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HAPPY AND SAD BOX OUTCOME REPORT 2012
Happy/Sad Opinion Boxes Initiative is aimed at promoting Child Participation, besides providing avenue for abuse reporting. It is hoped that by the end of project life, children will have developed the capacity to protect themselves from abuse through their opinions.
Prelude: C-Sema derives its name from a Kiswahili term, ‘Sema’ that literally means speaking. Civic driven Change brought about by Children is our foundation. This concept revolves around the belief that children are powerful agents of social and economic change. Empowering children to make this change and break the cycle of poverty means making them aware of what their rights and responsibilities are, and equipping them with the tools to put those rights into practice. Our Main Objective is to create and provide avenues for children to SPEAK, be their VOICE – LISTEN to them. We have planned to achieve Our Main Objective through: Happy/Sad Opinion Boxes; The National Child Helpline1; and Sema Magazine2. The pilot phases (2011 – 2015) of the Happy/Sad Opinion Boxes and the National Child Helpline are both funded by Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS). Investing in Children and their Societies (ICS) is a Dutch development organization that invests in social entrepreneurship in African and Asian communities and in the preservation of children’s rights.
Sema Magazine is funded through CSR and services/products advertising in the magazine. On behalf of C-Sema, I would like to extend special appreciations to the entire Temeke Municipal’s Child Protection Team for welcoming me and my entire project staff into their jurisdiction. Madam Subisya Kabuje (Social Welfare Officer and coordinator of the Child Protection Team in Temeke), Neema Mambosho (Social Welfare Officer), Mr. George Vahaye (Education Office & Executive Secretary of the Child Protection Team, Temeke) and Mzee Mziray (Head, Department for Social Welfare – Temeke), your support was overwhelming and for that I am humbled. The Head of Schools, you offered unconditional support and I thank you. I am very grateful to my entire C-Sema team who worked with me in making this project a success – You are exceptional and I am telling you again, ‘It’s Possible!’ Kiiya, JK Chief Executive Officer C-Sema 17 Ocean Road, Sea View – Upanga, Dar es salaam P.O. Box 77933 Dar es salaam
Happy and Sad Box Outcome Report 2012 1.0 Introduction The Happy/Sad Boxes, decorated with cartoons, were placed in 6 schools in Temeke, one of the districts in Dar es salaam. The boxes invited children to write-in their concerns with a message that requests of them simply, "Tell us why you are happy or sad." Although children at first submitted many requests for material items, they are gradually beginning expressing needs that are closer to their hearts. Teachers; counselors and the entire child protection team, who received training on how to respond discreetly and appropriately to the letters, also helps children with communicating their feelings. Happy/Sad Opinion Boxes Initiative is aimed at promoting Child Participation, besides providing avenue for abuse reporting. It is hoped that by the end of project life, children will have developed the capacity to protect themselves from abuse through their opinions. 1.1 Objective of Happy and Sad Boxes The main objective of the initiative is to give children opportunity to express their inner feelings and therefore report violence incidents around their schools, homes or elsewhere. 1.2 Methodology Temeke was selected for the pilot phase of the initiative because of the existence of the Child Protection Team that is responsible ensuring children are protected from abuse. The team therefore works with C-Sema in responding to concerns raised by children in the boxes. The schools in the pilot phase were randomly selected; teachers were taken through the project concept before pupils could be taught how to use the boxes. Each box has 3 locks whose keys are kept by 3 different individuals: a pupil; parent; and teacher. On the box opening day, each of the three individuals is expected to use their keys to open up the locks on the boxes. This ensures protection to children’s information in the boxes. 2.0 Results and Discussions Through this initiative it was possible to get children’s perceptions on their school, environment, and relationship with parents, teachers and fellow pupil/children. Some of the posts had more than one message and sometime the same message combined sad and happy expressions. Some of the posts had request, comments/opinions, warnings, thanks giving and blames/complaints etc. This initiative enhanced the need of having Happy and Sad Boxes which allow children express their feelings. However, some children were not courageous enough to express themselves as some messages were blank. More efforts should be made to reduce the empty posts.
2.1 Happy Posts in Primary Schools About 582 children posted their opinions on happy boxes. This information is very useful in helping assess ways children feel about their parents, teachers, environment and all other people/things that surround them.
