A Transversal Approach to Gender Issues in Angola

Mbunda Natalia Chiamba and Domingas Kapolina (pictured) of the Teacher Training School ADPP Benguela, Angola are acutely aware that gender issues are far from being resolved. Working in a mostly male environment, the two report that they face the challenges of gender inequality daily. "It is safe to say that in our province and in our country, there is still a long way to go to achieving gender equality," Mbunda and Domingas report in a joint statement to Planet Aid.

As teachers, Mbunda and Domingas employ a transversal approach to gender. Special school programs address sexuality, culture and gender, dating, menstruation, fertility and safe sex, self-esteem, sexually transmitted infections, and drug use among women. Mbunda and Domingas also ensure gender equality in practice by assigning female students traditionally male tasks and male students traditionally female tasks.

"We know that our work has taken the discussion about gender outside our school gate, either to local schools or to the primary schools of our province," they said. "For us, it is very important to address gender issues in all schools. Above all, the debate must continue in the communities, challenging taboos and clarifying misconceptions. It is in this way that we, through the contribution of various partners, approach gender through the training of future teachers at Teacher Training School ADPP Benguela."


Case Study: Female Teacher Training Graduate Tackles Environmental Research

Since she graduating as a primary teacher for rural areas, Viviane Délfia Justo Rafael, 24, (pictured below) has been extremely active in furthering her education and contributing to the community. She went on to teach Portuguese and moral and civic education to secondary school pupils in Angola. Later, she worked as an early childhood educator and with fifth and sixth-graders -- all while attending college in the evening. Viviane is currently a university student at the Instituto Superior Politécnico de Benguela, Angola (ISPB), a teacher at Katchocotola Primary School, and the coordinator of the "Minha Água, Minha Vida" (My Water, My Life) project with Química Verde Lab (Green Chemistry Lab) in the province of Benguela.

Química Verde Lab is an applied chemistry center dedicated to promoting environmental research and guaranteeing the quality of water, food, and soil. Among many innovations, Química Verde Lab has developed a free water treatment technology called a "biofilter" to benefit rural populations where there are water shortages.

"It was thanks to my training at Teacher Training School ADPP Benguela that I ended up working on this project because I already had experience and knowledge [about] the methodologies and interactions that community work requires," said Viviane. "We also learned about the importance of planting trees. I remember the campaign promoted by ADPP Angola that encouraged students and teachers to plant as many trees as possible. I am very grateful for the training I received at one of ADPP Angola's schools, as the training formed the basis of the activity I am carrying out today as part of the Química Verde Lab organization, helping and bringing environmental improvements to rural communities for the benefit of many families."