In the town of Moshi, a 15-year-old boy named Mohamed (not his real name) faced a tough situation. He lived in an area where drugs, like cannabis, were common, and his family was in a vulnerable situation. Unfortunately, he had not been going to school for the past six months. This happened because Mohamed's teachers accused him of selling drugs, and he had a history of irregular school attendance.
Mohamed's parents were often busy with work. His father worked as a guard and came home late at night, while his mother worked as a housekeeper and left home early in the morning. Due to their busy schedules, they didn't notice at first that Mohamed was missing school.
Several attempts were made by his parents, teachers, and community leaders to persuade Mohamed to return to school. Teachers visited his home, parents punished him for his behavior, and the community leader even used threats to encourage him to attend school. However, these efforts were unsuccessful.
This situation was not unique to Mohamed; many children in the community skipped classes or dropped out like he did. The UNICEF's report from 2018 highlighted reasons for school dropouts, including long distances from home to school, financial constraints, truancy, household responsibilities, and peer pressure.
Simba's Footprints and the community had struggled to address these problems and motivate children to return to school. However, through the Binti Yetu program, Simba's Footprints established a cohort of community stakeholders. This group included government leaders, child protection committees, local leaders, teachers, healthcare providers, journalists, and people with disabilities who met regularly to discuss community issues and challenges.
Based on cases like Mohamed's, they identified several reasons behind school dropouts; including the language shift from Kiswahili to English, corporal punishments, lack of parental engagement, and economic difficulties.
With the support of the cohort and Simba's Footprints, they succeeded in motivating Mohamed to go back to school. After multiple meetings and discussions, Mohamed was convinced that education was essential, and he regained his motivation to attend school.
The collaboration between stakeholders and Simba's Footprints made this success possible, leading to a relieved family and happy parents who had given up hope. Zawadi, a staff member at Simba's Footprints, saw Mohamed back in school and believed in his potential. The cohort of stakeholders continues to meet monthly to address various community challenges, working towards solving more problems in the future.