Amani Project Tanzania
A girl with a dream is on fire.
Amani Project conducted its first Amani Project Launch in Bagamoyo, Tanzania in August of 2017. We partnered with a wonderful local non-profit called Msichana Initiative, whose Executive Director, Rebeca Gyumi, recently challenged the Tanzanian government and won, amending their constitution to raise the legal marriage age from 14 to 18. Tanzanian production and community building team, PPT Media house, also provided logistical and media support. Our project would not have been possible without the help of these two groups.
On the 10th day of the Amani program, the 40 children from schools in and around Bagamoyo presented a wonderful concert. A common theme, which children chose on their own, was an appeal to everyone to help girls realize their full potential. As it is uncommon for girls to be allowed to play in the school band, the lyrics written by boys and girls together were a proclamation to those listening that girls were just as qualified as boys to play music.
When the Amani mentor team first interviewed the children, the boys said that girls could not play because of stigma, a lack of musical ability, and that they were too busy with chores. Interestingly, the girls said pretty much the same thing. By the end of the program, after the children had worked together to write songs, learn about music theory, and put into practice the emotional intelligence training, their attitudes had shifted dramatically. The children made a commitment to one another to do what they could to change community and school attitudes.
This is significant. It is an important step in a country where 2 out of 5 girls are married before their 18th Birthday. Msichana Initiative works with girls and the community at large in facilitating dialogue on the importance of investing in a girl child’s education and not simply marry her off at a young age. They teach girls about their rights and how to stand up for them. After they convinced the government to change the legal age to marry from 14 to 18, they decided to use the Msichana cafés to initiate conversations in communities to discuss issues of gender equality and the effects of child marriage. Our hope is that the empathy building aspect of the Amani project will support the efforts of our local partners in ridding the country of child marriages and other challenges which impede girls from realizing their full potential.
At the end of the Bagamoyo program, girls were leading their music groups on stage, and even helped lead a presentation on the Yale curriculum to the assembled group of 700 people. They will become mentors for the Amani Project Clubs, and inspirations to other girls in their communities. As the program grows across Tanzania, the Amani Project and Msichana team will be monitoring the progress.
Msichana Initiative Club members - fighting for the rights of girls education in Tanzania!