Twenty young women living under extreme poverty and ex-commercial sex workers in Arusha municipality have been trained on a number of entrepreneurial skills, and were handed 300,000 /- start- up capital each.
The handing over is part of a two-year project meant to make them earn a decent living, whereby in the first phase, 20 young women formerly were engaging in commercial sex and those living in difficulties are the first batch to benefit from a well-tailored empowerment programme.
“This programme will be instrumental to me and my colleagues. I commend Jitegemee Vijana Tanzania Foundation (JVTF) for coming up with this idea,” says Irene Moshi, one of the beneficiaries.
Irene has been working in a small salon, but her business wasn’t growing for lack of capital. “But, with this capital I have been given, I’m sure my business is going to flourish and meet my daily demands,” she says.
One of the repentant ex-commercial sex workers also listed for capital donation says that the programme unveiled for her a number of business opportunities.
“I am sure that this programme will give me mileage in my life. I encouraged other unemployed ladies, and those engaging in commercial sex, to disengage from the vice and take up proper business ventures,” she says.
JVTF managing director Raymond Mashambo said that the two-year project involved 40 participants, 20 awardees in the first phase and 20 in the second phase.
The first group had already undergone unique training on entrepreneurship and business skills, he said, noting that participants were trained on a wide-range of issues on entrepreneurship, whereby everybody was able to identify a line of business which she would pick up after the training.
“After undergoing the training every participant was able to identify small-scale business projects, and thereafter started running their own business. And those who had business projects before were taught on how to improve them,” he said.
Conditions were included to ensure that after five months individuals begin returning 15,000/- each month for a period of one year.
“We’re going to leave them do their businesses freely for five months. After that they will start contributing 15,000/- every month for 12 months and the amount accumulated will be 180,000/-, out of which we will deduct 60,000/- as start-up capital for the next batch of 20 new group of participants in the project,” he elaborated.
“We are not going to dictate the kinds of business they would do but we shall be monitoring their progress so that they can stand on their own feet.”
JVFT is committed to ensuring the successful establishment and running of business initiatives of the beneficiaries.
The director noted that the target of the project is to impact 40 women living difficult lives and those engaging into commercial sex in Arusha and its environs.
Under the project arrangement, women of different ages were taken off the streets in a campaign launched by the JVTF as part of rehabilitation and re-integration measures to reduce the burden young women face due to massive unemployment in the country.
He noted that the initiative is meant to give entrepreneurial skills so that at the end of the day they earn their living decently.
Mashambo said the training programme will also spill-over into other red-hot areas for commercial sexual in the region, which include Mto-wa-Mbu, Karatu and Namanga.
Arusha-based business management trainer, Alphonce Massaga said the programme was designed to encourage women living in extreme poverty to avail themselves of the opportunity of acquiring skills and living decently.
Massaga, the managing director of the Alpha Associates, said: “This, we hope, will improve their means of life and keep them away from the streets.”
“It is our belief that when this becomes a success story it will encourage others to avail themselves the opportunity of being trained in meaningful and sustainable skills to earn a decent living and empowerment,” he further noted.