Mentor Harriet on a session with the Binti Shupavu girls

Organizational partnerships have been proven to be a catalyst for faster interventions, innovations, growth, and the quantum leap in organizations in terms of development. When two or more organizations come together for a common goal, there are mutual benefits for all the parties. In 2023, our organization Centre for Women Empowerment in Technology (CWE-TECH) entered into a partnership with Daring Girls a US-based organization, and the Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative (GLAMI) a Tanzania organization to support young vulnerable girls in Murang'a Kenya to build their confidence through a project dubbed ‘Binti Shupavu’ loosely translated as fearless/brave/daring/confident girl's project.

The Binti Shupavu Project is a four-year life skills course for secondary school girls covering topics such as priorities of a young woman, study skills, positive thinking, personal leadership, health, hygiene & wellness, and self-confidence to increase the graduation rates of vulnerable girls and to break the cycle of poverty to the girls. Currently, CWE-TECH is carrying out the Binti Shupavu Project in two schools in Murang’a County: Kaganda and Mirichu Secondary Schools. The project has a curriculum and two mentors Ivy and Harriet who have done a wonderful job to transform the girls in just eight months of the project....and just to echo the words of Coco Chanel...

‘A girl should be two things: who and what she wants’.

Many of rural girls do not understand themselves so earlier exposure, knowledge and confidence building makes them come up with decisions they can standby and become better individuals in the society. The Binti Shupavu projects helps them be exactly that.

I was privileged to have a conversation with Harriet and Ivy; the mentors on the Binti Shupavu Project:

Me: What are some of the attributes the scholars exhibited before mentorship?

Ivy: At the onset of the project:

a) The girls were timid.

b) They were very preserved and scared of speaking out.

c) They had poor study skills.

d)They lacked open communication and were very shy.

Harriet: Most girls were timid and struggled to express themselves and some of them expressed living in fear of unknown.

Me: What are some of the attributes the scholars exhibited after the mentorship

Ivy: I have noted the following on the girls:

a) They are more courageous.

b)Have improved on hygiene and tidiness.

c)Have embraced faith and Christianity. e.g by frequently attending church

d)Improved and mature relationships with everyone around them. Eg Teachers, parents, classmates and even us mentors.

Harriet: Most girls have come up really well in terms of expressing themselves, they now speak up and will ask questions fearlessly even at the assembly. More so, they are now able to share personal issues and what they go through at home.

Me: Are there any statements that you have heard scholars or teachers or other students or parents say about the program

Harriet-Teachers began commenting in the first two months that they had started to note changes in the girls, where the girls were more disciplined and focused. Many parents commented that their daughters have become obedient to them, being responsible with house chores and schoolwork. Girls have often commented that they are happy and encouraged to have someone they can talk to about anything. They relayed that it has been hard to talk about topics like menstruation to their parents, but it's easier that they have someone they can talk to and ask questions.

Ivy: Yes. Scholars have openly shared personal stories on situations they are facing some are on family matters, hygiene, advice on improving on studies and even guidance on matters of relationships with boys.

"We have come at the right time" Those are some statements made by parents or guardians for they appreciate an extra support in the journey of shaping their daughters to become great.

Teacher are positive towards the program for they believe the programme will help the scholars improve in their studies and guide them on life skills. 

Harriet: Yes. A girl shared with me about her struggles with the desire to have a boyfriend because he will be giving her money to buy snacks. I encouraged her to remember her priorities right now are to stay in school and do well. We kept talking and she finally told me that she decided to let the boy go and focus on her education.

Me: From you, using three words or a statement describe the Binti Shupavu project- Harriet: Binti Shupavu program is a destiny-shaping program.

End of interview….

In conclusion, in the current environment for organizations, the importance of partnerships cannot be overstated. They present a chance to create new working relationships, complementary of strengths, identification and analyzing of community challenge, design and develop an intervention/solution, promote innovation, amplify resources, and unleash growth. Through strategic partner selection, well-defined goals, and the maintenance of robust connections, community organizations, and initiatives can create the conditions for a cooperative path characterized by mutual prosperity.

As CWE-TECH and our partners we believe the Binti Shupavu Project is equipping the rural girls with skills and knowledge, giving them essential tools to navigate in the 21st C. Aluta Continua!

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