In economic empowerment, Aisha Mohamed shared her experience as someone, who used to be from what was considered a very poor household, with very little to eat, poor shelter and poor clothing. Her involvement in the project was a new beginning of life with hope. The income she managed to get in the various economic activities enabled her buy her husband a shirt, clothed her children better and improved her diet by having better food. Her life has changed tremendously and she considers herself and her family a happy one now.
Pili Juma used to lead a miserable life, full of tension, while waiting for unreliable remittance from her husband in Lindi town. To date, she no longer waits for the remittance. She was able to train her child, who passed entrance exam to a secondary school. Economic empowerment has not only made her gain recognition and respect, she has also been elected as a member of the Village Council.
As far as ability to alter their status and influence decisions is concerned, women groups at Mawio had another story to share. In their attempts to diversify their sources of income, they opened a local brew bar. Their success came with a challenge. The husband of the group’s treasurer stole the money given to him for safe keeping. As if that was not enough, husbands of some female members started coming to the bar with their friends and drank local beer without paying. The group brought the matter to the attention of the Village Executive Officer, who used the normal village assembly to address the violence experienced by these women. In addition to the strict by laws enacted to protect these women from future events like this, men who drank beer and took treasurers money were given a time frame to pay back. To date, more women in the community have applied for membership and there is harmony among men and women. More men are encouraging their wives to join the groups.
As far as the gender relationship is concerned, women now have a voice within and beyond the household. As mentioned by one of the Focus Group Discussion member, “siku hizi tunasikilizana” meaning there is more peace and harmony at the household level, due to increased consultation and engagement in decision-making.
Lastly as mentioned earlier on, a number of women have secured seats in the village government. Women now apply for various posts in the cooperative society and women have been able to lobby and advocate for various issues concerning them.