I wanted to know more, from Sheila’s first-hand experience, about the challenges primary school girls face dealing with menstruation when the WASH facilities are poor.
“I knew of a few girls in primary school who, when they got their period, could not come to school. Girls would miss three to four days of school a month and so fell behind their male peers in terms of attendance and performance. The toilets had an external wall, but inside there was no privacy whatsoever: no individual cubicles to shelter girls dealing with changing their sanitary products. Also, growing up, we did not have disposable sanitary pads; we only had fabric pads, and without fresh water to hand, there was no way of washing the fabric.”
Career Path to Childreach Tanzania
After attending high school for two years, Sheila progressed to Mzumbe University to study a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After graduating, she moved to Dar es Salaam and worked in different administration roles for various companies, including Columbia University’s International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs. In 2007, she made the decision to enrol on a Master of Business Administration course on Human Resources Management at the University of Dar es Salaam. Following the completion of her MBA, Sheila returned to her home town Moshi and got married. Ten months later she got her first role as Operations Manager at Childreach Tanzania; she was subsequently promoted to Operations Director, and shortly after, began her position as Country Director.
“There are so many elements to being a Country Director!” Sheila exclaimed when I enquired about her day-to-day duties at Childreach Tanzania.
“The biggest part of my job is to look out for funding opportunities, to make sure the charity has enough financial resources to sustain its projects and staff. Another key aspect of my role is to make sure we have the human resources needed to successfully deliver our work. I recruit staff and ensure they are well equipped to do their jobs effectively.”