young women Leading change in Tanzania
Magreth and Petrider both grew up in Tanzania, and both have been supported by Plan International at different times during their lives.
Today, in their own spheres of influence, they are working to tackle issues that are impacting girls in their communities.
And empowering other young women to know their rights and reach their potential.
Sponsored through Plan International from the age of three, 26-year-old Magreth is now a medical doctor and intern in Tanzania.
She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health and works as a junior researcher, leader, gender equality and public health advocate. Magreth also works part-time as a content creator and presenter on a radio station and writes and produces health-related content.
She loves working with children and adolescents, being creative, grasping new ideas, and desires to lead a life that inspires others.
“Tanzania is one of those countries with a high prevalence of child marriage. Approximately two out of five young girls become married before they reach the age of 18 years, it’s a very big problem here. I came to realise [there are] a lot of factors that contribute to this high number of child marriages in our community.
"Among them is unequal education and opportunities between girls and boys, and also the extreme poverty [faced by the] majority of families. Marriage [becomes a way] to relieve financial hardships because when they marry their child they get a dowry, but also they are no longer taking care of that child so it’s somehow a relief to that family.
“That's why we empower girls… we are more beyond getting married. [If they] look beyond getting married they can become great… they can take initiative to fight for their future.
“I was able to experience my educational journey with no stress due to financial hardship. This [sponsorship] program made sure that I got school fees and other school materials so I was able to conduct my studies without stress.
"This made me [able] to focus more on my career and I’m very happy that I was able to achieve my dreams of being a doctor. So thank you so much Plan International, I am so proud of being one of the sponsor children."
27-year-old Petrider is a youth and gender equality advocate in Tanzania and has served on a number of advisory councils and boards, to progress the rights of girls and young people.
Petrider was a co-founder of Plan International’s Youth For Change program in 2014 and was a pioneer of our Youth Takeover initiatives.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, a Post-Graduate degree in Economic Diplomacy and was awarded A Commonwealth Point of Light Award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2018 for her voluntary work to campaign to end gender-based violence in the commonwealth.
“I work as a girls rights advocate. A lot of work centres around youth and girls rights and adversity. But also I’m really passionate about the protection of girls rights.
“The majority of young girls are not educated on their rights. Young girls can really not know that they are not supposed to be married at a young age or that they are not supposed to be sexually abused because they do not have that access to know their rights.
"Once we have more interventions to ensure that young girls have access to know their rights and are able to successfully advocate more for their rights, we have that protection mechanism for young girls.
“I was the co-founder of Youth for Change… whereby we engaged different young people from the United Kingdom, Bangladesh and Ethiopia in a movement which advocates to end child marriage and gender based violence. This is led by Plan International. We really work to advocate for policy changes and this is especially in line with ending child marriage and ending female genital mutilation.
“I currently serve as a youth advisory board member for the United Nations Human Rights office which is a part of making the United Nations more inclusive. We work to promote children’s rights, especially in conflict and vulnerable communities.
So we are working together with a lot of different societies and we’re focusing on materials that will influence many countries at the global level on how children can be protected. Children that are affected by climate change, children that are affected by civil wars, children that are affected by gender based violence.. All those are some of the issues that we are working on to ensure that young people have access to their rights.”
Earlier this year, Magreth and Petrider were part of our special online Thank You Week event.
The event gave our supporters the opportunity to connect with these inspiring young women and if you missed it, you can watch a recap at the link below.