Table 1: Reasons for Happiness in Primary Schools in Temeke District
Happiness Love for teacher Love for mother Love for father Having library Having desks Undefined Others Total
Temeke 17 (64.4%) 1 (3.8%) 0 0 0 1 (3.8%) 7 (26.9%)
Bahati 1 (12.5%) O O 2 (2.5%) 0 1 (12.5%) 4 (50%)
Mbagala 319 (59%) 11 (2%) 2 (0.4%) 0 0 163 (30.1%) 46 (8.5%)
Buza 1 (14.3%) 0 0 0 4 (57.1%) 0 2 (28.6%)
Total 338 (58.1%) 12 (2.1%) 2 (0.3%) 2 (0.3%) 4 (0.7%) 165 (28.4%) 59 (10.1%) 582 (100%)
338 children representing 58% of the happy posts reported to love their teachers, main reason for this love was reported to be in the way teachers treat them; and good teachings (some teachers were mentioned by names (withheld). Of those children who love their teachers, 158 were female and 140 male while 40 children did not mention their gender. 165 children representing 8.45% of the happy posts were not ready to disclose reasons for happiness. These posts were termed as happy undefined opinions posted by 22 female, 27 male and 116 children did not mention their gender at all. This is a challenge to C-Sema and the entire Child Protection Team in Temeke as more work is needed on earning the trust of children. 10.1% of the happy posts (about 59 children) reported numerous issues which make them happy and were grouped as others. Under this category, 29 female, 25 male and 5 children did not mention their gender. About 12 children reported to love their mother: 7 male children, 4 female children and 1 did no define her/his gender. Buza primary school had three boys who reported to be very happy to have desks. Yet love for father was mentioned as one of the happiness where two girls from Mbagala primary school posted their opinions of being proud of their fathers. Lastly, having a library was reported by two children from Bahati primary school as an achievement though they did not mention their gender.
Figure 1: Selected primary schools for happiness in Temeke District
When the happiness opinions were equate in a pie chart, love for father and having desks had zero percent (Fig.1). This means that the number of children who love their father and who are happy due to availability of desk were very low. However, love and trust for teacher was very high; meaning that teachers in primary schools contribute a lot on children happiness/sadness than anybody else3. This fact may have an impact on the children’s school performance. Parents are busy in the city negating their parenting duties; this has a psychological effect on children’s upbringing. It is time parents (esp. male parents) set aside time especially on weekends to spend quality time with their children. Yet another reason why less number of children talked about their love for father may be that children are raised up by a single parent (mother), or probably raised by grandparents (love for mother posts were only 2% while the sample size was big). Further study need to be done to explore the real reasons behind the low love for parents.
2.2 Sad Posts in Primary Schools Children sadness posts can be used to help improve their teacher’s manners, teachings and general school management hence better learning and teaching environment for children and teachers, respectively. The information is also useful in identifying the most vulnerable children who need help in the school, homes etc.
In a certain age children have more trust for parents than anybody while they tend to trust teachers more while at school age and their friends during secondary/high school age - http://www.wisegeek.org
Table 2: Reasons for Sadness in Primary Schools in Temeke District Sadness Corporal punishment Sexual abuse MVCS Limited material items Tuition fees Dislike teacher Wish to plait hair Undefined reason Others Total Temeke 3 (21.4%) 0 0 2 (14.3%) 0 4 (28.6%) 0 0 5 (35.7%) 14 (3.2%) Bahati 0 0 2 (11.8) 12 (70.6%) 0 0 3 (17.8%) 0 0 17 (3.9%) Mbagala 12 (4.7%) 2 (0.8%) 6 (2.3%) 27 (10.5%) 16 (6.2%) 68 (26.4%) 0 100 (38.8%) 27 (10.5%) 258 (59.7%) Buza 2 (11.8%) 1 (0.7%) 0 7 (4.9%) 2 (1.4%) 4 (2.8%) 118 (82.5%) 4 (2.8%) 5 (33.1%) 143 (33%) Total 17(3.9%) 3(0.7%) 8 (1.9%) 48 (11.1%) 18 (4.2%) 76 (17 .6%) 121 (28%) 104 (24.1%) 37 (8.6%) 432 (100%)
A total of 432 children posted their opinions on sad boxes: of those, 258 representing 59.7% were from Mbagala Primary School; followed by 143 posts representing 33% of the posts, from Buza Primary School; Bahati Primary School had 17 posts representing 3.9% while Temeke Primary School had least number of sad posts with only 14 posts representing 3.3% (Tab.2). Wish to plait their hair had 121 posts representing 28% of all sadness posts in primary schools. Children expressed feelings of sadness especially since girls in other schools are allowed to plait their hair. This opinion was followed by those pupils who empty letters, about 104 posts equivalent to 24%. There were opinions of disliking teachers, where 76 children posted their opinions on dislike of some teachers, specifically some teachers were mentioned by names, and the most disliked teacher was a female teacher (names withheld). About 40 girls and 30 boys disliked their teacher(s) while 6 children did not mention their gender. The teachers were apparently disliked for several reasons including: poor teaching, some teachers do not teach at all – rather only come to class to follow-up on private after public-class-hours-tuition-fee, some female teachers were accused of unethical dressing, beating children as one child wrote: “Some teachers thrash children like a cow, like a donkey, like a dog”. The main reason for beating up children is failure to pay private after public-class-hours-tuitionfee - children feels it is an abuse, not all parents afford to pay tuition fee. One such sad post read: “Mbagala primary school teachers like money”. Apart from the private tuition, children also said they are beaten for if they wouldn’t buy sweats, ice-creams, etc. from their teachers. About 9 children in Mbagala Primary School gave accounts of teachers forcing them buy items from teachers, during and after class. 5 children from Temeke Primary School disliked biasness both by teachers and prefects in their school. 48 children reported to be disappointed that their schools have no enough learning facilities, i.e. furniture, books, etc. There were other reasons for sadness which were mentioned in general as others reported by 37 children.
