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News from Helen in Tanzania

Posted on 28th January 2015 at 14:15 by LCBC News in LCBC News Blog

Helen with girlsAs you may know, I am currently in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania completing a six month Fellowship with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) called Anza International (formerly TEACH). Anza is a capacity building NGO dedicated to creating jobs and strengthening communities in Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro region. Anza does this by enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to get the training and resources they need to successfully launch and nurture social enterprises. Sustainability is a key element to Anza’s work so that projects can remain, grow and multiply with and without their intervention. Anza develops innovative approaches based on research and cultural awareness and work with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. 

Map of TanzaniaI am part of Anza’s Action in Communities of Tanzania (ACT) Fellowship, working on a Feminine Health and Empowerment (FHE) Programme with one other fellow.  This programme aims to respond to the gender disparity in education, leadership and employment in the Kahe District of the Kilimanjaro Region through a series of workshops, focus groups and community meetings. The money from my fundraising has and will continue to enable the implementation of the FHE Programme for the duration of my Fellowship. This is because Anza depends on the fundraising efforts of its Fellows to achieve the aims and objectives of their Fellowship projects. Through the generosity of my friends and family I was able to successfully reach my fundraising target which has contributed fifty percent of the overall cost of the FHE programme, the other fifty percent provided by the other FHE Fellow. So thank you so much for those who contributed financially and those who committed to praying that the money would come in, I really appreciate it!

Focus group in KaheThere are two main parts to the FHE programme. The first involves going into a local school in the Kahe District of Kilimanjaro and conducting a series of 12 workshops for 16 girls aged 14-18. These workshops will educate and empower the participants on female health issues, which research has shown reduce female attendance in school. The main aim is to decrease absenteeism from school in teenage girls. From my arrival in September 2014 we have been creating and writing the curriculum, workbook, and activities for each workshops session. The workbook is now being translated into Swahili, as the sessions will be conducted in Swahili by the FHE local project officer and facilitator. The workshops will begin early 2015 in the new Tanzanian academic year.

The second part of the FHE programme is to expand into the local community and provide education on issues of feminine health and empowerment, as well as creating jobs and income through social enterprise. The aim is for members of the local community to become ambassadors of FHE and eventually educate and sell female health products for profit within their local community. We are currently at the beginning of this phase of the FHE programme. We want to help facilitate an ambassador project which is sustainable and will eventually be able to continue and grow without Anza’s intervention.

We therefore see it as crucial to include the community in the planning and conception stages of the project, so that the community have ownership over the project. The in-school FHE pilot programme was conducted in the summer of 2014, and four graduates of the pilot programme have volunteered to be FHE ambassadors in their community. We conducted a focus group discussion with these girls to get their input on how they feel the ambassador programme should be run, and so they could create their own vision of the ambassador programme. We have also arranged to conduct a focus group with these girls and their mothers to open a discussion on how best to approach the community and create the ambassador programme.

The current plan for after Christmas is to conduct six training sessions with the four FHE Ambassadors to provide them with the resources and skills to be effective ambassadors of FHE. These training sessions will include topics such as self-confidence and team building as well as presentation skills and how to run a focus group in the community. It is hoped that these training workshops will equip the ambassadors with the confidence and skills to advocate issues of feminine health and empowerment. The plan is to attend three different community meetings between January and March 2015 where the FHE ambassadors have the chance to introduce issues of feminine health and empowerment. This is hopefully the beginning of a community wide education programme on matters of feminine health and empowerment which will reduce gender disparity in education, leadership and employment. It is also the beginning of a new social business which will see women in the Kahe Region female health related products.

St Margaret's Church in MosheOnce again, thank you so much for those who have been supporting me by praying for my time out here! I absolutely love being back here in Tanzania. I live with six other Fellows and three staff who I work with. We have a lovely house, and all get on so well, as they are a lovely group of people. I have also settled into a Church out here called St Margaret’s, which has an English speaking service.

They also have a weekly bible study (and free dinner!) which has been great. Finding St Margaret’s has been such an answer to prayer as it is so important to be part of a church family wherever you are. 

Long Crendon Baptist Church