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Reaching the Girls Left Behind


The social support, mentoring, knowledge, skill building, leadership and income generation opportunities appear to be changing the ways girls see themselves and the way they are seen in their communities.



With support from Population Council, TAMASHA has implemented a four years programme ‘Reaching the Girls Left Behind’ from 2012 - 2015.  From the outset, the agreement with the Population Council was for TAMASHA to develop the capacity of and support local organisations to identify, train and enable girls in their areas to emancipate themselves economically. Thus TAMASHA started by supporting four districts youth networks (In Magu, Arusha, Temeke and Newala) and two children’s homes (In Mwanza and Arusha) to set up programmes for the girls.

In most cases, the organisations decided to concentrate on girls/young women living with their children with little or no support.  In the second phase, the number of organisations was reduced to four. Newala is rather isolated from the other organisations (in the deep South of Tanzania) and the girls would continue to be supported by another TAMASHA programme while Faraja Girls Home had difficulties in providing the kind of community based support envisaged by the programme so the girls’ groups were taken over by Arusha Youth Development Network.

The main pillars of the programme have been to:

  • To sign agreements with the youth networks and girls’ homes to carry out the programmes and then support them with training, and regular follow up visits.
  • To work with the organisations and the girls themselves to develop training materials for the mentors on life skills, entrepreneurship and health.
  • To provide money to the groups of girls formed as start-up capital.

As a result, the case study carried out by Population Council showed:

On balance, however, the benefits of program participation to adolescent girls expressed by staff and demonstrated by participants, far counter the difficulties. It is clear that TAMASHA’s work through local partners is reaching a highly vulnerable segment of adolescent girls who would otherwise have very little support or opportunity. The social support, mentoring, knowledge, skill building, leadership and income generation opportunities appear to be changing the ways girls see themselves and the way they are seen in their communities.

Many of the young female participants interviewed conveyed a sense of gratitude, pride and achievement around what they have been able to do for themselves and their families with the support of TAMASHA and their local programs. Program participants described their metamorphosis during the program, transformations that include a greater sense of self-worth, confidence, security, independence, motivation, ambition and hope.

Project highlights

Based on the case study and its own evaluation of the way the program has developed, TAMASHA used the further opportunity provided to consolidate its program based on the following principles:

  • The need to use the existing expertise to increase the number of girls benefitting from the programme.
  • The importance of documentation and advocacy based on the successes and lessons learned so far leading to increased funding to expand the programme.
  • The need for TAMASHA to play a more proactive role in collaboration with the partners.

For the first two years the project has reached out a number of girls in four districts, empowering them to organize their economic groups and start small scale livelihood projects from the money they were given. TAMASHA and youth organizations were jointly providing technical assistance including training in entrepreneurship, how to start and manage own business, financial management and other social related issues like life skills, SRHR and family planning and child rearing.

Activities undertaken during project includes:

  • Training of girl mentors, assigning them with considerable roles of managing the groups and conducting consistence group training.
  • Monitoring visits to girls group and their economic activities.
  • Disbursement of funds to girls’ group.
  • Training in financial management.
  • Development of training manual.
  • Development of project guides.
  • Exchange visits.
  • Collection of testimonial stories.

Groups supported

Magu district - MAYODEN

Group                                                                   Area

  • Tumaini                                                      Shinembo
  • Upendo                                                      Kahangara
  • Nyigongo                                                   Yichobela
  • Nyashimba                                                Nyashimba
  • Magu                                                         Magu

Ilemela district – Amani Girls’ Home

Group                                                                   Area 

  • Urafiki Girls Group                                     Jiwe Kuu
  • Umoja Group                                             Mihama
  • Upendo Girls                                              Bwiru
  • Msumbiji Girls                                            Msumbiji
  • Amani and Upendo Groups                       Buhongwa


Arusha district - AYODEN

Group                                                                   Area

  • Sombetini                                                   Sombetini
  • Baraa                                                          Baraa
  • Sokoni One                                                 Sokoni One
  • Daraja Mbili                                                 Daraja Mbili

Temeke district - TEYODEN

Group                                                                   Area

  • Kibada                                                        Kibada
  • Azimio                                                        Azimio 
  • Mtoni                                                          Mtoni


In phase III, the project activities aimed at empowering girls’ groups to become more independent and sustainable.

Also TAMASHA ran a Foundation Course which provided an introduction to the key elements of TAMASHA’s philosophy, participation, youth development, life skills and their application to health and entrepreneurship, which were then linked to the specific programme, which includes working with and supporting the mentors, participatory action research with the girls involved and advocacy at local, district and national level.

Documentation and advocacy

The need for better documentation and advocacy was also highlighted in the case study.  TAMASHA had also recognized this and prepared (in Kiswahili):

  • A step by step summary of how to set up a girls’ programme
  • A mentors’ guideline.
  • A training manual.
  • Radio/TV spots.
  • A set of girls’ stories.

These formed the basis of TAMASHA’s documentation and advocacy, backed up by a further participatory research led by the partners and the interns.