the community, to contribute to the fight against gender-based violence in their surroundings and to promote the education of girls and young women, explaining that pupils, especially young girls, must be monitored at home, on the way to school and at school to try to deal with the various difficulties that the latter may encounter.