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Investing in Maasai women

The project, funded by European Union and launched in partnership with Maasai Pastoralists Foundation, TRIAS VZW and Marketplace Literacy Communities Trust, aims at improving the livelihood of 5.000 Maasai women’s in Arusha, Monduli and Longido Districts who still lack formal education, basic human rights, have no political representation and rely entirely on subsistence informal economies, as a mean to increase food security, reduce child mortality and mitigate social fragmentation.
The action is proposing integrated solutions with a multidisciplinary approach offering a wide range (technical, institutional, social) of skills and experiences aimed at increasing the productivity of vulnerable women dependent on informal economy and living in harsh environments, strengthening their capacity to participate in regional policy processes which at present are virtually non-existent.
We will focus on generating sustainable market-driven development, to improve employability and establish income-generation activities among rural women, in three new sustainable business sectors: local and regional market of dried meat, honey production and the touristic sector in Northern Tanzania. The supported economical activities will promote gender equality by enabling women to own property and contribute financially to family needs thereby enhancing social cohesion.
In addition the project will support vulnerable women in the process of establishing 8 new middle size MBO’s (Member Based Organizations) at Ward level, one for each ward. Within the protective framework of organized groups, vulnerable women will be allowed to own and build up assets, an impossible task otherwise. The MBOs will link themselves to better connected member based organizations in order to be represented at higher levels of society, including the central government, and to deliver socio-economic services. In addition we will build the capacity of 25 existing Traditional Women Groups (TWG) constituted by Maasai married women and widows to discuss about family matters and to resolve conflicts. TWG will serve as entry points to raise and disseminate awareness on their civil and social rights and to promote women’s representation at institutional levels.

Educating women on human and social rights, violence, gender issues and on the effects of nutrition on health will contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality through the improvement of general knowledge, and will make women aware of the importance of their role, in the society as well as in the family context. Moreover through the implementation of an awareness campaign and the organization of roundtables, citizens will be better informed about their rights and governments will be better informed about informal economy and marginalized groups.