International Day of Rural Women was first observed on 15 October 2008. This day, established by the General Assembly, recognizes “the critical role and contributions of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” Today is a day that seeks to highlight the important role that rural women and girls play in society. Tanzania’s rural population was reported at 67.68% in 2016, according to the World Bank. Because rural women are particularly vital to the eradication of rural poverty, it is a global goal to create the enabling conditions that improve the lives of rural women. Empowering rural women is a key part of this resolution. To learn more about the design and implementation of national policies that promote and protect rural women, click here.
A Conversation with Uswege and Mama Einoti (Elisifa Labakie, mother of TFFT scholar, Einoti)
Today Mama Einoti and Einoti were in the TFFT office and Mama Einoti reflected on how TFFT contributes to enhancing her life through support and empowerment.
TFFT: How would you describe the situation of women in your community?
Elisifa: The movement of most Maasai men depends on pastoralism so the responsibilities of caring for children is left on the shoulder of women especially during dry season.
TFFT: What can you say about women’s life in urban and that of women in rural areas?
Elisifa: Women in rural areas don’t have much income generation choices as those in urban areas. The major source of income for women in rural areas is coming from agriculture, and because most people doesn’t have money to buy things in shops; most business transactions are done in form of barter trade or one family, who is more fortunate, donating food to those in need.
TFFT: What roles would you say TFFT plays in improving and strengthening livelihood of women in your community
Elisifa: Empowerment— I was a single mother who used to sleep with my six children in a single bed. able to eat only one meal per day and without the capacity to take my children to school. TFFT’s scholarship to my daughter Einoti, and the loan that came in the years later, transformed my life as a mother. In the moment were I was not able to bring Einoti to school, Einoti was able to continue with her dream to study under TFFT support. With the loan from TFFT, I was able to start a business to make and sell beaded products to tourists where TFFT they also connected me with customers. I am able to feed my children three meals per day, take them to school and I was able to buy beds for my children.
TFFT: What message do you have for rural women
Elisifa: Investment in education — our livelihood as of now is highly driven by our physical strength and mobility, and not by our minds. This is the reason why sources of livelihood in the rural areas stay the same, and so does poverty. People care more about buying more farm and livestock than about taking their kids to school. I believe life in the village will change when we educate our children and our educated children bring their learned ideas back to our village. I believe a child can be a very big assert once educated.