Empowered Girls Speak Out (EGSO) is one of the Projects ran by the Sport Development Aid (SDA) NGO based in Mtwara in southern Tanzania. This project operates in nine communities/schools in two districts in Mtwara Municipal and Mtwara Rural. The EGSO project started in January 2017 and according to the project plan, it was inevitable to have an external evaluation in 2020 which was the final year of the project. The key issues addressed by EGSO project were poor academic performance, gender-based violence; and insufficient knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights (and school-aged girls’ pregnancies.
The main goal of the project was to empower adolescent girls aged 13-19 to take an active role in education and to promote their potential abilities endowed in them. The purpose of the evaluation of Empowered Girls Speak Out project was to evaluate to what extent the project goals and outputs have been achieved. That is, to find out whether the project was implemented according to the plan and whether the stakeholders’ needs have been fulfilled. The findings of evaluation would be used to inform the project planners and implementers on the progress of the project about strengths, challenges and guide decisions on whether to introduce new project or re-introduce the same project elsewhere in Mtwara or other parts of the country.
The evaluation involved LiiKe / SDA Staff, girls in the project, Ward Education officers, Sport leaders, Parents, Prominent people, Kungwis, heads of school and girls group leaders/ supervisors/teachers. All these were purposively involved because were planers and implementers of the project, therefore, they had relevant and important information about the project to inform the evaluators. Tools for data collection were, interview, document review and focus group discussions based on Terms of reference (TOR). The evaluator also adopted Ombea (www.ombea.com) for gathering data and Excel software for determining the descriptive data analysis of information obtained from the participants. Other information collected was analysed through content analysis and presented based on themes or evaluation issues as they were stipulated in terms of references.
The evaluation revealed that, there were decrease of school-aged girls’ pregnancies, increased awareness on human rights/girls’ rights, gender-based violence and SRHE. There were increased number of girls enrolled in schooling, decreased girls’ absenteeism and dropouts from schools as well as increased number of graduate girls and improved academic performance. However, the project has been facing some challenges such as insufficient time for learning and some Kungwis were in old aged which affected their efficiencies on teaching required knowledge and skills to girls.
Conclusively, Findings of this evaluation revealed that all nine communities/schools accepted the project of Empowered girls speak out project. The project was implemented as per plan and objectives were successfully achieved and intended outcomes achieved as expected. It is recommended that:
a) the project be extended to other schools in Mtwara and to other parts in Tanzania which experiences challenges similar to those solved in Mtwara.
b) the project should be mainstreamed to school programmes and to the entire community plans involved in this project;
c) SDA should continue supporting training of new teachers and peer coaches because some teachers are transferred, and some trained peer coaches /girls complete their studies every year and providing advice & sport equipment/renovating facilities
d) girls should use knowledge and skills acquired from the project to maintain regular participation in sports and engage in health and social development matters.