Meet the KompyutHer Programme Officer!

By Aditi Arora, Education Project Volunteer

One of my fundamental motivations for volunteering in the Education team with CDI this summer was to be actively involved in improving women’s access to education in Tanzania. Until recently, Tanzania was listed as having one of the lowest rates of enrolments in secondary education in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In particular, indicators examining various facets of development suggest that women and girls in Tanzania remain amongst the most marginalised individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa. To this extent it is clear that women’s education is in desperate need of improvement in Tanzania, and I could not wait to dedicate my summer to implement a programme that would seek to improve women’s access to education in Dar es Salaam.

I am the UK KompyutHer programme officer this year and my role this summer is to expand the initiative from initial one-day pilot last summer, to a full-blown programme incorporating workshops lasting six weeks.

Our objectives for KompyutHer this summer are as follows:

  1. To encourage girls to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects at higher education level
  2. Increase the confidence of the girls, equipping them with skills for their futures
  3. To ensure that over the course of the scheme each candidate (100%) will compose a CV in a document format.

I have been liaising with my counterpart Geofrey throughout the year in order to design the curriculum for this year’s KompyutHer programme. Ultimately we decided that each of the six sessions would consist of a different theme and target a different aspect of the computer (e.g. computer components, Microsoft Office etc.). We held a needs assessment morning within our first working week in order to gain a deeper understanding of the needs of the participants and integrate their insightful feedback into the content and design of the curriculum.

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The first workshop!

After many months of skype calls, emails and word docs, on Wednesday 8th August, the first KompyutHer workshop finally took place! It was a hectic yet an exhilarating day co-ordinating various logistical matters and ensuring that the workshop was running on time whilst covering all content was covered. Above all, it was a truly rewarding experience to watch months of hard work of curriculum design and logistics planning spring to life!

Although my efforts to learn Swahili has meant that I am able to sustain conversations on an individual basis or in small groups, I definitely am not proficient in Swahili to be able to teach and answering questions in the language. Although I’m pretty talkative, I dread public speaking and get very nervous presenting to a large audience. Fortunately, Geofrey is a talented public speaker and confidently led the first session in Swahili (and intermittently translating for me!). Meanwhile, I assisted participants with using the computers and led icebreaker activities. What a dream team! During the session I conducted observations for each participant and this truly allowed me to reflect on the kinds of the theoretical material that I learned in my Masters, which was a lovely way to finish my year in Cambridge.

For me the most rewarding part of the day was ultimately having the opportunity to meet the young women who were opting to carve time out of their days to participate in our workshops. These young women – some of whom were mothers – were actively choosing to engage in informal education despite their various familial duties and cultural expectations. These 25 young women filled me with hope that the plight of women’s education in Tanzania can truly improve. This experience also served as a reminder to me that ambition is ultimately the seed that prospers into the flower of success – and most importantly, that ambition is genderless.

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I hope I can continue to learn as much from these women as they learn from me in the workshops!

Looking forward to the next session!

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