via Bicycle programme gets girls back into school | The Zimbabwean 17 September 2014 by Pamenus Tuso
Binga district has witnessed an increase in the number of girls who are now attending school following the provision of bicycles by World Vision in partnership with other organisations.
The Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme (BEEP) is part of the broader Improving Girls Access through Transforming Education (IGATE) programme recently commissioned in Zimbabwe.
It is aimed at creating activities and interventions that speak directly to the biggest barriers to girls’ success in education.
Binga World Vision Education facilitator, Spiwe Siyakova, said so far 1,500 bicycles had been distributed to 29 schools in the district.
“The impact of this programme has been tremendous in Binga. Girls who had dropped out of school due to long distances have re-enrolled. The girls are now attending lessons on time every morning,” said Siyakova.
Although Siyakova could not give figures, she said the pass rate in the district had improved following the introduction of the bicycles.
One of the beneficiaries of the programme, Thoko Mwembe, a form three student at Siyachilaba secondary school, said she is now able to attend her lessons on time.
“I am really grateful to those people who have donated these bicycles to us. I used to walk 15 kilometres every day to school. I have a bicycle now and it is easy for me to go to school,” she said.
According to the IGATE Baseline report and Multi Level Gender Analysis (MLGA) distance is one of the top greatest barriers preventing access to education for both girls and boys.
According to the report, only 17 percent of households in Binga own any form of transportation. The average time it takes a child to walk to school in some districts is as high as 46 minutes each way and 20 kilometres. Many children walk even longer distances in some areas contributing to fatigue and lack of attendance.