The government’s initiative to promote GEWE from household to sector and national levels is remarkable.
The government also has established various initiatives to empower women and other groups economically, such as women development fund (WDF) which entails allocation of four per cent of the local government authorities (LGAs) own source revenue to women development interventions and four per cent to youth development interventions and two per cent for people with disabilities.
Both policy and strategy initiatives have been focused to ensure that gender was mainstreamed into country policies, programmes and strategies.
As one of its initiatives to supplement the remarkable efforts to ensuring women are economically empowered, TGNP Mtandao have selected the Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneur Cooperative (SUGECO) to be a strategic partner for Women Economic Empowerment Projects (WEE) project’
Speaking to this paper in Morogoro over the weekend, Programme Officer, Mobilization and Outreach at TGNP Mtandao Deogratius Temba said that it was keen to ensuring that the international and national commitments on GEWE were translated into actions.
“TGNP is aware that without women inclusivity on economic activities nothing sustainable in terms of achieving GEWE will be realised.”
He said that TGNP was seeking to integrate WEE framework in knowledge centres (KCs).
This strategy come as an intervention to address the challenges of those KCs for failing to advance themselves and/or overcome community specific problems without attaining more toward economic independence.
Temba said that TGNP, having recognised that weakness, in collaboration with donors were introducing a new project that was meant to empower women in their established knowledge centres to enable them as a group become self-sustainable and each individual member in these centres also become economically empowered.
He further said “Economic empowerment is crucial for keeping KCs strong, sustainable and able to deliver quality movement building service at grassroots level.”
Temba further noted that among other things the integration will focus on building capacity of KCs leaders and active members toward designing and establishing profitable economic activities as a new line of KCs service beyond movement building services.
Currently TGNP is implementing several strategies, approaches and activities to insure GEWE is being translated into actions at grassroots levels.
Among many initiatives is the implementation of Women Economic Empowerment Projects (WEE) focused on facilitating grassroots community to establish and operationalization effective and efficient Knowledge centers that support members to start and operate income generating activities in rural communities.
Temba mentioned the goal of the WEE project as to strength capacity of KCs for achieving economic sustainability and be able to provide economic empowerment services to its members by participatory way by facilitating the design, establishment and profitable operations of economic projects of the center and its members.
For her part, District Executive Councilor of the Morogor District Council Rehema Bwasi welcomed that project in her district, saying it will economically empower women and impart them with entrepreneur knowledge to enable them become economically independent and stable.
She commended TGNP Mtandao for being in the fore front to ensure women particularly living in villages know their rights and are liberated from poverty.
Bwasi further noted that the empowering of those women with entrepreneur knowledge and skills would enlighten them and hence know how to address the challenges faced in their day to day economic activities.
According to Bwasi, women who will be empowered with entrepreneur skills by TGNP are from three wards namely: Bwakila Chini, Mngazi and Kisaki, which have knowledge centres in the district.
For his part, SUDECO’s Operation Manager Joseph Masimba said that specifically, the WEE-Project intended to among many objectives: to build capacity of 25 KCs to design, establishment and operations profitably economic projects for the centers to achieve financial sustainability.
To transform more than 4000 women’s and 1000 men’s lives at grassroots level through economic empowerment activities, thus strengthen their ability of analyze, organize, engage, communicate and challenge dominant structures, ideologies and practices.
To establish Revolving fund to support KCs economic activities by providing revolving fund where necessary and proved needful.
According to Masimba, the WEE-Project scope was to facilitate 25KCs to achieve KCs sustainability agenda and individual KCs member economic empowerment.
Masimba who is also a Consult with TGNP, noted that the WEE-Project will be implemented in Morogoro, Shinyanga, Mbeya and Dar-es Salaam.
The project implementation will start with pilot phase with three knowledge centres (KCs) and 40 KCs members. Phase one, eight KCs and 160 members, phase two, eight KCs and 160 members, phase-three, six KCs and 160 members.
Upon the established selection procedure and criteria within WEE-Project, 13 - 20 members shall be selected to attend capacity building training on business mindset and agribusiness knowledge empowerment workshop.
During training each KCs members shall work on early stages of resource mapping and idealisation for proposed KCs economic empowerment projects.
SUGECO and TGNP shall work closely with KCs-WEE committee to develop project business plans (BP) for each KCs after a completion critical resource mapping. Such BP shall be linked to revolving fund service to access the missing resource.
Such linkage will follow revolving fund established policy. Then execution and operation of economic activities by KCs will start and RF recovery management will be executed also.
Then KCs start generating incomes by several economic activities and service provision. Implementation of this mode of operand will start with three KCs upon successfully implementation scaling up to remaining 22 KCs will be done.
The TGNP women economic empowerment project expects to be implemented to at least 25 KCs. Toward implementation TGNP is proposing a pilot phase that will evolve selected three KCs only.
During the pilot phase TGNP and its partner will have an opportunity for monitoring, learning and Evaluation and make improvements before scaling up the project.
Furthermore, during the pilot phase all the stages of the project will be implemented under several design and arrangements in every stages as per stage needs and requirement.
Before the pilot project started, TGNP and SUGECO will organise and conduct a seven-day workshop on business mindset and agribusiness knowledge empowerment workshop. Whereby selected KCs members shall attend the workshop.
The workshops will expose KCs members to mindsets and entrepreneurial skills for economic empowerment, Agribusiness, gender issues in agriculture value chains, nutritional sensitive agriculture for community agriculture technologies.
In 2010, TGNP launched TGNP’s models of strengthening movement building at grassroots levels using Knowledge centers as a grassroots institution to recruit members, organise and undertake gender empowerment movement in respective locality and communities.
The success of knowledge centers has played a major role in propagating a transformative feminism agenda from the grassroots.
To date, KCs still present a strong opportunity for communities to rally around the education and promotion of gender and human rights, as well as issues unique to each community.
Moreover, TGNP’s leadership over KCs enables the connections and insights to help TGNP become one of the foremost, evidence-based research centers on gender issues in the country. Currently there are over 25 Knowledge Centers in four regions which each has more than 200 members, where all operating at different levels and outputs.