Figure 2: Reasons for Sadness in Primary Schools, Temeke District
2.3 Sadness Posts in Secondary Schools The initiative targeted 2 secondary schools in Temeke: Kibasila Secondary School (Regional, i.e. accepts pupils from primary schools all over Dar es salaam region) and Kingugi Secondary School (Ward i.e. accepts pupils mainly from primary schools located in Kingugi ward). Secondary School pupils never posted anything into the happy boxes in their respective schools. Only nine students posted their sad opinions, Kingugi had 8 sad posts while Kibasila had only 1. The turnout may have an implication that either the pupils were not effectively mobilized, dislike the initiative of posting their opinions in boxes. May be the site where the boxes were placed was not good for them to post there opinions. Generally, one of the reasons why Kibasila pupils never cooperated may be due to the fact that they did not approve of the teacher who was proposed by their head teacher as a custodian of their opinion box.
Table 3: Reasons for Sadness in Secondary Schools in Temeke District
Sadness Corporal punishment
Lack of material things
Kibasila 0 0 0 0 1(100%) 1(11.1%)
Kingugi 1(12.5%) 1(12.5%) 1(12.5%) 1(12.5%) 4(50%) 8(88.9%)
Total 1(11.1%) 1(11.1%) 1(11.1%) 1(11.1%) 5(55.6%) 9(100%)
Dislike teacher Fetching water Others Total
3.0 General Children’s Request/Comments There was a request directed at schools’ management to stop teachers from doing business in classes this was one of the main reported reason why some teacher beat up children. Punishing children for failure of paying tuition fees is yet another reported most talked about situation. The tuitions are also against government directives banned such tuitions in all public schools in Tanzania.
Table 4: Children’s Need in Each School
School 1. Mbagala Primary School
2. Bahati Primary School
3. Buza Primary School
4. Temeke Primary School 5. Kibasila Secondary School 6. Kingugi Secondary School
Children’s needs Avoid bribery and any form of bias on student’s work marking. School Administration and Municipal Administration should provide more desks and chairs enough to accommodate the ever increasing number of pupils. The Municipal Social Welfare Office should respond to the need of orphaned pupils aiding them to continue with their studies. School libraries and text books are needed by pupils. The school administration should ensure proper hygiene in toilets also avoid biasness in water supply by gender. Alternative forms of punishment should be used to avoid reliance on corporal punishment which is currently under various local and international debates over its implication on pupil’s education. Teachers are requested to recognize pupil’s talents and help to develop them. Rehabilitate the toilets Allow children to plait their hair (girls) More text books needed Work with Social Welfare Office to support most vulnerable children (MVCs) Allow children to plait their hair (girls) Pupils need sportswear (jezi) on Friday If possible have school team School Administration and Municipal Administration should provide more desks and chairs enough to accommodate the ever increasing number of pupils. Children need electricity at school Teachers should stop abusing children More time should be added for library use as pupils need
Girls need to plait their hair Muslim girls to put on HIJABS Provide water supply in the school
3.1 Conclusion Most children wish to be recognized and respected. Have ability to express their feelings either positively or negatively. 3.2 Recommendations More capacity building among children needed to give more children confidence to post their opinions in the boxes. Discuss with school leadership on the results obtained and find out possible solutions for the opinions given. For instance in Buza Primary School, girls have a great wish to plait their hair. The school administration may choose to grant permission to the girls or reason with them as to why the administration declines to plait. It is important to check on the reasons why pupils in schools like Kibasila were not able to post their opinions in the Happy/Sad Boxes. Check whether the position where the box is placed or the teacher in charge of the initiative – there may need to change this. The school administration coordinates with the Social Welfare Office in identification of the most vulnerable children who did not indicate their names and classes & link them with the social services. The school administration is required to address teachers’ misconducts/unethical behaviour towards pupils. These include doing business in classes, private tuition fees, accepting bribes during exams marking, biasness, etc.
3.3 Way Forward C-Sema team should have discussion with Head teachers, staff and the Municipal Child Protection Team mainly on solutions to solve the opinions which were posted as sad posts. Dialogue should also be done on how to reward the teachers who are performing well, specifically discuss with the ‘loved teachers’ to share their experience on how they relate with pupils as this may be emulated by other teachers to ensure children are happy at school. Develop guidelines that will be used by pupils to make better use of the boxes. Example include the fact that each pupil should just post one message per paper, be specific whether the opinion is either happy or sad. Yet pupils should mention their gender, name and class if need necessary to aid the response team in linking them up with the service providers available in the district. C-Sema should address the location of the box, whether these need to be changed and check whether the teachers in charge of the initiative should be changed to allow pupils more freedom to express their feelings without fear or intimidation.
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