The Legal Services Facilities (LSF) in partnership with the Luxembourg-based North-South Cooperation have launched a project named “Wanawake Tunaweza” in Arusha region with the aim of empowering Maasai women both socially and economically.
The two-year project that will run throughout this 2023 to 2024 year in Longido District will assist the women after forming small economic groups, and get skills impart on business and entrepreneurial skills. Equally, it will help them find markets for their diverse products and handcrafts.
According to LSF a total of 209 women and 1,214 girls are expected to directly benefit through the awareness initiatives and reach approximately 2,500 people across the Longido District.
Speaking on Monday during the launching ceremony, LSF’s Executive Director, Lulu Ng’wanakilala said the organization’s main purpose is to uplift Maasai women and girls who have largely been left outside of decision-making circles and property ownership including land and livestock and educational opportunities.
“The Maasai community is unique in regard to the way it has for time immemorial preserved its culture and customs. Its economy overwhelmingly relies on livestock rearing which accounts for 85% of all economic activities,” Lulu said.
She added; “The primary means of economic production are owned and controlled by men, a tradition that leads to serious infringement of the rights of women and girls. The implementation of this project in this district will address some of these challenges and consequently empower Maasai women socially and economically.”
In ensuring the local communities, especially women and girls are sufficiently equipped, the ‘Wanawake Tunaweza’ project plans to improve opportunities for girls’ education by constructing dormitories, establishing girls’ clubs in schools and providing sanitary towels made locally by the women’s groups.
Speaking on behalf of the Longido District Administrative Secretary, Hassan Ngoma who graced the event lauded LSF and the North-South for their efforts in promoting girls’ education while assuring them of the government’s support in their various activities.
“The construction of girls’ dormitories at Lekule and Namanga Secondary School will extensively alleviate overcrowding and encourage more girls to attend school and improve their performance…we will ensure the availability of electricity in these schools,” Mr Ngoma said.
In addition, Mr Ngoma stressed the importance of the women’s economic groups formed through the project saying that it will enable the women to undertake activities that will strengthen their economic status, take good care of their children and improve the communities’ fortunes.
North-South Cooperation representative, Roberto Marta, who participated virtually in the event said that the implementation of the project follows a long, detailed consultation process between the organization and LSF where the main beneficiaries are Loliondo residents, local government authorities at the district and ward levels, and paralegals.
“The project responds directly to Luxembourg’s international development strategy which looks to 2030 prioritizing gender equality and women’s empowerment as foundations for combating poverty and achieving sustainable development”, Mr Marta stated.
During its two years of implementation Wanawake Tunaweza will act as a catalyst for social and economic development particularly among Maasai women and girls by facilitating entrepreneurial skills for women and formal education for girls.
The Wanawake Tunaweza project aligns itself with sustainable development goals (SDGs) 1, 4, 5, 8, 10 and 16 which collectively aim to alleviate poverty, ensure access to quality education, enhance gender equality, ensure decent work and economic growth, reduce inequalities and facilitate peace, justice and strong institutions.
Recently the LSF has provided legal assistance to 175 people in celebration of the Law Week where 73 are men and 102 are women.