DAPP TTC takes gender equality to communities
Rosalia Grevazio Kapala is a 42-year-old mother of five children. She comes from Lilambwe village in Senior Group Village Headman Lilambwe, Traditional Authority Msakambewa in Dowa district. A wife to a local leader, she is one of the active members in the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) that works hand in hand with the DAPP Dowa Teachers Training College (TTC) from the surrounding primary schools and pre-schools.
As a PTA member, she has been working with the TTC since 2010. She said the college sends the student teachers to primary schools that are around the college for teaching practices and this is one of the ways through which PTA members are involved. She spoke warmly of teachers that are trained at DAPP as being exemplary and hard working. In addition, she said through working with the school, as parents, they have managed to establish Community Based Care Centres (CBCCs) where children go to learn, play and receive meals before transitioning into primary schools.
She said one of the things they keep learning from the TTC, especially students are to mainstream gender at household level as well as in schools. She said through their regular interactions, they learn that girls can do chores which are considered to be masculine and vice versa.
As one of the caregivers at Mtendere CBCC in Lilambwe village, she is involved in gender promotion. She said both the preschools boys and girls are taught to clean their plates after eating their porridge, a role that is considered to be feminine.
“As a parent and care giver I support that both boys and girls should be given equal opportunities. This helps girls to not shun away in social activities. For example, there were instances when girls used to drop out of school and enter into early marriages. But since 2016, there has been a skills training program that was introduced to empower girls with tailoring skills in order to establish small scale businesses. And I can proudly say today that 35 of the girls that have undergone the training in three of the teams were in marriages and we worked hard to bring them back to school,” she said.
DAPP TTC works hand in hand with the communities around the colleges, student teachers offer free lessons to community members in sanitation and hygiene, handicrafts, climate change and sustainable agriculture practices. The students also carry out surveys in the surrounding communities when they learn how families live, raise children, work and problems they face in their day to day activities. This enhances the relationship between the colleges and the community at the same time allows the student teachers to learn about life in rural areas as they are expected to work in rural primary schools upon completion of their studies.
Mrs Kapala said as a community member she is proud to be working with DAPP TTC in Dowa and for the strides made in their area, she looks forward to betterment through continued cooperation and the working relationship that is there between the community and DAPP.