UN Women has launched a 4-year project on strengthening women’s and girls’ meaningful participation, leadership, and economic rights (WLER) at local levels.
The $9 million project, supported by the Government of Finland, will be implemented in 18 districts in six regions of Tanzania, including Arusha, Dar es Salaam and the coastal region, Lindi, Mtwara and Singida.
At the launch, UN Women Tanzania Representative, Ms. Hodan Addou, said the project seeks to increase the number of women, including young women and women with disabilities, in leadership and decision-making positions at local levels. This will be done through promoting gender-responsive norms, behaviors and practices, women’s economic rights, and piloting gender and disability transformative and innovative measures such as care services, in line with the Government of Tanzania’s Generation Equality Commitments.
“The programme focuses on empowering women at the local level, as this is where many of the decisions are made that affect people’s everyday lives. It recognizes women’s power as change-makers, and the need to empower their voice and agency for the sustainable development of their communities,” said Ms. Hodan Addou, UN Women Representative.
Although the proportion of women in leadership in Tanzania is above global averages, with 37% women in the national parliament, and 30% women at the District Council level, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership and decision-making positions. Women are also often confronted with economic and time poverty, and are less likely to have access to information and technology, which in turn affects their ability to participate in leadership and leverage economic opportunities.
“To address this, the project goes to the grassroots level, where women and girls will be empowered to believe in themselves and participate more in leadership,” said Theresa Zitting, the Ambassador of Finland to Tanzania.
In her remarks to officially launch the project, the Minister of State at the President’s Office in charge of Regional Administration and Local Government, Minister Angellah Kairuki, said despite great progress that has been made on women’s leadership, more women are needed in local government decision-making to achieve the country’s aspirations for gender equality and equity.
“This requires consolidated efforts, measures and actions combined with capacity building, to broaden the pool of women who are able to access leadership at local levels, and to enhance the effectiveness of those that are already occupying those roles,” said Minister Kairuki.
The WLER project builds on the Women’s Leadership and Political Participation (Wanawake Wanaweza) Project implemented from 2016-2022, which identified the lack of women’s leadership and economic opportunities as one of the critical challenges at local government levels.
The new project will be implemented in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders, including LGAs, community based organizations, community development officers, social welfare officers, village and ward development officers, women’s economic empowerment groups, PWD organizations and councillors.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.