SuperWoman Project

SuperWoman is a project by Wizarts Foundation, an organization working
to support the girl child stay in school.

SuperWoman and School Girls

BACKGROUND: High Dropout rate of girls from Secondary School

The common reasons why girls and young women drop out of school are: lack of money to pay their school fees and to cater for their scholastic needs, teenage pregnancy, early marriage, a lack of interest, pressure on the girls to do home chores, and little or no support and encouragement from family members for the girls to stay in school.

3500 secondary school girls aged between 15 to 24 years will directly benefit from the Superwoman project. These are girls in secondary Schools under the Uganda government's Universal Secondary Education (U.S.E) program - which makes secondary school education accessible to the poor. The girls are mostly from poor backgrounds and face a higher risk of dropping out of school because of: lack of money to sustain their education, the draw to early marriage for economic security, the prospect of gainful work to escape the poverty trap, and the lack of family and society support for girl child education.

These are in fact the structural drivers that increase the likelihood of HIV contraction among girls and young women from poor backgrounds. The lack of money to sustain the education of girls in secondary schools is a driver for transactional cross generational sex as it is a means to a living; the prospect of early marriage gets them trapped in inequitable gender relationships in which they wield little power; the immediate gratification of money earned today on casual jobs exposes them to early and concurrent sex; and society's poor attitude to girl child education means they drop out of school and start adult life rather early, usually not prepared for it.

These forces exist in a context in which girl child education is not viewed as important as that of the boy child; in which early marriage is culturally accepted; in which it is socially accepted for men to have concurrent relationships; and one in which women defer to men on most matters and have little voice. It is also a context that offers nothing besides domestic chores for girls away from school. While the boys and young men gather to enjoy the excitement of football and African Chess (board game), the girls idly seat at home. Worse still the school girls are targeted by older men for sex believing they are HIV free.

By attracting more girls into secondary schools and by retaining them in secondary school longer, they are shielded from the HIV structural drivers mentioned above. And now with the Universal Secondary Education poor girls have a chance to a real education. They can aspire to achieve that which their mothers, aunts, and elder sisters could not dream of. The removal of the economic impediment however, in this case high schools fees, does not in itself keep girls in school since it does not address the negative societal norms and attitudes that the girls and young women face.

And that is what the Superwoman project sets out to achieve. To foster a positive attitude towards higher education for girls and young women - by the girls, their families and the community in which they live. The Super Woman project will give voice to the poor girls and young women on radio and engage them in exciting activities such as the awards galas. These activities will inspire the girls to work hard to become the woman they want to be with support from their peers, family and community members.

SuperWoman is funded by the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the DREAMS Innovation Challenge. The grant is managed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.

Still confused how it all works? That's ok, we get it. Check out our blog to learn how SuperWoman, a project of Wizarts Foundation, supports School Girls.