Celebrating Milestones and Paving the Way Forward: Reflections on WFT-T’s 15 Years Anniversary Celebrations
26 May 2023
The Women Fund Tanzania Trust (WFT- T) marked its 15th anniversary in style, from the 24th to the 26th of February 2023.
Following the milestone event, WFT-T organized a task force reflection meeting on 16 May 2023, to celebrate achievements, glean major lessons, and chart the way forward. The reflection meeting brought together more than 20 participants, who were members of the 15 years anniversary celebrations taskforce which was formed during preparations for the grand event.
During the reflection meeting, participants highlighted several key achievements from the event, including high media visibility, opportunities for advocacy, deepening of discussions on the feminist agenda, etc.
**Celebrating Achievements: ** High Media Visibility: One of the notable achievements realized during the 15th-year anniversary celebrations was remarkable media coverage. Through effective media engagement, availability of content, and coordination strategies, the event captured the attention of various media outlets, resulting in extensive coverage across television, radio, print, and online platforms. The heightened media visibility significantly contributed to raising awareness about WFT-T and grantees’ work. It helped to reach a wider audience, ensuring that the organization's efforts in advancing women's rights and empowerment were disseminated widely. This was echoed by one of the participants, Florah Ndaba, who said, “The event was live and viral. I was out of the country but through social media, I was like a participant in a live event.''
Opportunity for Advocacy: The event (anniversary celebrations) served as a powerful platform for advocacy, providing a unique opportunity to engage, create awareness and mobilize support for women's rights. By bringing together diverse stakeholders and facilitating meaningful conversations, the event effectively amplified the voices of marginalized women and catalyzed action towards women’s rights issues. Connecting other funders (AWDF, UAF etc) with stakeholders of diverse feminist groups, was observed as a unique opportunity beneficial to women’s movement, WRO’s and other stakeholders including media. For example, some of the movement actors and organizations were contacted by these funders for more engagements to support their initiatives. Also, some of the journalists who participated during the 15 years celebrations (BBC, the Guardian) reached out to WFTT grantees for more understanding about their work and share the stories/documentaries via their platforms.
A space to Deepen Discussions on the Feminist Agenda Another fundamental outcome of the 15th-year anniversary event was the opportunity to delve deeper into discussions surrounding the feminist funding agenda. The event successfully provided space for thought-provoking discussions, panel sessions, and group work, which enabled participants to reflect upon the unique value of feminist funding, how feminist funding has contributed to the transformative change in the community, and also envision the future. The discussions attracted partners and other stakeholders including the private sector, to aspire more knowledge on how the provision of feminist grant-making (feminist funding) is working to strengthen the feminist and children’s movement. The taskforce meeting recognized the positive impact of these conversations and committed to continue such discussions in a bid to promote sustained progress.
A celebration and learning event The anniversary celebrations were a unique blend of celebration and learning space. Taskforce members acknowledged that it was a learning platform for everyone, who participated since the herstory was not known, and how the movement was engaged with its diversity, inclusion, and intergenerational feminist approach from past to present. The event allowed attendees to exchange knowledge, gain insights and draw inspiration from experiences shared. It also provided a platform for learning herstory journey to all stakeholders, institutions, movement actors, media, and the Tanzanian community at large. It created enthusiasm for many to learn about feminist approaches and applications, through the demonstration of WFT-T initiatives, grantees’ testimonies and transformation made in the community.
Publishing and launching WFTT Herstory book The task force members shared that the launch of Herstory book during the 15 years celebrations was a great success. The book writing process took a lot of dedication and effort in compiling content, reviewing, and publishing by the founders and the documenting team. The Importance of Collaboration: The task force members further acknowledged that the success of the anniversary event was made possible through the collaboration of all stakeholders. They commended the solidarity and collaborative strategies used by all committee members, secretariat team, volunteers, and movement actors. From the beginning of the preparations to the end; the task force worked as one focused team. Solidarity and collective ownership were highly demonstrated during all stages of the event.
Lessons and the way forward
Learning from Challenges:
- The task force candidly discussed the challenges faced during the anniversary celebrations, planning and execution, particularly areas such as logistics and resource management. They recognized that lessons could be learnt from these experiences to enhance future initiatives. “Let us change challenges from 15th-year anniversary event to opportunities. E.g. if there is any good strategy that worked out let us deepen it.”
- The event created content for more than the other 15 years. This includes some of the discussions which need more engagement, Eg how are we envisioning 50 yrs, Private sector engagement etc. The dialogue on the funding ecosystem should be rolling out through engaging partners, grantees as well as the private sector. This will give space to interrogate more on feminist fund’s accessibility, sustainability, and flexibility at the global and national level.
- Deepening of strategies: The committee advised documentation of the procedure for the anniversary from the very initial step to the end. This will include processing, output as well as follow-up actions. The Gender Festival Frame was mentioned as the best example of a community organizing event with a high-level systematic programing approach. The task force advised documentation to take place as soon as possible.
- WFT-T Herstory book dissemination strategies: The book should be produced in a way that will attract readers of all ages, eg Animating the book design, producing a popular version, translation into friendly language, and availability of online readable version. They also advised the use of platforms such as SOMA to disseminate the book.
- Analysis of the database for movement actors, partners, and private sector should be conducted while engaging them in coalition platforms to deepen understanding of how the movement is working, procedure, and success to ensure they form part of the database, and support movement initiatives.
- Strengthening relationships with private sectors and partnering with them in future programs eg accessing them through CEO round table meetings, and giving them space to know about us and what we are doing will enhance collaboration and support.
- Deepen our approaches/event models, identify issues that need follow-up, prioritization of follow-ups and documentation
- Create a small team to brainstorm key actions and implementation in collaboration with the secretariat.
Moving forward, Women Fund Tanzania Trust and its partners remain committed to build upon these achievements, leverage lessons learned, and continue to champion the rights and empowerment of women and children in Tanzania.