WHILE concerns about the 1,443 kilometre East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project (EACOP) are being allayed, women living in villages close to the project’s terminus have been implored to take advantage of the project and safeguard it.
A workshop designed to enhance skills of women living in villages close to the project’s terminus adopted the approach of imploring them to refuse being lured to engage in unlawful activities that may harm their dignity.
Ms Johari Mtego, a Prison Officer, said at the workshop that the predicted increase in population of the villages could attract criminal elements, who may exploit children and women by encouraging them to engage in prostitution, drug sales, and other illicit activities in order to make quick money.
The workshop was organised by the Northern Coalition for Extractives and Environment (NCEE), a CBO with offices in Tanga with Oxfam America support from the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD).
Ms Mtego advised them in her presentation, which focused on security, relationships, trade, influence, and development, to instead develop legitimate economic pursuits in order to maintain their dignity and fully benefit from the 3.5 billion US dollars project’s presence.
She drew the attention of the women with her tales of prison life, saying that the majority of convicts end up feeling sorry for themselves because some of them have been convicted of felonies as a result of being used to carry contraband or drugs for a price that she could make legally.
NCEE Project Coordinator Devotha Mbenna urged women to recognise their potential and value themselves by establishing initiatives that align with the project.
She told participants at the workshop, which is part of a series of NCEE-led training for community members living in communities along the pipeline route, that they should not let this opportunity pass them by or allow others to take it.
She encouraged them to gain income-generating groups that could qualify for City Council loans.
Jenista Makange, an Agricultural Extension Officer, asked women to use her expertise to grow vegetables and other horticultural crops to sell to employees or the company.
“Use the presence of extension officers in your ward as an opportunity to improve your livelihood,” she advised.
A Clinical Officer at the Village Dispensary in Walter Mnzava warned women and girls that such an increase could very well bring infectious diseases such as HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Don’t fall for advances that will make you feel sad for the rest of your life,” he cautioned.