"TGNP Gender Festival crucial in East Africa for gender equality"
The South Africa Development Community (SADC) Envoy Emma Kaliya at the 14th TGNP Mtandao Gender Festival in Tanzania has challenged women across the region to jointly act on tangible measures for fighting against gender oppression, violence and other challenges that still holds back the struggle for gender equality instead of speaking only. Ms Kaliya stated that "there is a bright highlight where progress has been made, but no country has achieved gender equality". She labeled the Gender Festival of WfWP member TGNP as "one of the most crucial points of reference in the East Africa region on consolidating the status for gender equality since 1996".
The Tanzania Gender and Network Programme Gender Festival was held from 5-8 September at the Dar es Salaam office grounds of TGNP. This 14th edition focused on assessing the achievements reached so far as well as the existing challenges frustrating the road to gender equality.
Sub Themes included: Beyond numbers: Claiming and transforming leadership spaces for women and marginalized people; Social exclusion: Women and economic empowerment; Ending the Silence: Documenting ‘Her’ Story in capturing our achievements (Women success stories), and; Economic marginalization: How do we finance gender equality?
Executive Director of fellow WfWP member Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) Mary Rusimbi also attended the festival and called for strategic plans to lift up women groups in the country.
She said that women entrepreneurs in Tanzania are still facing lack of loans and reliable market information, which is holding them back from progressing to external markets. Rusimbi added that the government should give priority to small and medium entrepreneurs to boost activities that support local markets.
Women farmers at the festival addressed the existing oppressive customary laws that deny them the right to posses land and other resources. They told the laws undermine them to have access to the agriculture and mining sector despite the fact that they are able to work in the sector. "The struggle for gender equality in society cannot be attained if there are no policies and regulations advocating women rights to own and poses land and other resources", stated one of the farmers, Sophia Mtweve from Morogoro.
The 1996 Gender Festival was the first of its kind to be organized by TGNP, with over 400 people from nearly every region of Tanzania and different countries. The gender festival has been a four-day event from the start. The general theme: Gender, Democracy and Development, as adopted for the 1996 Festival remains since as the overall theme for all subsequent festivals.
The festival is an open forum for likeminded individuals and organisations to come together to share experiences and knowledge, to celebrate achievements and assess challenges ahead, to strengthen networking and coalition-building, to build capacity and to contribute to public debate and plan collectively for social change from a feminist perspective.
The Festival provides a unique space for activists from all walks of life to come together from every region of Tanzania, including Pemba and Zanzibar, as well as from neighbouring countries of Africa and beyond.
Full stories on TGNP's Gender Festival outputs:
- Gender Festival must be sustained and supported until the full realization of gender equality. The South Africa Development Community (SADC) Envoy has challenged the women across the region to jointly act on tangible measures for fighting against gender oppression, violence and other challenges that still holds back the struggle for gender equality instead of speaking only.
- Women entrepreneurs call for more resource investments. Presenting their joint recommendations to participants of the workshop yesterday at the ongoing 14th Gender Festival event in Dar es Salaam, Executive Director for Women Fund Tanzania (WFT) Mary Rusimbi said that there should be strategic plans to lift up women groups in the country.
- Experts embrace good parental care for girl child protection. Esther Mwaikambo, a Professor and first female Tanzanian Doctor has counseled women to adhere on the good morals and ethics needed in the society in order to build up strong family with bright future.
- Women miners demand for technology investments. In an effort to stimulate the government industrialization strategy, the women local miners have requested the stakeholders in the sector to empower them by investing in the technology and technical support to improve the industry.
- Land conflicts bottlenecks Development. Activists have jointly recommended the government to pass on the mandate for land ownership to villagers in order to eliminate the longstanding land conflicts with the investors, government and among them.
- Women demand Gender focused Land Policies. Women farmers have reacted over the existing oppressive customary laws that deny them the right to posses land and other resources something that retards them from engaging in economic activities.
- “Women can do it independently”-Hon Makinda. The former speaker of the National Parliament Anna Makinda yesterday challenged the women in Tanzania to embrace self-capacity and confidence and to belief that they are able to contribute to the development like other people.