The changing narrative of education for girls in the Somali ecosystem

6 March 2017 - The Somali ecosystem continues to realize that women are crucial to the country’s development and with each day the once solely patriarchal society is becoming more accommodating of women. As a result, there is a vibrant participation of women in national affairs, academics, community decision making and the labor market amongst others. Through community awareness, with the help of international and local organizations, gender mainstreaming is today inculcated in all aspects of life in a bid to promote gender equity and equality.

Education for girls has been a primary beneficiary of this initiative with a majority of Somali parents seeing it as mandatory to take their daughters to school and proud to see they pursue education to the highest level. ISTVS is one of the institutions working towards improved girls’ education in the Somali ecosystem and as such continues to see increased enrollment of girls to study various courses year after year. ISTVS sources scholarships from time to time for students from poor backgrounds and also those who excel academically; girls are always on the list of recipients. The school has put in place policies and curricula that promote gender equity and equality hence making the ISTVS learning environment-friendly.

As a female teacher, teaching in ISTVS is an exhilarating experience as one gets to see the effort the girls put in their studies with some emerging top of their class consecutively. The opportunity to learn is embraced, and despite the challenges that come their way the girls can transcend through as they have a strong support system in ISTVS. Every year there is a sense of pride, during graduation, of being part of the ISTVS team that sends another class off to a new stage of their lives. More so, for the girls, this is always a platform for them to be economically independent, have access to information and resources, rights amongst other opportunities as well as empower other women in their society. Evidently, as seen in the Somali ecosystem, empowering women through education indeed leads to an empowered society.

(by Anne Wangeci Gitonga, English and Communication skills tutor at ISTVS)