Dialogues on enhancing accountability in education sector pay off in Ileje

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 Teachers, students and other stakeholders of a project on enhancing accountability in education sector in Ileje district have expressed satisfaction following some registered improvements in the sector, primarily brought about by a campaign to mobilize the community participation.

In particular, pupils and students can now have regular meals at schools. More striking is that even new classrooms, teachers’ houses, assembly halls, to be used for examinations and other activities are under construction following a community mobilization campaign waged by Kilio cha Mama na Watoto Mbeya (KIWAMAMBE) through the funding from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

 

KIWAMAMBE managed to sensitize and mobilize the community to use available resources – hand in hand with the local authorities - to bring about development in education sector.

 This achievement was made known to participants of the FCS joint monitoring tour of projects in Ileje district, Mbeya region in the first week of December 2013 by the chairperson of KIWAMAMBE, Rose Jaba.

 Explaining on the past predicaments facing the district, Ileje District Commissioner, Rosemary Senyamule, said the district had been facing acute problems related to students’ absenteeism in schools – presumably due to lack of the community’s willingness to work with local authorities to revamp the ailing situation. As a result, the district used to be trailing the last in performance when rated with other districts in the region.

 “We are very grateful to the FCS for choosing to support this project on education and KIWAMAMBE for being our closest partner in turning things around here at Ileje. Our district is no longer the last one in education performance. It is now a thing of the past,” remarked the District Commissioner when hosting a courtesy call by some FCS Board of Directors, the Management and representatives from the FCS Development Partners who met the DC at her office before heading for a meeting with KIWAMAMBE.

 The DC noted that all is now becoming possible due to the on-going improvements in infrastructure and other efforts to increase access to basic needs at schools in collaboration with citizens of Ileje.

 This time around the FCS joint tour of projects, incorporated Development Partner representatives from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Embassy of Norway and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC).

At a closed meeting with KIWAMAMBE and other beneficiaries, a delighted teacher from Itumba ward in Ileje, Onesmo Mbalyo, spoke highly of the project – saying that it has opened the communities’ eyes to start mobilizing themselves in building classes and other educational projects in their ward.

Mbalyo concedes the fact that for a long time residents of Ileje used to be overly difficult on contributing something to improve the education sector. It was only perceived as the government’s responsibility, and to some extent this led to scarcity of classrooms and teachers’ houses.

It was said, things seem to have changed after representatives from five wards in the district attended training and disseminated the message to other people so as to join efforts to improve the sector. The sensitization has now paid off. People in the district have changed their mindset and are ready to contribute either through cash or by offering their labour force depending on the need.

“For example, now at Isongole we are able to provide afternoon meals to our children and this has reduced the rate of students’ absenteeism - from a whopping 30% to 5%,” said the Head Teacher at Isongole Secondary School, Edward Elia.

Also, as a result of the campaign by KIWAMAMBE a resident of Ndola ward, Antony Luesya said the community in collaboration with local authorities is now at a finishing stage of the school’s administration block and a classroom.

“Right now we are eating together while at school, and we are witnessing the construction of an assembly hall, to be used for examinations and other activities. We hope that if this construction project is completed and through the support of the government, then our education performance will improve a lot,” said a student of Itumba secondary school, Daudi Chande.

Thus, a total of five wards of Chitete, Isongole, Itunmba, Ndola and Itale have benefited from the education project in Ileje district.

 


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