Stakeholders Discuss WVL Project Progress
25 October 2023
Women Fund Tanzania Trust (WFT-T) in collaboration with the Tanzania Gender Network Programme (TGNP) recently conducted WVL Pamoja Tapo project steering committee meeting.
The main objective of the meeting which took place on 9th-10th October, was to share key project deliverables, challenges, and lessons and the way forward for the remaining project implementation period, and receive strategic direction and oversight from project stakeholders. The meeting was participated by representatives from Globa Affairs Canada (GAC), the Swedish Embassy, community representatives from Same and Kishapu Districts, representatives from the Ministry of Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, and staff from both TGNP and WFTT.
During the opening Lilian Liundi, the Executive Director of TGNP welcomed all participants and appreciated their support during the project implementation. She also described the current operating context, some key milestones, and new opportunities for the women’s movement in the country such as the 2024/2025 election, the new constitution-making process, and the development of the National Development Vision 2050.
Bronwyn Cruden, Chief of Cooperations at GAC shared the word of solidarity. She reiterated Canada’s commitment to gender equality and women empowerment, through its feminist approach in international assistance and foreign policies. She also commended TGNP and WFT’s cooperation through different adversities in building local, national, and cross-border alliances and sharing practices to achieve project outcomes and grow the women’s movement.
On her side, Rose Marandu, WFT- T Executive Director shared key updates on the implementation of the project including the operating context. She said despite high expectations for the current political leadership to push for the establishment of empowering legal structures, the reality is still far of reach as the key political discussions have been shaped by national issues issues such as; Constitutional review, women’s political participation in leadership through presidential appointments, upcoming 2024 local elections, and 2025 general elections, and women's participation in key national processes eg development of the Vision 2050.
She also explained that WFT-Trust and TGNP have continued to collaborate in the coordination of all project activities, as defined in the Contribution Agreements and Project Implementation Plans.
“We have continued to coordinate relevant platforms and forums for women's Rights Organizations(WRO’s) and community-based groups at the national and local levels, where both implementing partners oversee the capacity-building programs to ensure that the grants processes, agreed-on action plans, and reporting, are timely and efficient”.
She added that WFT-T facilitated several interventions through grant-making and capacity-strengthening to enable movement actors to collectively plan and organize various convenings. While TGNP focused on networking and outreach to bring WROs and groups together to address policy, legal, and social changes.
Regarding project coordination she said that the project has a Technical Coordination Committee comprised of WFT and TGNP’s Executive Directors, Head of Program, Project Coordinators, Heads of Finance, and selected Senior Program Officers for Strategic Alliance Building and MEAL. The committee convenes regular meetings as well as formal and informal check-ins where partners review progress, conduct planning of joint activities, and strategize to ensure effective implementation of project activities.
Carol Mango, WFTT project lead also shared project updates. He said the key implementation pillars of the project are fast responsive funding for strategic interventions and projects, institutional capacity, building support, as well as networking and alliance strengthening for movement building. These have been implemented through different platforms, including the Rising Woman Initiatives, the Symposium for Commemorating 16 Days of Activism, the National Budget Dialogue, the Zonal Gender Festival in Same, and the Gender and Development Seminar Series.
Other updates were; engagement with key strategic partners in enhancing collaborative social action towards policy, leveraging key opportunities for policy engagement eg participating in the Constitutional review process where 12 key women’s agenda items from the 2015 Constitutional review draft were reaffirmed and resubmitted to the Presidential Task Force,participation in the development of the National Voluntary Report and Third Five-Year National Development Plan, the revision of the Development Vision 2025, and the development of the new Vision 2050, as part of key project priorities in monitoring the implementation of gender commitments and international instruments like the SDGs.
During the meeting representatives from the communities also got an opportunity to share their experiences. Abdulrahman Mfuru,(member of Same NGO Platform) commended the Project’s advocacy on issues of gender-based violence and promoting Gender equality, and Women’s economic empowerment through platforms like zonal Gender Festivals. He said During the COVID-19 pandemic, local activists were capacitated with alternative productivity skills in local resource mobilization and management, and the use of technology and online platforms. These skills continue to strengthen local activists and community groups to improve project implementations at the grassroots level.
Fredina Saidi from the Knowledge Center in Kishapu, Shinyanga, shared some gains from the establishment of knowledge Centers and their engagement in various local and national strategic platforms like Gender Festivals, Budget Dialogues, and a series of Gender Responsive Budgeting trainings. Knowledge Center participants share acquired transformative knowledge with their social, religious, and economic groups like the community banks, which increased the awareness and willingness of the community, especially women to participate in various economic and political development issues
Msafiri Mariam from Sukita Organization based in Dar es Salaam shared how the project facilitated the mobilization of community participation during the establishment of the MTAKUA committees which are now up and running.
Beatrice Johnson, Executive Director of Light for Domestic Workers Organizations shared the impact of TGNP and WFT’s mentorship which has strengthened their organization's capacity in governance, networking, resource mobilizations, and program management.
Agnatha Rutazaa shared how the zonal Gender Festival hosted by Tusonge in Same Region, provided a safe space for 1,300 women participants from various marginalized communities where they discussed and shared strategies to overcome the cultural and customary practices hindering women’s participation in leadership and access to resources like land.
Some of the challenges and lessons shared include; collective action and collaboration among WROs and other movement actors, bureaucratic constraints within Local Government Authorities especially in obtaining permits, programming capacity of WROs, and knowledge generation reviews,and the need to continue strengthening intergenerational feminist mentorship and deepening community engagement towards sustainable ownership and succession of the feminist movement.
At the end, a high-level plan and budget for year 5 were also presented to stakeholders. The Pamoja Tapo Women's Voice and Leadership Tanzania project is part of Canada’s global commitment across 33 Countries, to build a women’s movement that promotes women’s empowerment and gender equality, as an effective means of obtaining sustainable development.