This blog will take a closer look at the Mufindi Women Empowerment program, which emphasizes the significant role of local actors and partnerships in improving the living conditions of women and children in the district.
The Mufindi Women Empowerment program strengthens the capacities of the local civil society, while also promoting partnerships for sustainability. The program is a joint initiative of the SOS Children’s Villages Finland and Tanzania. It aims to enhance gender equality and women emancipation so that women can take better care of the most vulnerable children.
Specifically, the program increases income and productive resources of women, while at the same time enabling them to actively participate in decision-making on issues affecting their lives.
The Mufindi Women Empowerment program is a good example of how Finland’s development cooperation policy strengthens local capacities. The key element of the program, "strengthening the capacity of local CSOs and partnership", is stressed in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland’s Guidelines for Civil Society in Development Policy:
"Finland wants its actions to provide a positive example of the opportunities and positive effects of dialogue between civil society actors and the governments both nationally and internationally. Finland’s experience shows that social trust is built on open dialogue between actors, where differing views are seen also as opportunities for the long term and inclusive development of societies."
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The Mufindi Women Empowerment program employs the empowerment approach by strengthening the capacity of key beneficiaries and other stakeholders through training, coaching, mentoring, learning, and sharing.
Existing local structures at all levels, such as community-based organizations (CBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), financial institutions, and the local government are considered as key in the success of the program, and are used throughout the program to guarantee local ownership and sustainability.
Deliberate efforts and actions are taken to make sure that women participate in decision-making and their voices are heard. Cooperation with women’s rights organizations, such as the national women parliamentary group, local women’s self-help groups, and the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) supports and helps women to improve their self-esteem, be aware of their rights, and increase their confidence to advocate for their rights.
Around 250 marginalized women, 1000 most vulnerable children under their care, and CSOs will benefit from the program in Mufindi District, Tanzania. This is a four-year-program (2017-2020), mainly funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.