IN TANZANIA IT IS HARD TO BE A GIRL/WOMAN
Women dominate this workforce, primarily surviving by planting and harvesting small shambas, or family plots, by hand hoe. Tanzania remains one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 152nd out of 187 countries by the Human Development Index, and it is a heavily male-dominated patriarchal society ranking 119th out of 146 countries on the gender-inequality index. Discrimination and violence against females is pandemic.
From the onset, daughters receive fewer educational opportunities than sons as cultural norms dictate that families invest in educating boys first. Due to extreme poverty, lack of parental investment and the high rate of teen pregnancy (half of all girls have their first child by 19 and those who get pregnant are immediately expelled from school), 80% of all girls only complete primary school. One in 5 has no education at all. Of the 5% of all Tanzanian children who ever enroll in secondary school, a smaller percent complete their studies and of those a tiny fraction are girls. And once in school, gender-based socialization often reinforces negative norms by teaching boys to be assertive and girls to be passive. In poor family homes, girls often receive less adequate nutrition and medical care than boys as it is expected that they will marry young (70% are married by age 20) and leave to live with their husband’s clan. The legal age for marriage in Tanzania is 15 (younger with parental consent), and often the only perceived value of a daughter is her dowry upon betrothal.
Girls and women in Tanzania are at constantly risk of violence. Tanzania has one of the world’s highest rates of sexual violence after age 15, and 1/3 of adolescents report forced sexual initiation (even higher as sex crimes largely go under-reported). HIV infection rates are 6x higher for girls than for boys, and while the constitution is currently being rewritten to better protect women, currently there are no laws protecting women or girls from domestic violence.
Girls and women are also 100% responsible for domestic labor, including the physically burdensome and time-consuming tasks of collecting water and firewood (The average weight of water women in Africa carry on their heads is 50 pounds -HDR) as well as the caring for the young, the sick and the elderly; maintaining the home structure; farming any small shamba for fruits and vegetables that can be sold to meet the families basic needs; cooking; cleaning; etc.
For those who do receive an education, there are still many obstacles. Customary law demands that land remain in the man’s clan and is inherited only by male siblings or male heirs. As a result, daughters and wives rarely inherit land rights. Also, for women wanting to start or grow their own businesses, getting credit and/or bank loans is extremely difficult due to cultural prejudice and often a husband’s permission and consent is required.
All these factors -- inadequate access to proper education, nutrition and medical care; the threat of gender-based violence; burdensome domestic duties; a lack of access to land and credit; and cultural norms and traditions that prevent women from decision making at the family and community levels -- work together to keep women trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.
“Women entrepreneurs are increasingly recognized across the world for the success of their businesses and for their important contributions to their countries' economic well-being. A growing body of research indicates that women's economic empowerment is positively correlated with improved family welfare and nutrition, higher education levels for girls, and improved economic growth for the society as a whole.” ~International Finance Corporation
It’s been proven in studies around the world that women who receive loans will reinvest in their families by feeding, educating and properly caring for their children. According to Half the Sky Movement, “for every dollar a woman earns, she invests 80 cents in her family. Men, on the other hand, invest around 30 cents and are more likely to squander money on alcohol and other vices.” One Tanzanian survey showed that 128 women entrepreneurs were able to create 983 jobs -- an average of 5.9 new jobs per enterprise.
In 2005, following the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, the Tanzanian government formally acknowledging the challenges and prioritized the following four areas:
1. Enhancement of women’s legal capacity;
2. Economic empowerment of women and poverty eradication;
3. Women’s political empowerment and decision making and
4. Women’s access to education, training and employment.
The Unite Moyo Revolving Loan program supports the Tanzanian government’s priority of economically empowering women, increasing access to continuing education, training and employment; and eradicating poverty. It has been shown that as women earn more money and grow their protected financial assets, they get more respect from their husbands and the men in their communities and achieve greater independence and decision-making rights.
This Unite Moyo micro- to small-enterprise revolving loan program is very specifically designed to empower women who have proven their micro- to small-business models and need capital and further education and support in order to expand and increase their number of hires. All loan recipients must have been operating their businesses for at least a year, demonstrate profits and hold a bank account. By providing capital and continuing business education, we will work to create business growth and expansion so that more women can be hired and more emerging female entrepreneurs trained.
Target Audience: Impoverished village women with strong business plans and emerging pre-established micro-enterprises.
1. Micro Enterprises: Individual women who with business plans and in need of small starter loans
2. Small Enterprises: Small businesses with 1 to 4 employees and up to 5 million TSH in capital investment
· To deliver business development loans to women with viable business plans as well as those who are established and pre-vetted small business owners
· Provide business owners with ongoing education in marketing, business development, operations and managerial skills
· Have all loans repaid with a 15% interest within 15 months and then placed into a revolving loan fund to empower more micro- and small-business holders.
· Empower the girls at the Sega Girls School, a secondary school for marginalized and at-risk girls, and other local secondary and college female graduates with business education opportunities through apprenticeships with Unite loan recipients.
· Create more jobs for women: Have each business owner grow her business enough to hire one to five additional women each year to earn a living and learn essential business skills. A 2002 study estimated there are about 700,000 new entrants into the labor force in Tanzania every year, of which 500,000 are school leavers with few marketable skills. The public sector employs only about 40,000 of the new entrants, leaving about 660,000 to join the unemployed or the underemployed reserve. Most of these persons do, can or should find work in the SME sector.
Anne Wells, America: Anne Wells, 42, is the founder and CEO of Unite The World With Africa, Unite Tours, Ashe Collection and Unite for Africa USA Youth Groups. She has been living and working in and out of Tanzania since she was 19 years old in 1991. Over the past six years she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for programs in Tanzania, both those launched by Unite as well as those run by Unite’s many partner 501c3s.
Astridah Katalyeba, 59, Tanzania. Mrs Katalyeba has been a trusted advisor and partner of Unite The World With Africa since our inception in 2008. She will run and operate The Unite/Moyo Loan Program in Tanzania. Astridah works as the assistant dean of students at the Mzumbe University in Morogoro, and she has worked as a teacher and headmistress in Tanzanian schools for more than 35 years. As an upstanding and respected member of her community, local women have long been approaching Astridah for help and support of their entrepreneurial and educational goals and aspiration. In addition to her work with Unite and Mzumbe University, Astridah is also currently a board member of the Sega Girls School in Tanzania and Nurturing Minds in Africa in the U.S.A. Astridah holds a BA in Education from the University of Zambia and a diploma in child rights, classroom & school management, and she is a committee member of Mzumbe “Women for Change.”
Unite The World With Africa is a social organization founded in 2008 that works to advance health, education and microfinance programs across East Africa by connecting Americans and Africans in unique and impactful ways. Under its Unite Tours arm, Unite operates and organizes service safaris that empower travelers to connect, serve and discover in the villages. Under its retail arm The Ashe Collection, Unite works to build international market demand for African artisans creating exceptional product as well as raise funds for its programs in Tanzania. And Unite also operates a youth group program here in America called Unite For Africa through which it empowers our young people to recognize and step up to their power and role as global change agents. Unite is a 100% volunteer organization. For more information visit unitetnz.org.