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Girls Get Equal Project Rescues Michesi Primary School from High Dropout Rates

In the not-so-distant past, Michesi Primary School faced a disheartening challenge – a high rate of school dropouts among its students. Jessie Pendame, mother group chairperson for Michesi Primary School, acknowledged the grim reality, stating, "Children were just staying idle in their homes due to poverty levels or lacking learning materials to use at school."

A myriad of factors contributed to this alarming trend, with students citing the absence of school uniforms, notebooks, pens, and other essential supplies as reasons for their decision to abandon their education. The dire circumstances led some to contemplate early marriages, while others turned to activities like smoking marijuana.

However, a beacon of hope emerged in the form of the Girls Get Equal project, spearheaded by CRECCOM and generously funded by NORAD through Plan International. The project set out to address the root causes of school dropouts at Michesi Primary School by providing training to the school's mother group members. The focus was on equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to reintegrate girls into the educational system.

Jessie Pendame shared, "We were taught that this helps to prevent our communities from having a high rate of uneducated future leaders and also helps to reduce poverty levels in the community of Traditional Authority Nazombe."

Under the Girls Get Equal project, the mother group at Michesi Primary School underwent training in psychosocial support and readmission policy. This training empowered them to take proactive steps within their community to identify and bring back children who had dropped out of school.

The results were impressive, as the mother group successfully readmitted a total of 9 students back to Michesi Primary School. Speaking about the impact, a teacher emphasized the importance of fostering a positive and inclusive environment for the reintegrated students. "We create a good leadership between the teacher and the students," the teacher stated.

Ensuring that readmitted students integrate seamlessly, the school takes deliberate steps to promote camaraderie within the classroom. "We engage the readmitted students in most of the class lessons and do not laugh at them when they fail," the teacher added. Furthermore, efforts are made to prevent any form of mockery or derogatory language, both from fellow students and teachers, to safeguard against the temptation to drop out again.


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