To mark International Day of the Girl 2016, Plan International held #GirlsTakeover days in countries worldwide, placing young girls into positions of authority to demonstrate their value. Youth For Change Tanzania's Specioza took on the role of High Commissioner of Canada in Tanzania...
Everyone has a dream, but each one has his own way of reaching that dream. There is a saying stating that, 'if you don't plan then you plan to fail'. Girls have been forgotten, neglected and forbidden to enjoy most of their important rights. Being born as a girl is a challenge in our developing countries due to accumulation of ignorance and poor beliefs about gender rights. Girls have been living their life in fear and discouragement. They can’t show their talents in public due to a division of labour that has placed them in a lower and disadvantaged group.
People are still looking down on girls, and they cannot believe that they might have any potential in life - regardless of the education on gender equity provided. Living my life as a girl at first was not easy for me, I even hated myself for being a girl and the fact that there is nothing that is present on earth for me.
I was taught that I was created only to save a man and take care of the family welfare, since this is how we are treated. Living with that ideology, my mind was affected and made me lose every interest in life. I once dreamt of being an engineer and administrator who can save my countries economic position, and bring my nation into a rich country business competition. All this could almost vanish if I could not make a step towards the change.
The 11th of October brought to me a new way of interpreting the life. I come to realize that the world is not only made for a man, a girl has a lot of chances and opportunity in life as a well, and might be even more than men.
Standing for the first time as High Commissioner of Canada in Tanzania is great honour and a big opportunity to show a position of a girl in the nation at large, proving what a youth is capable of.
A girl can handle any post - all she needs is to be given the chance and freedom. As a young girl the government of Canada entrusted me with their offices, and left me on charge of each and every duty conducted in their offices. “It’s unbelievable isn't it!” I asked myself loudly because I knew it’s a time for our communities to change their poor believes on girls rights, positions and ability.
I slept as a dreamer girl on 10th but woke up as high commissioner on 11th. Very young and fresh in front of aged people, giving orders and supervising the whole day office works. I found I gained a lot of knowledge on international relations, international businesses and investments as well as exchange education. I attended official discussions and meetings talking about business with great and successful business people from different countries. All in all, I gained a huge amount of self-confidence and experience of work in a single day.
Specioza Maganya, the High Commissioner of Canada in Tanzania at 20 years by age! It alerted the attention of the nation and made them think, what if a girl is empowered!? This has inspired and brings new energy and power to many young girls to search the opportunity instead of enclosing themselves inside the kitchens.
Not only in my nation, but wherever the takeover event took place, society found themselves owing much to young girls. They became more aware of the advantages of better education to girls and children.
I had a luncheon discussion with several women - although we varied in nationality, as women we all encounter the same issues of child early and forced marriage as well as pregnancies. The issue of gender based violence brought all of us together to stand and fight to save the other girls who are still tackling these gender issues.
Girls can takeover the world and can raise their voices to demand our basic and social needs, to play a role in any government posts and lead all the men on this planet. That was the vision and the belief of our luncheon discussion.
Although International Day of the Girl Child is worldwide, it is still not well known inside our communities. Every girl should get to know and celebrate this great day made for her. Plan International is a global organization which works on improving the welfare of youths and the vulnerable.
Plan International has been conducting girls takeover events on International Day of the Girl Child trying to help these young girls to see a light and path towards their life’s intended goals and long lasting dreams. I am very glad that am among the girls that got a chance, through Plan International, to takeover in Canadian offices through their collaboration and partnership.