Training seeks to curb child marriages
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FRIDA Mwita, an entrepreneur facilitates training to young girls on beads making during a workshop that was organized by Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) , a non-governmental organization that focuses on empowering young girls who are at risk of child marriages and teenage pregnancies. (Photo by Mugini Jacob)

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AFTER graduating from University of Dodoma (UDOM) in 2015 with Bachelor of Education (B.Edu) , Ms Frida Mwita, knew it was time to work for the society instead of being idle at home waiting for salaried employment, whose time was unknown.

She decided to be selfemployed as an entrepreneur and embarked on beads making including earnings, bangles, and necklaces as well as handbags. “I saw the beads posted on a Facebook by a lady who announced that she provides training on beads' making .

I became interested and I went for the training and grabbed the opportunity," said Ms Frida, who lives in Rebu village, Tarime District Mara Region.

After the training, Frida says she became also a trainer and equally trained many young girls and women who were showing interest in beads making to employ themselves locally. “ I have provided training to a good number of women in Dar es salaam and Dodoma also, and many women have ended up employing themselves.

I told my students to share the skills to other women at affordable costs as I do, ” Ms Frida told the ‘Daily News' in Tarime last week, where she was training more than 40 young girls on beads' making.

The training that took six days and organized by Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) , a non-governmental organization in Tarime which focuses on campaigns to eradicate child marriage , female genital mutilation(FGM) and teenage pregnancies, show her talent as potential to be shared in the area.

They decided to engage her as a facilitator in their efforts to empower young girls and women economically, show that they become enlightened on their rights.

“The aim is to reach 115 girls, but we have started with 40 of them in the three Wards of Bomani, Turwa and Nyamisangura," chipped in Ms Sophia Temba, the Child Protection and Participation Officer at the CDF. She said the training is mostly targeting girls who are at risk of becoming young mothers in tender ages as a result of abuse, and early pregnancies.

Ms Sophia pointed out that her organisation is happy to engage Frida as a role model and a woman locally groomed there so that other girls can copy her and make a difference in their lives.

She says Frida's education is also enough to inspire young girls to do away with misconceptions that artwork is not meant for the educated in the society. A number of girls interviewed during the training said they would make good use of the opportunity to improve their living standards.

Among other things, they learnt how to make beaded earnings, bangles, and necklaces and handbags by using wood and plastic material, which are sourced locally and do not require a lot of capital to start. “This is indeed a unique training and there is market for the products we are learning to make.

Women’s products are always marketable and have no major competitions," pointed out Elizabeth Chegere, a secretary at Magena Girls Club. She went further to advice the young girls to be more innovative and to put their skills in the industry so as to excel. Another beneficiary identified as Rodha Chacha( 18) said: "I have really loved the work and I have enjoyed the training. I will go and train my friends how to make the beads especially the handbags and the necklaces, so that they become self-employed in life."

As many participants showed their willingness to address poverty in their midst with the artwork, Ms Frida, encouraged them that at least one is supposed to have about 50,000/- as capital to start the business.

“Good news is that most of you have understood why we are here...and they have gained something from the training. It will be helpful if they are given capital," she added. Frida says if the girls are empowered economically, they are likely to be selfreliant and overcome challenges like early marriage, and pregnancies.

Tarime is rated as having an alarming number of child marriage and teenage pregnancies as well as cases of FGM, just because a lot of awareness has not been created at grassroot levels.

Authorities in Tarime District estimate that about 800 girls were last year in December subjected to FGM alone. At the national level, Mara Region comes the fifth in top five FGM practicing areas in the country, despite CDF's interventions and collaborations with the government and some local and NGOs to tackle it.

In its invention strategy, it has formed various anti- FGM clubs where girls are the members in both Primary and Secondary Schools, as well as involving other stakeholders like traditional birth attendants and religious leaders to participate.

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