Veneranda Paul talks to Fadhila Sadala of AWiM News about why she decided to establish an organization in the Mwanza Region in the Northwestern part of Tanzania to fight against gender discrimination and defend girls’ rights to education.
Growing up in Mwanza, located Northwestern part of Tanzania and on the Southern end of Lake Victoria, Veneranda always wanted to be a teacher.
She was also passionate about being a mass communicator to reach out and tackle issues affecting women and girls in her community.
“I wanted to save people in the community from the patriarchal system,” she said. One day her dream came true.
After secondary school, she joined the University of Saint Augustine located in Mwanza for a degree in Education in 2016 and a postgraduate degree in Education and Management Planning in 2019, She started volunteering but later became e children’s officer then monitoring and evaluation officer and later the youth facilitator for Mwanza Youth and Children Network at Kivulini Organization.
She believed it was time to start using media to defend children and women.
“But even though I studied education, I have participated in different journalism trainings and became a trainer for youth in media theories. The main purpose is to transfer knowledge and skills to make them know how to create radio or television content on gender issues.”
She still collaborated with the community through the Children Radio Foundation funded by Mastercard Foundation on the project of “Dunia Masikani yetu” as an agent and ambassador on the effects of climatic change.
“I started sharing knowledge and skills to the youth by giving them training on the effects of climatic change that affects most women and girls and how to cope with the environment, “she said.
In Mwanza regions, some communities are still living under a patriarchal system that oppresses women and girls from their rights at the family level to their communities. This is what drove Venerandateetthe udy cultural dynamics of the different communities before establishing the Binti Inuka organisation to defend women and girls while raising their voices.
“It was sad to see girls herding cattle instead of going to school,” she said.
“We normally use child protection policy to protect the rights of the children main purpose and goal is to brighten their future,” she said.
“I run the campaign called “I am Her” dealing with the protection of women and girls to be in the front line fighting against gender discrimination. The main purpose and goal are to achieve gender balance. It makes women stand up for themselves,” she said.
“We are conducting various conferences, concerts and rallies aimed at achieving gender balance. We then do assessment, measurement and evaluation on the actions taken from the community to achieve gender balance,” she said.
“I have a campaign known as “Educate girl child for her better tomorrow”. Main purpose and goal are to raise awareness on girls’ rights and their responsibilities to stand up for their rights,” she stated,
We also run the “Timiza Ndoto Seminar” at primary and secondary schools to train them on gender equality.
“Break the bias” is another programme aimed at fighting against gender discrimination to achieve gender balance starting from the family level to the community level.
“I have got a lot of challenges mostly on human resources, to reach the community members. Many communities do not open up to the media not to mention poor infrastructure making it hard to reach some community members,” she stated.
Veneranda describes herself as the voice of the voiceless, problem solver, compassionate, knowledgeable, ambitious, kind and bold.
According to UNICEF, 129 million girls are out of school, including 32 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67 million of upper-secondary school age.
The reasons are many. Barriers to girls’ education like poverty, child marriage and gender-based violence, vary among countries and communities. Poor families often favour boys when investing in education. And this is what Veneranda is fighting for and hopefully will convince the community to take the gender equality path.
This article is part of African Women in Media (AWIM) Graduate Trainee Programme in collaboration with Fojo Media Institute