Maimuna could not count

Published: 12 January 2011

Broadcast Language: Spanish (Audio follows the English transcript.)

English Transcript:

She is a 25 year-old woman and lives in a rural area of Mozambique. Maimuma sells tomatoes at a local market. A man approaches her and asks for the price. As her husband explained to her before leaving home, she responds: a kilo of tomatoes are 5 coins. The man says he will give her 10 coins for 10 kilos of tomatoes. Maimuna accepts the price. She cannot count. As many other women in her village, she has never been to school.

Maimuna’s story is just one out of hundreds out there. Every day thousands of girls in Mozambique go to work or stay at home. Some of them have never set foot in a school. According to UNICEF figures, only 50% of children complete primary school in Mozambique.

Education is deemed as a universal right for both men and women. It is directly linked to the development of society. Africa is one of the areas of the planet whose schooling figures are the lowest. Francisca Queller, a member of the European Parliament, explains the importance of education for these women: “It is important because the more time they spend learning at school, the higher their incomes will be and the fewer children they will have at an earlier age. Education improves people’s living conditions. Education is crucial; it is a part of our sustainable development.”

Many NGOs devote great efforts to improve primary education. So does Humana People to People. This association is formed by 35 organisations around the world. Rafael is one of its members: “Education is basic for people development. Without education it is very difficult to get a job; it is very difficult to say no to your husband when you’re 14 years old. If you are uneducated you cannot educate your children properly.”

The Humana Foundation, like many other NGOs, aims to improve education in these countries through the further training of local teachers. Years ago this kind of training used to be carried out by the Europeans. Nowadays local citizens also take part in it. Ouvi Vidi, an association dedicated to education for development, shares this new way of action. We listen now to Eric Medes, a member of this organisation; and Rafael, of Humana People to People: “When our organization began its work in these countries 30 years ago, we used to send teachers from here. However once they turned back, they would not leave anything behind. For the last 10 years, we have focused our work in the further training of local teachers. This is a more sustainable way of helping. “I go to a country, I work with the locals and I give them the tools so that they can help themselves to get out of poverty “

More education and more involvement of the locals will lead to a better equality between men and women. “There are women who teach, from which girls can get inspired and about whom mothers can say, I could have been a teacher, I will take my daughter to school so that someday she can be as good as that woman.”