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

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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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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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

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