MUVA’titude: Transforming TVET to deliver the skills...
MUVA’titude project focuses on the core problem that young women in Mozambique often lack the self-confidence they need to complete technical training and find a job. Skills training and placement programs currently address the hard skills and knowledge that young women need for work, without taking into account the internal power that young women need to pursue decent work and be successful at it.
MUVA’titude is a student-centred project that pairs social and emotional competence with hard skills training. Young women participate in a program that first identifies their natural strengths and interests, and then cultivates them with practical tools and instruction. By enabling young women to develop their abilities and build their self-esteem, we believe we can reduce one of the major barriers to work for women. The approach is built around a number of key principles: 1) training is based on the needs of the market, to ensure that the skills developed are those desired by employers; 2) implementation of the approach is carried out by local organisations based in the community, partnering with TVET institutions and employers in the private and public sector; 3) using active learning based on the experience, opinions and knowledge of the participants. Active learning provides a creative environment for young people to experiment with different possibilities and challenges and to learn by doing; 4) the methodology develops both inter and intra personal skills and competencies; and 5) exploration of the roots and impacts of gender inequality is deeply embedded throughout the process.
In total, 638 young people (399 young women and 249 young men) aged between 17 and 25 were trained across 6 neighbourhoods, the majority (80%) are between 20 and 24 years old. 70% of the young women are already mothers and 35% of the young men are fathers. Over 60% are orphans and all are living considerably below the national poverty line.
We found the most vulnerable and least educated were more likely to leave the course and finally almost 40% of under 18s abandoned the training. This analysis reflects the high levels of vulnerability within the target group. However, it is important to note that girls were less likely to drop out than boys and that whilst the losses during soft skills training in the first cycle were high, once the young people entered technical training there were far fewer withdrawals than FIP previous model experienced.
Empowerment challenges the status quo and reactions of families and communities to attempts to change social norms or dynamics may not always be positive. In addition, some of the topics covered by the course may raise sensitive issues or speak to traumatic experiences for the participants. To prevent or mitigate harm to participants of MUVA’titude, a protection policy and code of conduct was developed, which included provision for referral to a network of services that young women may need, such as counselling, sexual and reproductive health, alcohol and drug abuse, legal support and responses to gender based violence.
The reflective and youth led training methodology has contributed to the success of the project. Personal reflection and responsibility is the fundamental philosophy behind the training methodology, whilst recognising that the environment needs to be supportive for an individual to act on the results of their reflection. Participants are provided with guidance to reflect on their behaviour and the opportunity to test out new behaviours in a safe space. The fact that the leaders of this reflection are themselves young people, gives the participants confidence while the facilitators also act as role models for the behaviours the project seeks to promote. Finally, the engagement and regular feedback to parents and to the community has begun to create the type of supportive environment that will allow changes in behaviour and attitudes to flourish outside the training room.