The ‘Prosperous Path, Leading in Vocation’ education outreach initiative critically aims at motivating girls and advocating that women’s empowerment is central to sustainable development. This engagement called for the recognition of the need to empower girls, particularly to strengthen their own capacities and to encourage their participation in the decision-making processes.
The open dialogue with secondary level learners at Tanben College highlighted numerous problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, teenage pregnancy, discrimination and rape, to mention a few. The most particular challenge for some of the girls was that traditional structures hold them back from reaching their full potential and owning their self-worth.
Ms. Basson encouraged the audience to provide possible solutions to the problems raised. One of the learners suggested the implementation of measureable mentorship programmes that help girls stand up for themselves. Another, suggestion was that Namibia should adopt the measure taken by some European countries to ensure the employment of 40% women in companies.
A learner from Malawi narrated how the women in some of the regions are not allowed in towns, so they remain at their homestead in the villages as the men go off to work in towns. This caused a stir among the girls as they viewed this as discrimination. This went on to show how women’s empowerment is important and that a lot has to be done to achieve gender equality.
Girls emphasized that they are still experiencing gender discrimination at home. A few learners stated that in many household boys will be allowed to go play outside and girls will be forced to stay at home and help with domestic chores, saying that this is still the norm
Also put on the table for discussion was the controversial issue of abortion and forced abortion. Basson, reminded the girls that talking to their families, trusted individuals or friends about their options can be very helpful and soothing. She also mentioned that they should bear in mind that the decision to keep or terminate the pregnancy is theirs in the end.