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Mabibo, Dar es salaam




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By Guardian Special Reporter


Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP) in collaboration with COADY International Institute of St. Francis Xavier University of Canada has empowered over 400 Tanzanian women to turn challenges into opportunities.

(Participants dancing during exhibition event)

Speaking during Knowledge Centres’ exhibitions that took place at TGNP’s HeadQuarters in Dar es Salaam, on Thursday last week, Head of Programmes Ms. Shakila Mayumana said that they had gathered over 400 members of Knowledge and information centers (KCs), mainly to enable them to showcase their assets or initiatives they have come with to their local leaders and the general public, after undergoing a training titled “Asset Based Citizen-led Development (ABCD).

KCs are community-organized groups facilitated by TGNP; through them, they offer education awareness to women on different matters touching their day-to-day lives to get rid of poverty.

According to Mayumana, in this initiative of empowering women, TGNP was partnering with a Canadian University through Global Coady Canadian Funding.

“By partnering with this Canadian University we were given an opportunity to learn about ABCD and then we went to train KCs’s members’ same course. Adding:

The main thing about this course is to look at the potentials that are within our communities. And that is why in my opening speech I gave an example of a glass half full. Normally, people tend to look at a glass empty forgetting that there is a full part of it!

So, this course wants people to look at a glass half full, in the sense that it requires community members and leaders to look at each other as people who have the potential to bring changes in their communities.

Thus, instead of waiting for the government to allocate budgets and do everything for their development, TGNP requires community members to regard themselves as people who have the potential to bring changes and development to their own communities.

That is why you have seen these KCs from Kivule, Majohe, Mabwepande, and Saranga who have taken some initiatives of making alternative charcoal, through using discarded boxes, cassava flour, clay soil, among other raw materials.

(People visiting exhibition event)

“We want them to continue grabbing opportunities around their areas so that at the end of the day they co-create solutions to problems facing them.

At this event, we have local leaders including village leaders, councilors, ward executive officers, who have come here to see their community members who have been able to do so, so that when they go back to their workplaces they can collaborate and address challenges facing them collectively and come up with initiatives.

(Leaders who attended the exhibition event)

But we don’t want them to think only of their own societies, but rather we want them to scale up the skills to other community members.

That is why we are urging them that next time when they come here we want them to be over 400 women as part of empowering other community members.

So, with this, we do believe that we will not only reduce the complaints and blames directed towards their government, but we will be able to tap the potentials found in their communities.

TGNP believes that if community members will jointly work together with their local leaders, they will come up with solutions to their challenges. And eventually, the country will reduce donor dependency and national debts!

Meanwhile, Mayumana has called upon community development officers to use such community members because they are potential for them to use the 4-4-2 funds they give to women, children, and people with disabilities.

She suggested that instead of forming so many groups without tangible results, they can help them learn how to write business plans and use that money to make such initiatives that will transform people’s lives.

(TGNP – Head of Programmes Ms. Shakila Mayumana)

For her part, Majohe KC’s Chairperson Amina Nassoro thanked and commended TGNP and COADYInstitute for empowering over 200 women with skills through ABCD training they underwent.

“The training has infused us with the spirit of courage and daring. Women at our knowledge information centers (KCs), can now produce different products such as oil jelly, alternative charcoal, and batiks.”

She has requested TGNP and COADY Institute to make these training sustainable so as to help women become economically empowered.

Joyce Ernest from Kivule KC also commended TGNP and COADY international Institute for organizing ABCD training which has benefitted them.

“We have learned how to make alternative charcoal through using boxes, dust from charcoal, clay soil, and cassava flour.”

She has said in return when they go to their respective areas they will train other women who face the same challenges.

However, she has also urged TGNP to hold such training regularly so as to enable them to attain their intended achievements.

Edward Laizer Ward Councilor of Saranga in Ubungo Municipal Council commended TGNP and COADY International for their efforts to empower women in vulnerable situations with skills that have helped them change challenges facing them into opportunities.

Frankly speaking, in the beginning, we did not think TGNP could do such a good thing for the community.

“I, as a councilor and one of the policymakers, have something to take home and to share with my fellow councilors in our meetings. TGNP in collaboration with COADY International are doing tangible things to these women,” he explained.

You can see how these women can now recycle garbage and rubbishes, which for a long time has been a challenge to the environment, can now be transformed into fertilizers.

In addition to that, they also make alternative charcoal by using discarded boxes, charcoal dust, soil clay, and cassava flour. “Women can do a lot to enable our country to move one step ahead economically.”

He said that as it is said, seeing is believing; we have seen and learned the wonderful task TGNP and COADY International are doing. From today onwards, I will convince my fellow councilors and the entire district council of Ubungo to support them (TGNP).


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