The Hope team recently organised a gathering for women and girls in Serengeti and Butiama, Tanzania, to learn important skills to help them generate income. The entrepreneurship training included the sharing of information on how to work economically, ensuring a profit can be made from their industry of choice.
We tasked the women with identifying a business initiative that they wanted to explore in more detail, and we helped them to plan out how best to make this venture a success. Support in numbers can be important for a new business, with different skill sets and strengths coming together to build an even stronger solution.
Hope facilitated the women forming mutual interest groups, and provided seed capital of TSH 500,000 (Approx €182 Euros / $216 USD) to help them to start their project.
Talal Rafi explains in his article, Why Women Entrepreneurs Are Critical To Economic Growth, for Forbes“…the immense potential of women when given a more level playing field, such as mentoring, capacity building and access to credit, as well as their inherent leadership skills critical to success in entrepreneurship.”
One of the purposes of helping these girls and women to form their new businesses, is the independence it provides.
The income will help them to support themselves and their families, and will play a role in reducing gender based violence from their husbands and other family members.
Running the businesses will give the women confidence and a sense of empowerment, allowing these new entrepreneurs to realise that they can fulfil their dreams.
As well as providing two safe houses for girls escaping from FGM, GBV, child marriage, and rape, Hope also organises a number of event and initiatives, such as this entrepreneurship training. You can read more about these projects in our monthly updates from Hope’s founder and director, Rhobi.
On 26th April 2021, we commenced agri-technology farmer training in Matare, Serengeti. This is an exciting way of supporting the local community with their work, whilst also engaging the attendees in education and conversation around gender based violence. Hope for Girls and Women, Tanzania, collaborated with PlantNuru, Kenya, to provide the training which explored the use of digital technology to help farmers protect their crops.
We had 20 farmers and 7 community leaders involved in the two day session. The official opening of the training was delivered by Serengeti’s District Executive Director. The District Agricultural Officer and District Community Development Officer were also in attendance.
Day one covered the types of disease that can be found in cassava and Maize and how to differentiate between diseases and their impact to crops.
We looked at the approaches that can be used to mitigate the infection of these crops, providing a solution on how to plant cassava and maize when you want to increase your production and possible ways of planting cassava for seed.
Day two included a practical session on how to record crop type data by using PlantVillage app. We visited a maize and cassava farm where disease identification exercises were carried out. Attendees were shown how they can use the PlantVillage app for detection of diseases and Pests. Farmers can seek advice from extension officers who are close by as well as from other users, using the app.
This is an innovative new stepping stone for farmers to benefit from agri-technology, which will help the production of their crops.
Twenty farmers were given smart phones at the end of the session. As well as the PlantVillage app, their phones were installed with maps.me and the ODK form to support the reporting of GBV/FGM cases. All farmers signed the contract for receiving their phones to commit themselves on how to use their phones for the targeted work.
We had very positive feedback from the farmers involved in the session who welcomed this opportunity to enhance their output and support their local community, including vulnerable girls and women.
At the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team global conference on Friday December 4 2020, Herry Kasunga talked about the Water Source mapping project that he has been coordinating with the Hope for Girls and Women digital champions.
This is an extremely important project as the majority of people in Mara, and in the rest of Tanzania, are dependent on rainwater for household water, sanitation and to grow their food.
It is also estimated that 40% of village water sources are degraded or non-functional. The shots below show some of the water points used by the digital champions:
In addition, climate change further threatens water access and means droughts and average temperature rises are likely, coupled with intense flooding events with significant damage to infrastructure and livelihoods, meaning mapping will become even more important.
Herry’s presentation slides can be viewed and downloaded here.
As well as water points, maps are also used by the Hope for Girls and Women team to send rescue teams to girls who are imminently at risk of FGM. It is often very challenging reaching these cases which are often in very remote areas, in villages that do not appear on maps. The Crowd2Map team, with a global cohort of 16,000 virtual volunteers, works on improving this on a daily basis.
