Equal opportunities for women and the development of the girl child have been cited as important factors for the country to achieve its Vision 2025.
This was said in Dar es Salaam on Thursday by Professional Approach Group managing director Modesta Mahiga at a breakfast meeting to mark International Women’s Day under the theme 'Connecting girls, inspiring futures' organized by Tanzania Women of Achievement Awards.
The celebrations also coincided with the launching of a girls empowerment initiative titled 'Kinara ni mimi jasiri' that promotes young girls' empowerment in Mtwara, Iringa and Lindi regions.
Mahiga said that equal opportunities for women and the development of the girl child should be pursued as a priority and in earnest as a do-or-die survival strategy.
She said Tanzania can not fulfill the Vision 2025 without knowing the value of women and the girl child.
“To achieve the Tanzania Vision 2025 of high quality livelihood, peace, stability and unity, good governance, a well-educated and learning society, a strong and competitive economy capable of producing sustainable growth and shared benefits we must ensure that equal opportunities for women and the development of the girl child are being pursued as a priority and in earnest as a do-or-die survival strategy,” she said.
For her party, TWAA president Irene Kiwia called upon women to support the dreams and aspirations of other women.
“Women need to support the dreams and aspirations of other women. We must use today to reflect on what we are doing in our various positions and capacities to reach out to other women and help them realize their full potential," she said.
“As women we need to back each other so as to promote more women in all competitive sectors instead of being our own worst enemies,” she added.
Speaking during the launch of the initiative, Dr. Marina Njelekela, who is the current Tanzanian Women of Achievement Awards Gender Champion, said the initiative would focus on girls who are facing challenges to overcome early pregnancies, early marriages, school dropouts, sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS infections.
She said the project would focus on creating awareness, sensitizing the communities and creating a peer system that will empower girls with skills and knowledge needed to overcome these challenges and lead productive, educative and healthy lives.
Dr. Njelekela, who is also the executive director of Muhimbili National Hospital, stressed that “teen pregnancy continues to cause serious health, social and economic problems on girls especially in the rural areas where they rarely get an opportunity to learn about reproductive health and gender issues."
She added: “This accounts for up to 40 per cent of maternal deaths in some African countries and 20 per cent of this in Tanzania is caused by septic abortions. So there is a great need for intervention especially through awareness creation, community sensitization and peer system strengthening through role modeling which is still uncommon concept.”
The event attracted in multiple stakeholders from the private sector, government, international organizations, and women empowerment stakeholders, past TWAA winners, mentors, partners and sponsors, so as to celebrate the accomplishments of women around the world over the past 101 years and get inspired to take action so that the next centenary will be a celebration of even more far-reaching achievements.
To date the Tanzania Women of Achievement has added value to the Tanzanian women and girls through its awards programme (TWAA) that recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the Tanzanian society, and the TWAA Mentorship Programme that has so far mentored and inspired over 200 girls in the regions of Mtwara, Iringa and Lindi.