Cell Phones In Tanzania

IF THEY’RE SO POOR, WHY DO THEY HAVE CELL PHONES?

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world, with incomes averaging about $2 per day. Poverty is ever present with a population that has electricity in only 10% of homes, with over 40% of children so malnourished that they are stunted physically and mentally, and with only 40% of homes able to access to safe water. Millions of dollars in aid go to Tanzania from governments, non- governmental organizations, and private donations.

Yet when you visit and observe, it seems as though everyone is using a cell phone. Isn’t this an unnecessary luxury in such a poor country? This is a question we get asked a lot. Our response? In a word, no.

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10 Steps to Water at Pangaro

Clean water solutions are incredibly complex and require intense planning, organization, management, and fundraising. Here’s a brief primer on how we delivered on our promise of clean water in the village of Pangaro:

1. Acknowledge request from the community for a clean water source. After learning about the need, Empower Tanzania made a commitment to the people of Pangaro and asked that the community form a water committee.

Click on the photo to watch a video explaining the need.

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Meet Four of the Most Empowered Women in Tanzania

If you’ve followed Empower Tanzania for long, you know that we provide  tremendous opportunities to advance the rights of women across the globe. Why? Because we believe it’s important to empower women and to lift one another up. Projects that benefit women are crucial and we’re grateful to our staff, program managers, and donors who are exceedingly generous with their time and resources. We’ve spent nearly a decade educating and empowering women across the Same District of rural Tanzania. Allow us to introduce you to four of the most empowered!

Nietiwe

Nietiwe is a successful farmer in our Integrated Farming Program. Her training, skills, and hard work pays for her four children’s school fees, healthy food for her family, and even a motorcycle to use to gather fresh grass for her livestock!

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How do we empower women?

We’re currently in the midst of a Mother’s Day campaign in which we’re working hard to raise $3,000 for our women’s empowerment programming through the sale of some pretty beautiful jewelry made in Tanzania. Because of our generous business sponsor, Onion Grove Mercantile, we’re offering supporters the chance to donate $30, receive a pair of earrings, and be assured that their money will go toward the women of rural Tanzania. Continue reading

Notes from the field…

Note: We often ask our volunteers and supporters who travel to Tanzania and observe the work we do to share a bit about their experience. This reflection comes from Frances Murray Taylor who traveled to Tanzania as part of a small cohort in March of 2017.

I observed the training sessions for the women of the Improving Women’s Health Program. It was uplifting to see the more than 30 women who came, some with young children, to attend the training sessions. As each woman was introduced to the group of us representing Empower Tanzania, she gave us a snapshot version of the progress made in her community. The areas mentioned included family planning, money management, improved health, and enabling programs in the schools. I was told that two years ago, about half of the women were involved in community organizations but today more than three quarters raised their hands when asked how many were ward councilors in their communities. Because of this effort, almost 700,000 people had attended the training sessions they conducted using the information that they had learned. Malaria has dropped, more babies are being vaccinated, and hand washing has become a priority. Continue reading

Water is Life (World Water Day 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  men and women we work with in Tanzania often tell us that “WATER IS LIFE.” They say this with a seriousness that is sometimes difficult for Westerners to comprehend due to our oft-taken-for-granted infrastructure. “MAJI NI UHAI,” one of our program managers, farmers, educators, or students might exclaim in Swahili. WATER IS LIFE. Too many Tanzanian women and children walk miles upon miles—spending a good portion of their day that could be devoted to work or school—collecting water that may or may not be clean. We take this challenge seriously and work hard to find sustainable solutions to this very basic human need at every level of our programming. Here’s a glimpse of what it all entails:

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What to read this month

The range of experience and talent among our volunteers, supporters, and staff is remarkable. We have doctors and nurses who offer time and expertise, business men and women who share strategy and best practices, accountants who donate talent and number sense, CEOs who offer experience and leadership , educators who lend theory and know-how … and the list goes on. This month, we’re highlighting two staff members who have shared the work of Empower Tanzania through the written word and have both published books about development, international aid work, and a sense of justice. We are proud of all of our top-notch staff and volunteers and are pleased to celebrate the literary accomplishments of our Executive Director and Director of Communications & Development here!

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Behind the Scenes with ETI

Empower Tanzania has long been employing technology to deliver vital health information to those living in rural Tanzania. This month, staff and volunteers are hard at work on five new videos to be released next month in Same District and Kagera Region. The reach of these videos is wide — each will serve 630,000 people by using 141 trained Community Health Educators who will present each video 12 times per month! Here are a few behind-the-scenes highlights of our most recent video shoot:

THE WRITER: ETI Program Director Dr. Jeff Carithers wrote the scripts for five new videos being created in a new partnership with World Vision Tanzania to provide public health education focusing on pregnant women and children under two-years-old in northern Tanzania. Scripts are translated into Swahili and delivered by our actors.

THE VIDEOGRAPHER: Mark Burnham, videographer for Unity Point Health, shot the videos. We are grateful to Unity Point and Iowa Methodist Medical Center for allowing Empower Tanzania to use Mark and his studio for filming!

Mark Burnham films as the actors run through the scene prompted with a script shown on an iPad, which serves as telepromptor.

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Health Programs Update: Tackling a Taboo

Empower Tanzania works to build safe environments for young women to flourish. This includes allowing them the access to resources they need to be successful. Due to a generous donation from the Des Moines-based group named Half the Sky, we have been able to expand our programs in meaningful, exciting, and synergetic ways!

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In Tanzania, it is taboo to discuss menstruation, urinary tract health, and menstrual hygiene. When a girl begins puberty, she often don’t understand what is happening to her body and is unsure of how to handle it properly. Disposable menstrual pads are expensive and, because of the expense, household rags are commonly used instead. These rags are ineffective and often lead to leakage and embarrassment. Frequent school absences and high dropout rates among girls often follow. In hopes of remedying this problem, Empower Tanzania has partnered with Days for Girls, an organization working in 100 countries that provides training on the production of reusable menstrual pads. This is an effective and inexpensive alternative to the more commonly used rags, leaves, moss, or disposable pads. Continue reading