World Water Day: We’re 5 Steps Closer to Clean Water at Njiro!

[We’re grateful to our talented volunteer, Tom Turner, for producing the above video describing the work accomplished at Pangaro and the hope for Njiro!]

It’s World Water Day and we have so much to celebrate! We’re sharing our progress at Njiro where a clean water solution for 1,700 people is under way!

Step 1: Identify the Need. After completing a successful well project in the village of Pangaro serving 1,200 people, Empower Tanzania staff identified the next village to empower: Njiro. (To learn about the whole scope of the project, click HERE.) Our staff on the ground in Tanzania collected information by consulting their network of people, other NGOs, and  government officials to identify the dire need at Njiro.

The people of Njiro have been walking by a broken well for the past seven years. Soon, it will be repaired and providing water for the 1,700 people of the village. Pictured here are Njiro public primary school children who are looking forward to safe and clean water in their village and school.

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International Women’s Day

Empower Tanzania received an invitation to participate in the Celebration of International Women’s Day from the Community Development Department of the Same Council. The motto of the day was one we love. It translates to this: “Towards the industrial economy, to strengthen gender equality and the empowerment of rural women.”

The event was well attended by women from across the district.

Empower Tanzania staff Efrancia and Catherine, along with 10 women from our Beyond Gender Based Violence support groups from Mahuu, Kisima, and Stesheni, participated in the celebration. They set up an Empower Tanzania table to display the gorgeous products made by our entrepreneurs and enjoyed the opportunity to speak to all the participants about gender-based violence and how our program has helped to change the lives of 100 women who are now survivors of gender-based violence. Continue reading

Women in Politics

Many in the United States would say that in order for historically oppressed groups to gain equal status, they must be part of the conversation and have a seat at the table. As a result, policies will change and progress will be made. Political empowerment is a  game-changer for women, and because of this, we’re seeing an upswell of women running for elected office in the United States.

A similar narrative is playing out in Tanzania. We recently surveyed 33 of our Community Health Educators (CHEs) who are part of our Improving Women’s Health Program and found that 85% currently hold a government position and 2/3 have increased their involvement in government or community organizations since they entered the program. They hold these positions in addition to their work as CHEs. (You can see a full list of the women and the positions they hold here.) We celebrate this development! Here’s a look at five of the Community Health Educator’s and the positions they hold: Continue reading

5 Reasons Reusable Menstrual Pads are Rocking Rural Tanzania

Empower Tanzania has partnered with Days for Girls to offer a much-needed solution for women and girls in rural Tanzania. During menstruation, girls and young women living in rural areas of Tanzania have no choice but to use rags instead of cost-prohibitive feminine hygiene products. This leads to many problems, including excessive school absence. In fact, the United Nations estimates that 10% of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa miss up to 20 percent of the school year due to her menstrual cycle.

We have a found an exciting solution. Our 100 Beyond Gender-Based Violence Entrepreneurs have learned how to produce reusable menstrual pads. The product is then sold through the Empower Tanzania network of Community Health Workers and Community Health Educators, a sales force that has the potential to reach tens of thousands of people per month! The products are made of soft, colorful, absorbent flannel with a special waterproof barrier and attach to the underwear like panty liners. They last around three years and provide a much-needed, multi-faceted solution. Continue reading

Beyond Gender Based Violence Entrepreneurs Impress!

Empower Tanzania received an invitation from the District Council to participate in the “Celebration of Environment Day” this month. The guest of honor was the regional councilor of Kilimanjaro, accompanied by Same District Councilor and Same District Executive Director. People and organizations invited to participate were from all over the Kilimanjaro Region. We were honored to attend! Continue reading

Meet Habiba

Children: Husein (20), Fatuma (17), Paulina (14), Abdallah (12), Juma (11)

“My husband died and his family didn’t help us. They chased me from their family, so I started a new life with my children. Nothing helped and I was discouraged and I felt that I was inferior. Then I went to Empower Tanzania and attended their seminars and counseling. The counseling helped me become confident; I know that I can do more. Empower Tanzania taught me skills and I have started a small business and now I can feed my family. I am energetic because of Empower Tanzania and I no longer feel inferior.”

This is Part III of a three-part series on our BEYOND Gender Based Violence program. Click HERE to view Part I and HERE to view Part II.  Learn more about the program by clicking HERE.

Meet Bahati

Children: Halima (18), Mwajuma (15), Omari (12), Rashid (9), Sahahda (6)

“I am married and my husband was a drunkard who beat me. But after I joined the Empower Tanzania (ETI) support group, he stopped drinking and beating me. We are still together. He knows what Empower Tanzania is doing for me and he wants a program like this for men. The economic activities can lead to a good life. We now have money for the kids to go to school. We have a healthy family life. I learned saving and budgeting from ETI. I am in a small business and sell soap and vegetables in the market all because of education by ETI. ETI opened my mind and put cash in my pocket. We are thankful.”

This is Part II of a three-part series on our BEYOND Gender Based Violence program. Click HERE to view Part I and check back on the blog for more stories of incredible women like Bahati. Learn more about the program by clicking HERE.

Meet Rahema

Children: Calvin (15), Frederick (12), Ntiwe (8), Stephen (5)

“I was married and lived in Arusha where I had a small business. My husband would take all the money and get drunk. Then he would come home and beat me. I was married for 14 years before I divorced him. I came back to Hedaru to start a new life, but I was depressed and stressed worrying about my children and didn’t know what to do . I joined the Empower Tanzania Gender Based Violence support group. I had group and individual counseling and learned new skills. I am comfortable now and have new friends. I have a new life. I had nothing, but I am now capable of earning money to buy a house and land. I will do this by next year. Empower Tanzania has helped me to a much better life.”

This is Part I of a three-part series on our BEYOND Gender Based Violence program. Check back on the blog for more stories of incredible women like Rahema. Learn more about the program by clicking HERE.

Women’s Empowerment Event is a Huge Success!

On a cool summer in August, over one hundred Empower Tanzania supporters  gathered at Vivian’s Diner & Drinks in Des Moines to celebrate the work we’ve done and to help launch us into an even better, more ambitious tomorrow. Board members, staff members, volunteers, founders, and friends all gathered to share stories, bid on silent auction items, drink sangria, and eat a fabulous dinner curated by Vivian’s staff. Not only were we given the privilege of the sharing  stories of the people we serve in Tanzania, but together we raised over $10,000 for our women’s empowerment projects in rural Tanzania!! We are so grateful to all who attended and all who donated. So often we spend our time looking ahead to what we’ve yet to do, but the Women’s Empowerment Event allowed us to pause and celebrate the work our teams in the states and in Tanzania has done so faithfully over the years. To view an alum of photos from the event, click HERE.

Our incredible volunteers made this night happen:

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