SOME of us following current affairs can remember what Shinyanga Regional Commissioner Ms Zainab Telack directed councils in her region to do.This bold leader directed councils in her region to allocate funds in their annual budgets that shall enable them buy sanitary pads for girls in secondary schools in her region.
This amazing decision makes Shinyanga the first region in the country to help girl child attains her education in a rather serene hygienic circumstances. The councils to benefit from this beautiful decision are Kahama, Kishapu, Msalala, Shinyanga, Solwa and Ushetu which have different secondary schools.
Ms Telack who was officially opening Gender Festival at Maganzo Ward in Kishapu District on Wednesday said girl child should be helped to attain education and the long arm of the law should punish all men who make schoolgirls pregnant. “I think we have a problem somewhere. The law clearly states that any man who makes pregnant a schoolgirl should be jailed thirty years.
Those caught in rape, the sentence is life imprisonment. Is this really happening in our society today,?” She questions. Ms Telack invites different stakeholders to build dormitories for girls in her region as a measure to help them avoid being lured by men in sexual relationships.
Speaking at the gathering, TGNP Mtandao Executive Director Ms Lilian Liundi said there was a need to learn from Kishapu, because that council was last year awarded for setting aside money from its own sources to buy sanitary pads, as a way of supporting girls in education. “We have come to Kishapu to learn how councils can set aside funds for buying sanitary pads for girls.
I wish other councils throughout the country can come and learn from Kishapu,” she said. The gathering which was convened by TGNP Mtandao under the support from Sweden International Development Agency (SIDA) was set to improve lives of women, children and all the vulnerable in society.
The Gender Festival in Kishapu District was organised by TGNP Mtandao in collaboration with Knowledge Centre members, Gender and Development Seminar Series (GDSS) participants, individual and activists’ groups, Civil Society Organisations, Community Based Organisations, and Local Government at the district and village level.
The main theme for the festival revolved around gender, democracy and development, focusing on gender inclusiveness in modernising agriculture and industrial transformation for sustainable development. Sub theme of the festival focused on climate change and food security.
Kishapu District was this year selected because it is a semi arid region located in the miombo woodland at the central plain, making it vulnerable to limited rain hence unfavourable condition for short-term crops resulting in food shortages. During Participatory Action Research done in 2018, Kishapu is a patriarchal society where cash crop production has been in the hands of men leaving women
main producers of food crops.
The Gender Festival mobilised both women and men in production of food crops for food security and reducing the burden of unpaid work to women