Market women learn the importance of including women's rights in new constitution
Staff began by building an understanding among women's groups of key women’s constitutional rights for engaging in upcoming constitutional review processes, including Special Constitutional Parliament and the Referendum. Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) disbursed funding to local women's groups who organized 2 days of training/dialogues sessions for selected women in communities on women’s rights issues in the new Constitution. During preparations for the planned training/dialogue sessions, WFT identified groups of women from selected markets for participating, while also partnering with other women’s rights organizations to assist in this process. WFT approached a Women Disability Association, to assist in identifying three groups of market women with disabilities, as well as for the inclusion of market women living with HIV/AIDS. The selection process led to 50 women from 25 local markets participating in a training/dialogue session conducted on September 19th and 20th in Ilala District.
Risks and challenges
The unanticipated delays and under information by the government (the Constitutional Review Commission) to the public on when the Special Constitutional Parliament will take place is a potential challenge in relation to how the women’s movement actors, including those trained under Catapult funding, can be able to sustain their activism in promoting their agenda in this area.
“We have learned about human rights and we are able to make comparison's to the new constitution, and now we see that some women's rights issues are missing. It is important for women to participate on the process of constitution reform.” - Neema Komba – Kigogo Fresh Market
“This group was the most animated and engaged group of women I have ever trained on Constitutional issues.” - Training/Dialogue Facilitator
Next actions will be to complete training journalists for equipping them with relevant knowledge/skills on issues of women’s constitutional rights for their increased ability in reporting on these issues. This training which will be conducted by TAMWA, one of the members of Women and Constitutional rights will also be aimed at influencing the on going public debate on women’s rights issues and the new Constitution, especially on issues of informal women’s sector issues for the Constitution.
WFT has spent $11,000: USD $9,000 granted to EfG for conducting the training/dialogue session for more women in selected markets, as well as USD $2,000 for supporting coordination and monitoring and evaluation issues for the project. It is also important to mention that there was a budget increase (deviation) totaling USD $2,000 on EfG training/dialogue activities, which was caused by unanticipated costs of initial mobilisation of women in 25 markets in both urban and sub-urban areas of Ilala District.
The movement is now for women's rights to be enshrined in Tanzania's constitution.
Why we care: Women are underrepresented in national politics in Tanzania, however with the drafting of a new Constitution, a huge opportunity has opened for women.
How we’re solving this: Organizing trainings on political advocacy and debate skills to ensure women represent their diverse communities at the national level.
The moment is now for women’s rights to be enshrined in Tanzania’s Constitution. For the first time in 36 years, a new Constitution is being drafted, opening a huge window of opportunity for local women to add their perspectives to this important document. Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) is taking advantage of this timing by conducting political empowerment trainings to ensure the country’s new Constitution represents women from all backgrounds.
A total of 50 women from established networks of community leaders, agriculture workers, market vendors, women living with disabilities or HIV/AIDS will participate in two days of political debate and education trainings. The sessions will be held in Ilala, a city where the majority of women live in poverty and have limited knowledge of national political processes like constitutional review. During the trainings participants will gain debate and reporting skills advice from women in the media on how to better advocate for the eradication of discriminatory laws and the prevention of sexual violence against women. Media personnel will also convene for a two-day training to improve their reporting techniques. As a result they will produce TV and radio news segments, and publish newspaper and social media articles advocating for an end to violence against women.
In addition, approximately 20 community leaders and 100 community members will participate in a one-day dialogue session and strategize on how to ensure that women’s rights issues are incorporated into mainstream political discussions. Overall, WFT’s facilitated dialogues will build the capacities of men and women politicians, and local community members and leaders to advocate for the implementation of women’s rights into the new Constitution.
WFT will ensure that its training is creating impact by conducting a feedback session with training facilitators and partnering organizations; collecting data to assess implementation of women’s rights in the constitutional draft; and compiling a final report to summarize the challenges and successes of trainings.
These sessions will:
- Build communities that champion the inclusion of women’s rights in the new Constitution.
- Increased numbers of women with advocacy skills to effectively engage in local and national politics.
- Strengthen networks of women leaders who promote women’s equality and empowerment throughout their country.