Resonate
Posted on: Jul 21, 2017

Written by: Clarisse Umutesi Mwitegereze

“I Believe I Can Do Anything!”

A few weeks ago, I joined the Resonate team as a Trainer. My first training was so memorable that I wanted to document it in a blog, and to share the impact that working with these wonderful young women had on me.

My first workshops were in Arusha, Tanzania with the Girl’s Foundation of Tanzania and the Indigenous Education Foundation of Tanzania that support girls. We knew before arriving that the majority of the people living in Arusha are from the Maasai tribe. The Tanzanian government and various local and international organizations are striving for the promotion of the rights of women and girls in this area, who have long faced discrimination and challenges concerning education, involvement in family decision-making, rights to private property, gender wage gaps, and early and forced marriages, as well as female genital mutilation (FGM). Amongst those organizations are Resonate’s partners, IEFT and TGFT, whose beneficiaries were due to participate in our Storytelling for Leadership and Action Leadership training.

These participants are girls in secondary school aged 14 and above. Although they come from a background where women are often not valued and respected, these girls were the brightest, smartest and open minded young people I have come across in a long time. At our first encounter, they shared their dreams where many want to become business women, lawyers, counselors and doctors in medicine and other disciplines I had never heard of before!

Feedback

Although our participants already had a clear picture of what they want to become in the future, the Resonate training helped them reinforce their confidence and self esteem. Upendo, a reserved and soft-spoken young girl said, “I have many dreams for when I grow up, and through Resonate’s training, I felt being transformed into a better leader and I believe I can do anything and succeed.”

Nano, the founder of TGFT said, “I had very high expectations for this storytelling for leadership for our girls, but the outcome is far beyond all that I could anticipate. I am so thrilled that the girls developed and can tell their stories. Together with all the skills they acquired, I am also very grateful that they met the Resonate Trainers that they can look up to as role models.”

And Teddy, with her curious and ever-happy face said, “I always thought difficult subjects like mathematics and sciences were for boys. After working on my story of self, I reflected back on all the challenges I overcame in the past, and afterwards we constructed our story of Us and Now then I realized I also could contribute to my community. All of a sudden sciences seemed no more frightening. I discovered the leader in me and all my potentials, and I will never fail sciences again.”

Conclusion

As a new trainer, I felt that this was a perfect way to start my time at Resonate. It was so rewarding to take these girls through the process of developing and sharing their stories. They will use those skills to seek future opportunities, inspire their peers but also assist them in setting goals matching the personal strengths they were lead to discover through the training. I cherish the moments spent with the girls as they transitioned to becoming proactive potential leaders. I am also confident that all other young girls in Tanzania have Resonate’s TGFT and IEFT participants as models and inspirational young leaders they can identify with, and who will hold their hands as they step up and reach their full potential.