[From 500ways.org] Empowering girls at Ugandan technical school

[From 500ways.org] Empowering girls at Ugandan technical school

Technical and mechanical schools in Uganda, as in most other countries, are dominated by boys.
– When the boys first saw me in the auto mechanical and electrical class, many of them said I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I proved them wrong, says Annet Nangozi (19), student at St. Joseph’s Technical Institute, just outside Kampala. It is important to take a position and to challenge the boys. There should be gender equality, Annet says.

The girls stick together

Teacher and volunteer Randi Mossing sat with the students, listening closely to what Annet had to say. Randi, on an exchange to St. Joseph’s from Rjukan high school in Norway, has involved herself particularly with the 50 female students currently enrolled at the technical institute. She knows that being a girl in a school largely dominated by boys poses great challenges in Uganda, a male dominated society with very low gender equality.

Randi has established a connection between the school and the Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda (FAWEU), an important female network organization. FAWEU gives female students guidance on how to train supervisors responsible for preventing girls from dropping out of school. The student supervisors also get the chance to build important networks outside the school.

– This project stimulates and motivates the girls to become tough and to stick together, while at the same time it boosts teacher motivation at St. Joseph’s, Randi said.

As a woman from a western society, she is aware that the girls in Uganda have a lot to learn from her.

– I trust myself in a totally different way from these girls. It is highly important that girls at St. Joseph’s stick together, she said, sitting in the main hall with the group of 20 female students.

Annet Nangozi is the only female student in the motor vehicle department, along with 96 boys.

– In the first year I got a lot of disrespect from the boys, but I stayed confident and now it has changed, says Annet Nangozi

Education is one of FK Norway’s key priorities, as a vehicle to economic growth. Read more about the exchange project here: http://www.fredskorpset.no/en/stories/girl-power/