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.

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:

Before sitting down to dinner, guests enjoyed appetizers, sangria, and a new video produced by ETI highlighting our work towards women’s empowerment in Tanzania:

Dinner was outstanding and as people finished their dessert, we were thrilled for the opportunity to thank our honorary hosts, Dr. Jeff and Ali Carithers:

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

Ten Things to Know About CHAP (Part I)

Have you ever wondered how health programs in sub-Saharan Africa actually work? This blog post is part of a series that will take a closer look at our Community-Hospital Alliance Program (CHAP). In just over one year, CHAP has reached over 10,000 people in rural Tanzania and continues to be an integral response to the lack of access to healthcare in this impoverished nation.

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CHAP=Community-Hospital Alliance Program

Community Health Workers learning to do basic things like monitor blood pressure, so they will be able to refer patients to a local hospital if needed.

Community Health Workers learning to do basic things like monitor blood pressure, so they will be able to refer patients to a local hospital if needed.

The Community-Hospital Alliance Program (CHAP) is now operational.  Because of the lack of access to health care in the Maasai community in Tanzania, CHAP was created to train local women to provide very basic health care in their communities, and officially connect them with nearby hospitals for support.  With this education, they can work in their very isolated villages to help people understand water born disease, take blood pressures, and help people decide when to go seek medical attention for health problems. Continue reading

A different twist on skin tone

There are numerous superstitions in East Africa about albinism, a genetic deficiency of pigment of the skin, hair and eyes.   Many East Africans believe people with albinism lack souls, are possessed by the devil or have mental retardation.  There are also beliefs that their body parts have magical properties and can make one rich, treat disease or prevent HIV/AIDS.  This leads to murder and dismemberment of people with albinism and mystical usage or sale of their body parts by witch doctors or other sorcerers.

children with Albinism must protect themselves from the sun

children with albinism must protect themselves from the sun

This cultural belief system is particularly prominent in Tanzania where over 70 people have been murdered in the past 14 years because of their skin color.  This is aggravated by the fact that, for unknown reasons, the incidence of albinism in East Africa is more that 12 times that of the rest of the world.

Fatima Ali is a 22 year-old woman with albinism who loves to wear red scarves over her white hair.  Her skin is already severely sun damaged at her young age because of the lack of protective pigment from the African sun.

Her village is small enough that everyone knows her and, even though she is often discriminated against, she generally feels safe.  When she was a student, however, she was at a public boarding school in a larger town and feared she would be attacked and chopped up at night in her dormitory as others have been.

albino2Empower Tanzania’s Improving Women’s Health Program provides public health education presentations to over 12,000 people per month to the 269,000 people of Same District in Tanzania.  Albinism has been the topic for the month of February and the 33 community health educators in this program are teaching the truths of albinism to counter the commonly held myths and superstitions about the condition.  They are also identifying people like Fatima so they can be educated about sun protection measures and reduce the high risk of skin cancer.

Be a part of this cultural change and support the Improving Women’s Health Program and other programs operated by Empower Tanzania.