The Madrasa Programme has trained thousands of new and in-service pre-school teachers in Kenya, Tanzania (photo) and Uganda, helping them to engage more effectively with their young learners.

AKDN / Lucas Cuervo Moura

Insisting that women lead

While the Madrasa Programme has transformed lives in the classroom, it has lifted up women in the community as well.

“When the programme started, we insisted, through our criteria, that there had to be at least 30 percent women participating in our school committees,” says Amina.

“Today, over 60 percent are women. And they’re not just there as co-opted members. They are chairpersons, vice, treasurers… and beyond the programme, they’re also leaders in other groups. They have a voice. They can advocate for the changes they want to see in the community. For me, that is something very powerful.”

While she does consider the work of the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme over the last three decades to be successful, Amina says its work has only begun.

“Yes, we have been able to achieve much, particularly in the counties where we’re working, but that’s really a drop in the ocean. In some counties, we’ve just been able to work with 15 percent, 50 percent, so there is still work to be done. Support is required.”

This story was originally published on the Aga Khan Foundation Canada website.