Women empowerment project takes shape in Newala District

22Aug 2019
Beatrice Philemon
The Guardian
Women empowerment project takes shape in Newala District

WOMEN in Newala district, Mtwara region are now able to stand and speak before men, something which was a taboo in the past.

Newala Women Rights Association (NEWORA) chairperson, Sophia Mnalombe briefs journalists who visited the district recently. Photo: Beatrice Philemon

This has been possible through Local Rights Programme (LRP), which is being executed by ActionAid Tanzania.

So far, hundreds of women are aware of their rights, something which makes them actively engage in socio-economic activities, hence contribute to the households income.

Through the programmes women in the area are being empowered on how to demand their rights, take part in decision making and ownership of households incomes.

Kulthum Mtulile of Pachoto village in the district is one of the beneficiaries of the programme which started in November 2018.

She lauded ActionAid Tanzania for implementing the programme in the village, saying: “We’re now free to speak before men, something which wasn’t the case in the past. Through a series of training from ActionAid, things had changed to better.”

Kulthum views the ActionAid programme as an eye-opener to hundreds of women in the district, who are now aware of GBV-related challenges, mostly caused by limited education and poverty.

A mother of five, said that through the programme women in the village managed to  come up with Pachoto Women Rights Association (PAWORA), which is a good platform for women to understand gender-based violence issues as well as addressing early pregnancies and marriages, a key challenge that deny girls access to education.

“It is from this programme, we’re seeing women getting their rights and the number of divorces had gone down and early pregnancies had also been reduced,” said Kulthum, who is also a secretary of the women group.

She also revealed that the number of school dropouts had been also decreased, as even parents are educated on the importance of education for school girls.

According to Kulthum, so far seven women who were abandoned by their husbands with no resources after divorce had managed to get their rights and three girls were rescued from early marriage  since the project kicked off in the village last year.

“Women here are confident to discuss various issues including GBV related issues,” she said, acknowledging the indomitable role played by the ActionAid Tanzania.

Fatuma Kassim is another beneficiary of the project, who said that the move had increased awareness on different types of GBV.

Fatma who is a member of PAWORA’s gender desk said that GBV issues had been going down in the village and the district at large.

“There are cases whereby abandoned children had started getting child maintenance payments from their fathers, to us this is a good achievement,” she said.

Sophia Mnalombe, chairperson of Newala Women Rights Association (NEWORA) lauded ActionAid Tanzania for supporting women and girls in the district, saying: “We’re happy to see women can speak before men as before the intervention it was very difficult for women to do so.”

In Newala district, according to Sophia, major cases are on family properties’ distribution. “In the past, such cases were impossible, but now there are people who had been enjoying that right,” she said, adding that since last year two women had been given a share of matrimonial properties after divorce.

“So, we’re encouraging women and girls to reports all issues related to GBV for further actions.”Currently NEWORA is working in 18 wards among 24 wards located in Newala district council.

For his part, ActionAid’s LRP coordinator, Dino Kamonalelo added that LRP programme was introduced in Tandahimba and Newala districts in 2002 and the programme was focusing in four areas that include education development, good governance, women rights, agriculture and Land including HIV/AIDs.

Currently the project is being implemented in Tandahimba and Newala districts in Mtwara region and is being implemented in 15 villages.


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