National Girls Symposium held in Harare, Zimbabwe - October 18th-20th, 2019 - ZESA Training Center
sMTC Educate A Girl Inc was represented by Anna Makondesa, secretary of the MTC Sirens, and Heather Ndongwe, MTC field officer, at the National Girls Symposium held in Harare on October 18-20, 2019. The symposium was held under the banner Empowering Girls For A Brighter Tomorrow. This was the first time the two young women had ever attended such a national event for girls. They were excited to meet and greet several influential figures including news anchor Vicky Mlilo.
The girls attended several breakout sessions where different topics were discussed. The topics included Economic Empowerment which was led by Shuvai from PLAN International. She discussed income generating projects such as poultry and gardening. She also talked about challenges that include lack of resources and knowledge.
There was also a discussion about menstrual health management that was led by Ruwadzano Muzyondiwa from Rozaria Memorial Trust. Ruwadzano demonstrated the use of disposable and non-disposable pads. It was discussed that the girls should change their pads three times and day and should wash their bodies twice.
The other group led by Sekuru Munetsi from ChildLine Zimbabwe talked about positive masculinity. The discussion highlighted that people must get rid of bullying and receive education on the subject. Children must be treated equally regardless of gender.
When the girls came back from the symposium, they gave feedback to the rest of the MTC girls club on their trip. The girls who did not travel asked questions and benefitted from the reports by Heather and Anna. As scheduled, the MTC Sirens gathered at their usual home ground and played soccer. Thereafter, they discussed menstrual hygiene management, focusing on the use of sanitary pads, washing hands before and after changing pads, bathing at least two times per day and changing pads three times a day. The message from Vicky Mlilo, the guest speaker at the girls symposium was also shared. Vicky said, “ As girls you must not allow anything to stop you from pursuing your dreams, you must be selective and stay focused. Don't take lightly the choices you make, look for a mentor who will guide you.”
It seems Vicky was a hit at the symposium.
Every year for my birthday, instead of birthday gifts, I usually give girls gifts of sanitary pads. I know sanitary pads are hard to get especially for girls in rural Zimbabwe. This year, I shared this message with the girls at Nhedziwa Secondary School in Chimanimani district of Zimbabwe:
This is Maka Chikowero. Founder of MTC Educate a Girl Inc. Many of you may know my name through Mrs. Magobeya who works with the MTC Sirens soccer club. Today, I chose to write to you for two reasons:
1. I am a high school student just like you and I know you are writing your end of year exams, so I wanted to wish you the best on your exams.
2. As you know, I am a strong advocate for girls' education and sports and there are a lot of things that stand in our way. I know that exams can be stressful and can trigger our menstrual period and it can be a hard time for most of us if we get it and do not have proper stuff to use.
My birthday was November 2nd and I turned 15 so, for me, every year for my birthday, instead of getting birthday gifts, I choose to give girls sanitary pads. I hope you receive this birthday gift from me to you and hope you won't miss your exams. I wish you all success in your exams. I strongly encourage you guys to stay in school beyond this year and hope to link up with you again next year! Enjoy your holidays and best wishes for 2020!
I love you all and keep pushing. You all and me, we are growing up together, and together we will change the world. Girl power!