Women Economic Empowerment
There are considerable differences in women’s and men’s access to and opportunities to exert power over economic structures in their societies. As our key focus on women and girls empowerment, MikonoYetu supports women and girls to run small enterprises. The goal of MikonoYetu on small enterprises is to starting formalizing and ensuring growth.
Main activities conducted under this theme include:
- Entrepreneurship trainings
- Finding markets including use of mobile phones
- Finance literacy (saving and investing)
- Trainings on food fermentation/preservation
- Legal literacy on ownership of productive resources
- Establishment of FITI Cooperative Society that exclusively promotes women and girls to establish Fiti kitchens, Kiosks and Small/Medium factories in Tanzania. MikonoYetu is widely recognized in supporting women and girls to establish small probiotic yoghurt (FITI) enterprises. The goal is to produce the highest quality probiotic yoghurt in Tanzania at affordable prices for community members.Local women (“Yogurt Mamas”) become entrepreneurs and community leaders through managing their own sustainable businesses
- Partnering with University of Western Ontario on implementation of FITI (Probiotic) in Tanzania.
Adolescent girls are often treated as inferior and are socialized to put themselves last, thus undermining their self-worth and self-esteem (UN Women, 1995). To challenge this negative social discourse, in/out of schools, MikonoYetu builds the self esteem and confidence among girls aging 10-19 in order for them to reach their full potentials. MikonoYetu does this through story telling of Queen Warriors and other powerful women who have succeeded in life. MikonoYetu also provides mentorship sessions to girls to realize their potentials as well as become leaders.
Furthermore, in Mwanza, MikonoYetu supports an exciting movement named “Eagle Movement for Adolescent girls in Mwanza”. This movement fights the socialization and internalization that women and girls are weak they are chickens instead it boldly say “women and girls are eagles not chicken”. This Girls Movement follows what the late President Julius Kambarage Nyerere in 1944 while studying at Makerere University wrote,
“Women, you are created in the image of God, but people have made you think that you are chickens, and you yourselves also think so; but you are actually eagles. Straighten your wings and fly, do not be content with chicken feed. With your own efforts and with the support of your friends take yourselves out of this state of weakness in which you are today, so that you can enjoy freedom and justice in a peaceful world”.
Our intention is to therefore follow the writings of the Late President Nyerere, ensuring adolescent girls better understand and embrace that they are not weak as chickens, but rather that they are strong as eagles who can flap their wings and fly.
Women and the Environment
The deterioration of natural resources displaces communities, especially women from income-generating activities, while greatly adding to unremunerated work. In both urban and rural areas, environmental degradation results in negative effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of the population at large, especially girls and women of all ages (UN Women 2014). Understanding the consequences of deterioration of natural resources, in rural areas, MikonoYetu strengthens the capacities women and girls to manage natural resources while mitigating the negative impact of climate change. MikonoYetu promotes the diversification of energy sources such as solar (particularly solar cooking stoves and refrigerators) and Jiko Safi that uses jatropha seeds instead of charcoal and firewood. Furthermore, MikonoYetu supports women to establish beekeeping projects that contributes in income generating activities as well as environment protection as more trees are being planted.
Violence Against women
Violence against women and girls (VAWGs) is a cross cutting issue to MikonoYetu programme work as it is obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Being a cross-cutting issue, MikonoYetu works in networks, coalitions and partnerships to eradicate VAWGs. Currently, MikonoYetu works in partnership of 4 non government organizations based in Mwanza to mobilized communities to prevent violence against women using the SASA! approach designed by Raising Voices, a pioneer of violence prevention approach based in Kampala, Uganda. SASA! approach has been scientifically tested and is currently used worldwide.
“Empowerment of women and equality between women and men are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples” (United Nations 1995).