Friday, June 6, 2008

"Women empowerment starts with us"

Women Empowerment Project (WEP) started on 1st April 2007 with the aim of facilitating women empowerment through promotion of their rights, improvement in health status and implementation of self supporting income generating initiatives. The project targets poor vulnerable women. These include widows struggling to survive, those that are taking care of orphans and the chronically ill, the disabled and those that are denied access to resources for economic empowerment.

Main activities include;
Ø Trainings in Health, Water and Sanitation, Gender and Human Rights.
Ø Adult literacy.
Ø Home gardening and compost manure making.
Ø Provision of portable water.
Ø Goat rearing.
Ø Provision of maize mills for Income Generating Activities.

Picture above: Women Empowerment Project photograph of Traditional Leaders, Project staff and ADRA Programs Director Mr. Micheal Usi

One of the strong points in the project has been the positive response and support from Traditional Leaders. These are the entry point as well as custodians of tradition and culture. Some negative traditional rituals involving risky sexual practices contributes to HIV/AIDS infection rates. A strong tradition persists to maintain the low status of girls and women and this extends to marriage and throughout the life cycle. This contributes to increase in violence against women. These negative deep rooted cultures affects community development. With this background, the project first step was to sensitize and empower the 20 participating traditional leaders to fully understand and participate in fulfilling the objective in empowering women. This is working well because most village heads are in the forefront participating in development activities. The traditional leaders have been drilled on women’s role in community and importance of encouraging men to support the women empowerment initiatives. Once the leaders are empowered it becomes much easier to reach to the grass root. With time, there is hope that these deep rooted negative cultures will be a song of the past.

Community leaders in action:

Picture above: Village Headwoman Waruma and beneficiaries appreciating safe potable water..
Picture above: Village Headman Ng’oma and his wife in their home vegetable garden.

Picture above: Village Headman Namputu stressing a point during Gender and Human Rights workshop.

Author: Andiyesa Mhango

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