Find out more about the work being done to map vast unmapped areas of Tanzania by visiting the Crowd2Map website.
Find out about upcoming Open StreetMap events via their website here.
Earlier in 2020 we were joined by Liz and Alex as they concluded their round the world trip. They came to Hope for Girls and Women to share their skills by producing a film that would reflect the determination, energy and compassion of the team and the work delivered here. Watch the film here:
The film is about an amazing Tanzanian woman, Rhobi Samwelly, and the organization she founded that is rescuing young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in the Serengeti district of Tanzania. It highlights the stories of girls who have fled FGM, as well as the staff and community leaders involved in this effort. We learn about Rhobi’s story and what led her to create the nonprofit, Hope for Girls and Women in Tanzania. The organization manages two safe houses among many other initiatives and programs, such as school and community education, and community mapping. In this film, we sought to highlight the individuals involved in this effort to rescue the girls, and to show the audience all the amazing collaborative work they are doing.
My husband Alex, and I (Liz) were taking a career gap to travel around the world full-time when we learned about Hope for Girls and Women in Tanzania. When first planning our around the world trip over 5 years ago, we knew we wanted to spend some time working with a nonprofit in Sub-Saharan Africa. Having both spent time volunteering in Sub-Saharan many years prior, we knew we only wanted to volunteer if we were able to bring a unique set of skills to the table that would have a lasting benefit to a nonprofit.
We both have had an interest in video creation for years, but had only put together a few videos for fun mostly related to travel before we left on our around the world trip.
We created a YouTube channel to document our travels and develop skills that would enable us to create documentaries, which has always been an interest of ours. I have spent most of my career working in the nonprofit/public sector so while I was learning editing and video creation, I immediately saw the potential to utilize these skills to benefit nonprofits by highlighting the amazing work they do which could then be used to reach additional funders and donors. While not everyone can visit rural Tanzania, we thought a film that brings to life the work being done would be the next best thing.
We had a very strict set of criteria for the type of organization we were looking to work for and we both could not have imagined a more perfect organization than Hope for Girls and Women in Tanzania. We were looking for an organization that is:
working to improve a human rights issue;
focused on women and children.
Hope for Girls and Women not only met, but completely exceeded all of our criteria. We loved that it was founded and led by an amazing, passionate Tanzanian woman, Rhobi, who was such an inspiration.
I had some background knowledge about FGM in Tanzania, having written my final cumulative paper on it while completing my Master of Public Health.
So not only did it align very well with my interests, I also was able to see that they were implementing all of the best practices I had learned. They were the first and only organization we reached out to, while we were living in a van and exploring New Zealand. We had a quick phone call with Janet and Rhobi after sending a few samples of our work. We were then invited to come to the remote town of Mugumu in the Serengeti district of Tanzania. Getting to Mugumu from New Zealand was quite the experience! Our total travel time was over 60 hours consisting of 5 flights, and a very long car ride.
Our experience in Tanzania at Hope for Girls and Women will remain as my favorite experience on our around the world trip. The entire team was so welcoming and accommodating to us following them around with video equipment. Without their language translation, logistical support, and the stories shared by the girls, the film would not have been possible. We really appreciate the kindness that was shown to us by the whole team while we were in Tanzania.
While we were in Mugumu, COVID-19 was declared a global health pandemic. American citizens were urged to come home or plan to stay away for an indefinite time period. We were so torn and heartbroken about this, but made the hard decision to return home. As a result, we were unable to finish filming everything that we had set out to film. However, while quarantining in the United States, we had enough footage to compile and edit the film over the next two months.
We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to highlight the work of an organization that truly deserves it. We were so inspired by the girls and all of the staff there. We will forever cherish this experience.
Hope has managed to conduct entrepreneurship and mapping trainings last week for two days. They were conducted at Giraffe Hotel in Mugumu by Daniel, Anna Paul from Hope and Geoffrey from HOT. Below you can find some pictures of the event!
The groups was of 46 people,of which 36 were women from the surrounding villages.