Women & Girls at the Centre: Integrating Gender in Tanzanian Higher Learning Institutions with GATE
News17 September 2021
As part of our commitment to putting Women and Girls at the centre, the Embassy of Ireland supports the development of gender expertise in research and higher learning institutions in Tanzania through the Gender Awareness and Transformation through Education (GATE) programme.
The GATE programme trains current and future academics in gender based research and education through PhD and post-doctorate courses. In 2020, the Embassy awarded scholarships to two lecturers of the Dar es Salaam University College of Education, Anna Mwakitalu and Ikupa Moses, to undertake a PhD and post-doctorate course in Gender and Education at Trinity College Dublin.
Both women are doing exceptionally well in their studies at Trinity, despite the challenges of remote learning due to the COVID 19 pandemic. They share their transformational journeys below.
Anna Absalom Mwakitalu
Anna is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations, Management and Lifelong Learning at DUCE. She is a recipient of the GATE scholarship and is currently pursuing a PhD in Gender Education and Leadership at Trinity College, Dublin.
I became involved with the Gender Awareness and Transformation through Education (GATE) programme three years ago. I was involved in collecting data for Trinity and DUCE’s collaborative research, and supervising visiting research students from Trinity. In 2018, when the GATE programme published an open call for applicants for a PhD scholarship at Trinity, I applied and was successful; today I am a PhD candidate at Trinity.
The scholarship has provided me with the opportunity to study and live in Ireland. As it is my first time in Europe, the experience and exposure has been amazing. I have learnt a lot about Irish culture and the education system.
My PhD studies are multidisciplinary and through them, I am learning about global research and educational approaches that I intend to introduce at DUCE. Thanks to this scholarship, I will soon be one of the few Tanzanians trained in Gender and Educational Leadership, which will enable me to introduce a new and important area of study to both students and staff at DUCE and in Tanzania more broadly.
My courses have been enlightening so far and I find myself understanding gender issues and how to address them much better. In time, I look forward to sharing this new knowledge with other students through teaching both workshops and complete module programs. My lecturers and supervisors in Ireland have been supportive, despite COVID-19 related restrictions and having to continue my course remotely.
Apart from gaining teaching and research skills, through this PhD and the GATE project, I am enjoying working in a team that is devoted to driving gender equality and I would like to become a policy advisor in this space in the future.
I am also involved in developing teaching and training materials for staff and students and have been training students on Gender Responsive teaching methods. I was recently contacted to assist Don Bosco, a Technical and Vocational Education and Training Centre in Tanzania, to develop a Gender Strategy and produce a training manual on Gender Responsive teaching methods. This was made possible through my PhD training and engagement with the GATE project.
Dr Ikupa Moses Mwandambo
Dr Ikupa Moses Mwandambo is a post-doctoral researcher for the GATE programme.
I was a Coordinator for the Gender Unit at DUCE in 2018 when Dr Susan Murphy from Trinity introduced the idea of the GATE programme. I and other DUCE members working on gender matters worked together with Susan to develop it into a project proposal. Trinity and DUCE have a history of close collaboration and since 2013, Trinity students have visited DUCE to conduct fieldwork.
In 2020, I was awarded a scholarship for a post-doctorate course with Trinity, and I am now a GATE project post-doctoral researcher with a special focus on Gender and Education.
The project centres around building capacity of DUCE staff on gender and will develop my gender expertise. As a researcher and educator, this expertise in gender matters will increase my capacity to conduct gender sensitive research, carry out gender projects and teach with a gender sensitive approach.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented some challenges, as I wasn’t able travel to Ireland to meet with my supervisor; however, I am progressing well with the course and learning a lot.
The knowledge and experience I am acquiring through my course will contribute to my role as a lecturer - in teaching, research and community work. I now have a widened understanding of gender equality; its causes, implementation strategies and methodologies for monitoring and assessment of gender equality programmes, all of which will benefit the GATE project, DUCE, and the community at large.