UNFPA and UN Women review progress on delivering on a more equal future for women and girls in Singida and Shinyanga

Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2021

(Dar es Salaam, 2 June 2021) – "I accepted the behaviour of my husband selling the harvest that we had worked so hard together to produce. Many a time he would go into town and come back home with empty pockets several days later,” says Milka, a member of the Knowledge Centre in Malito, Shinyanga Region. Her friend, and fellow member, Loyce tells a similar story, but both agree things are slowly changing.

At the Knowledge Centre, one of two established in the first year of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) funded UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme, women are supporting other women, taking the lead in their communities to end gender-based violence and ensuring that women and girls can uphold their rights to live a life free from violence and have a voice that is heard at home, at work and in the community. Loyce also heads one of the seven Ward Children and Women’s Protection Committees set up in 2020 – 25 village-level protection committees have also been established in the Msalala district council of Shinyanga under the project to date. She has personally supported friends to stop the marriage of their young daughters, speaking with their husbands and families about the importance of daughters – like sons – remaining in school.

The three-year UNFPA-UN Women Joint Programme, implemented in Tanzania’s Ikungi District, Singida Region and Msalala District, Shinyanga Region, has a clear goal – to advance gender equality and ensure that rural women and girls in these districts are not left behind. Through the tripartite agreement KOICA, UNFPA and UN Women are combining their unique strengths to support the social and economic empowerment of women and girls. This includes creating a more enabling environment for women to hold land titles and for smallholder farmers, including young women, to participate – and be more productive – in the agricultural sector and building systems, community support structures and duty bearer capacity to increase women and girls’ agency to uphold their rights and to ensure comprehensive services and support are in place for survivors of violence.

In Ikungi District, Singida Region, Sophia Rajab, is celebrating one of her most fruitful harvests. “This is the best crop performance I have ever experienced in my history of sunflower cultivation. I hope to get over 24 bags. That will be 1,600 kg worth 1.3 million TSh [around $560] at the average price of 800 TSh/kg in two months to come,’ says Sophia. She is one of 300 sunflower farmers who have received training in the first year of the project and been further supported with seeds to increase productivity and tap market potential within and outside of Singida Region. Ten officials from Ikungi and Msalala districts, as well as 16 women farmers, have also received hands-on training in new technologies in the horticultural value chain through an exposure visit to Arusha. Economic empowerment activities have also seen some 250 girl members recruited from 10 Adolescent Girls Clubs set up under the project attending vocational training and life skills education at two Folk Development Colleges.

One critical intervention that can support women to increase their agricultural production is ensuring they also own land and have a say on its utilization. UN Women’s support in Ikungi district also seeks to enhance the land tenure security by supporting the participatory village land use planning, issuance of Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs) to women and men and promoting women’s sole and joint land ownership. More than 6,000 women and men stand to benefit from this intervention. The Ikungi district officers continue to engage with the local communities, including women, on land demarcation processes, which is part of efforts to strengthen the land tenure security system and to increase women’s land ownership.

Notwithstanding progress women and girls in Singida and Shinyanga Regions face enormous challenges on a daily basis. Barriers to women’s economic productivity, a lack of decision-making powers and access to productive assets such as land, and gender-based violence and harmful practices are all manifestations of inequalities and discrimination underpinned by social norms and values that continue to devalue women and girls. The Joint Programme, under the stewardship of national government – Regional Administration and Local Government; the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children; the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development; and the National Land Use Planning Commission – and regional and district authorities aims to rewrite this narrative to create a new story of hope, empowerment, equality, and change.

Today, representatives from UN Women, UNFPA, KOICA, and national, regional and local government authorities are visiting selected project sites in Msalala district council, Shinyanga Region, which will be followed by a field mission to Ikungi District, Singida, on 3 June 2021. The mission will provide an opportunity to take stock of progress during the first year, speak with beneficiaries, and ensure that activities over the remaining two years of the project accelerate progress towards the collective vision of a brighter and more equal future for every woman and girl in Tanzania, in line with national, regional and global development aspirations – including the Five-Year National Development Plan, the 2050 Vision and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

Media contacts

Warren Bright – UNFPA

+255 22 216 3516 bwarren@unfpa.org

 

Tsitsi Matope – UN Women

+255 759 536 776 tsitsi.matope@unwomen.org