Gender training inspires CSO to counter ‘Unyago’ rituals among girls

With the aid of gender mainstreaming training offered by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) towards end of 2015, for its part, Chama cha Kupambana na Virusi vya UKIMWI Shuleni (CHAKUMUMA) based in Tandahimba district, Mtwara region has gone the extra mile – aspiring to use the education to counter the prominent ‘Unyango’ rituals which subsequently tends to push girl children out of school.

Speaking in Tandahimba during a post-training assessment visit conducted by the FCS in mid March, CHAKUMUMA chairman, Mr. Rafael Munanka said the CSO feels inspired and wants to advocate for girls’ equal rights to education by eliminating ‘unyago’, since the rituals are increasingly becoming out of hand and contribute significantly in denying girl children’s rights to complete formal education. 

The unyago rituals usually take place to celebrate the coming of age of girls or during weddings. In those rituals, it is alleged that older women would teach the young ones about sexual and conjugal life. These rituals would last for several days and be accompanied by dances and music.

Mr. Munanka says: “We have therefore shared the knowledge acquired from the FCS training with other CSOs in Mtwara region so that we can all join forces and hence tail off the traditional practices of Unyago that undermine the girl child’s right to education upon reaching puberty age.”

However, Munanka concluded that the gender mainstreaming knowledge has also given them a new dimension on how to run affairs in their organisation - by respecting gender issues through giving equal opportunities to women so that they too can offer their contributions, as well as occupy leadership positions.

FCS prides itself on surpassing 50/50 women and men ratio

Leading by example, the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) has fully joined the international plea in the pledge for parity, becoming one of the best performers in the Tanzania civil society sector and beyond to effectively embrace gender parity.

The FCS boasts about having exceeded by far the 50/50 women and men ratio in its entire staffing.

While marking the International Women’s Day on 8 March, the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) Executive Director, Mr. Francis Kiwanga, underscored the fact that gender equality is one of the core issues that the FCS treats very seriously – calling other players within the sector to take the same yardsticks. “A quick look at our staffing indicates that we are still faring relatively well in embracing gender parity principles by going beyond the 50/50 women and men ratio. We must be proud of this milestone, which many organisations out there are still struggling to achieve,” said Mr. Kiwanga.

As for Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) and in particular those that the FCS supports do work with different ‘gendered societies,’ hence it is important their policies mainstream gender issues into their programs such that both males and females are considered equal irrespective of their orientations. Gender mainstreaming has to cut across from decision-making, leadership positions, and interactions with the community, and this is what we are all invited to pledge.

Thus, in striving to promote gender parity FCS has been providing gender mainstreaming training to CSOs, urging them integrate gender policies into their organisational operations and during implemention of projects in communities.

 

Community, CSOs called to influence policy makers for prosperity

In a bid to eradicate poverty and inspire prosperity in Tanzania, the local community - arguably led by the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) - has been invited to influence the policy makers to learn from best practices and other achievements made by developed countries.

The remarks was made by Prof. Lucian Msambichaka, who is a renowned economist and chief editor of the book,  “How can Tanzania move from poverty to prosperity?” which was launched on 10 March in Dar es Salaam.

Speaking during the book launch event which attracted among others, members from the Civil Society, academicians, government officials and the media, Prof. Msambichaka welcomed local communities and organisations to pick lessons from the book and think of localizing good experiences, and lessons from other countries in all spheres.

Referring to the book, the economics don also urged the entire society to engage in dialogues for inclusive utilization of natural resources that are present in the country towards a robust socio-economic transformation as well as synthesis, adaptation and complementarity within the country. 

For his part, the Deputy State Minister in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Dr. Abdallah Possi, spoke highly of the book saying it remains as a great testimony to the fact that local academicians and those working in policy issues have the hunger to see Tanzania moving out of poverty.

 

 

CSO forges cooperation with local stakeholders for own sustainability

Aided with the fundraising skills provided to them by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) the civil society organisation based in Mtwara region, Volunteers for Youth in Health and Development (VOYOHEDE) has succeeded to ensure sustainability of its community home based care & counseling program through cooperating with other wider stakeholders instead of sitting back and wait for the flow of funds from traditional donors.

Sharing the experience in Mtwara during a post-training assessment visit conducted by the FCS in mid March, the General Secretary of VOYOHEDE Mr. Deogratius Makoti said the CSO has been able to sustain its community Home Based Care (HBC) services through volunteerism, which in turn has attracted resources from private pharmacy owners who provided them with medicines and other medical supplies such as thermometers to facilitate their work.

Being fully aware that some traditional donors’ priorities have somehow shifted, Chairman of the organisation Ms. Deo Mtitu said: “Our organisation always puts volunteerism as a bridge to continue implementing our projects with the help of other local stakeholders without much depending on the traditional donors. We have acquired the needed skills through the FCS training and we can now forge ahead to promote sustainability of our work.” 

Ms. Mtitu added: “These FCS fundraising trainings have been so useful on our part as CSOs. They have enabled us to think of other alternative means of getting resources for our own sustainability.”

Apart from the fundraising training the FCS has been providing various tailor-made trainings to CSOs and its members so as to enhance sustainability and promote overall growth of the sector.

 

 

CSOs acquire new dimension on financial management skills

Some 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) located in different parts of the country have acquired a new dimension on how they should approach and manage their finances within their organisations, thanks to the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) efforts in assisting them set up their own financial manuals.

Speaking at a five-day training organized recently by the FCS in Dar es Salaam, Ms. Albina Robert who is an accountant at Jamii Inayoishi na Virusi vya UKIMWI Kanda ya Muleba said, “we now have a new dimension to approach on our financial systems compared to the situation before since we can now proceed to set up our own financial manuals”.

She added that before they had limited knowledge on the current standardized financial systems, hence the training will enable them put together financial manuals which are key in streamlining financial systems and all transactions.

For her part, Ms. Maria Komba from Nyakitonto Youth for Development in Tanzania (NYDT) based in Kigoma region says, the training has enabled them recognize and embrace key fundamentals of accounting which are essential for enhancing financial management.

“We believe working with a proper financial manual will enhance our overall efficiency and decrease unnecessary queries,” added Maria.

Mr. Geofrey Isack who was facilitating the training says the training objective was to assist CSOs develop a system that can help them manage their finances efficiently and effectively.

He said the training was based on their desk review, which shows that many CSOs in the country were still operating without having standardized financial manuals. He thus believes the training coordinated by the FCS will enable CSOs to comfortably prepare financial manuals that are so important in enhancing their accountability, as well as minimize the risk of misuse of resources.

 

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