This blog was also published on Education Out Loud's website.
It is only a matter of days now before a new girls’ hostel in central Tanzania will open its doors for up to 80 students from neighboring Kwa Mtoro secondary school.
The hostel is not only a much-needed facility for the students who would previously walk up to 15 hazardous kilometers to get to school – it is also a success story for the national education coalition TEN/MET who would like to use this example to inspire similar action in other communities where girls’ education may be at risk.
It all began last year during the Global Action Week for Education. TEN/MET staff and their members traveled the country and visited the Dodoma-region in central Tanzania.
They knew the area was known to have high drop-out rates for female students and high numbers of teenage pregnancies. Parents and local community members attributed the problem to the distance students needed to cover each day by foot or bike to reach the school.
The commute left some students with too little time to study and others with temptations or risk that would leave them pregnant. This caused a number of girls to drop out and some parents even encouraged their daughters to quit school as they felt obliged to accompany them back and forth from school to keep them safe – taking away valuable time for work or chores.