Guest Blog: Eliza

Young Women's Empowerment in Tanzania 

Written by Elisa, our translator

Shirati is a village which is based in Rorya district within Mara region in southern part of Tanzania. Its population is about ………………………………….and most of them being men.  I n this village men are always superior than women that means women are always under the men and they are told  not to raise their voice where the men are. That being the case, creates more fear of using  their voices in the community. For example, if they have something to teach or to give to the community they fail to do so due to the fear that has been developed among them.

The women vocal empowerment was a project conducted by the professor from the University of Colorado, boulder Dr Beth Osnes in the year 2016, this project was conducted under Maji safi group, a non profit organization which deals with health promotion and disease prevention by fighting waterborne and water related diseases in rural communities in Tanzania. Maji safi group uses community health workers which at a large number are the local women from the village of Shirati to teach health education to the community.

In this project I was incorporated in the workshops as a English to Swahili translator among the community health workers and the project facilitators. That being the case, I was involved  directly with the class whereby health community workers where part of it. Many creative methods were used just as to make sure people understand and much of it was practical, using the voices to sing songs with the voice empowerment messages, vocal exercises, methods of vocal empowerment, drawings, charts and so many others. This project involved the community directly whereby they were showed the vocal  practices then asked some questions. So due to that it helped in changing some cultural behaviours which were not good within the commumity and also helped the community health workers to work within the community without ant fear, for example, teaching the female hygiene on menstrual period without any fear from the adults, men and  children being able to speak about their body change without any fear. Going to the community and teaching them the best practice on food preparation on the funerals. Women being free to talk to their husbands even the decision making in the family without any fear. You would here them saying “Maji safi taught us to be strong women” as  praising Maji Safi.

So  these are some of the women vocal empowerment results elements to the society, within a short period some results can be seen since the community health workers have become good ambassadors of the women vocal empowerment.