Intensive Movement Building Cycle 2015: Catalyzing collective action of the marginalized grassroots communities for accountability for women’s rights

Intensive Movement Building Cycle (IMBC) forms a major TGNP’s strategy in engaging citizens at both community and national levels. It involves participatory action research with grassroots women and activist groups ward and district level feedbacks to LGA leaders on the PAR findings, establishment of knowledge centers for community organizing and information sharing, press club training to strengthen networking between media and grassroots and investigative journalism.

The focus of 2015 IMBC based on a number of key factors including five year strategic plan, TGNP’s 2015 outcome priorities and other contextual aspects such as the Referendum and 2015 general election among other factors. The 2015 IMBC took place in the districts of Mbeya Rural, Morogoro Rural, Tarime and Kishapu.

Nsalala Ward, Mbeya Rural
Participatory Action Research in Nsalala Ward, Mbeya Rural involved more than 160 people from different social groups who were able to raise issues of concern that their community face. Among the key participants included women, men, old aged, people living with HIV/AIDS and other marginalized groups.

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The major issues raised by people in Nsalala ward included, GBV against women, drug abuse among the youth, uncondusive business environment for women entrepreneurs, poor family planning and unequal distribution of resources. Other issues included unemployment among secondary school and college graduates, shortage of water, poor health services, and expensive prices for agricultural inputs, land grabbing, child marriages, early pregnancies and lack of functional ward committees for various services including HIV/AIDS committee.

During the ward feedback session, leaders of Nsalala Ward Development Council commended the intervention promising cooperation with the citizens in addressing the issues raised. The ward feedback session brought together more than 50 participants including the ward leaders and representatives of various social and activist groups.

The ward feedback session was followed by a district level feedback with district officials.  The critical issues discussed include water shortage, drug abuse among the youth and uncondusive environment for women entrepreneurs.

The district feedback brought together more than 60 people including some key ward leaders, Mbeya Rural district officials, Community Based Organizations (FBOs) and representatives of various women and men social groups of Nsalala Ward.

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Removal of waste from Nsalala Market

While commending the intervention, the district officials promised to take immediate action to some raised issues including removal of waste from the local market and dealing with drug abuse in the identified areas.

After the district feedback session, 30 people mainly women from various social groups were facilitated to establish a knowledge center in Nsalala Ward. TUAMKE knowledge Center would become a hub for information sharing, capacity strengthening, and collective organizing and demanding accountability for social change among grassroots women and men in Nsalala ward. The participants were facilitated to develop action plan on issues raised during PAR.

As part of Participatory Action research, TGNP Mtandao conducted workshop training in Mbeya Rural. The two days training brought together 25 community media journalists from across Mbeya region.

The training mainly aimed to build and broaden awareness of participants on activism and movement building in the context of women demands in 2015 general election the training also provided an opportunity for some representatives from TUAMKE knowledge Center in Nsalala ward to present on issues raised during PAR in their ward. It was also an avenue where the grassroots women and men were linked with the local media essential for advocacy.

Meanwhile, a team of three journalists from the national media were facilitated to carryout investigative journalism on the issues raised during PAR. The journalists investigated on key issues raised in areas of education, water, agriculture, health and HIV/AIDS followed by publication of several articles of newspapers and documentaries on radios and televisions.

Nyakonga Ward, Tarime District
In Tarime, Mara region, Participatory Action Research took place at Nyakonga Ward reaching 156 people 96 of whom women and 84 men.

The key issues raised during the study included gender based violence mainly female genital mutilation, early marriages and pregnancies, physical violence through wife battery, violence against children. Other issues included poor maternal health services, inadequate education facilities, water scarcity and poor leadership skills among local government leaders.

5Lack of Desks at Kanawa Primary School, Nyakonga Ward

According to the local government statistics, in 2014 more that 600 girls were mutilated some of whom by force. During the district feedback session, the district government, while commending TGNP’s intervention, promised collaboration with the activist groups in addressing the raised issues particularly Gender Based Violence.

Tomondo Ward, Morogoro Rural
The study at Tomondo ward involved 103 participants, 81 of whom women and 22 men. The participants were drawn from various social groups across the ward.

The key issues raised during the study include early marriages and pregnancies, poor health services, shortage of water, land conflicts and expensive agricultural implements, inadequate education facilities and poor leadership skills among local government leaders.

During the both ward and district feedback sessions, the ward and district government leaders commended the activist groups for their effort calling on continued awareness raising to the rest of the community.

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The district and ward feedback sessions were followed by establishment of a knowledge center which will serve as a hub for grassroots organizing and collective voice for accountability. The participants were facilitated to develop action plan based on the identified areas of priority.

After the establishment of the knowledge center, workshop training for local press club was conducted to 25 journalists whereby the grassroots activists from the established knowledge center were linked with the journalists. The community media play an important role of providing space for grassroots voices to catalyze for accountability for the rights of women and other marginalized groups.

Following the press club training, a team of three journalists from two TV stations and one newspaper were sent for investigative journalism on the raised issues of concern thus giving space to the people of Tomondo to raise their voices through the media.

Ukenyenge Ward, Kishapu district

At Ukenyenge ward, the study reached 165 people 96 of whom women and 75 men were drawn from within the ward.

The major issues of concern raised included severe scarcity of water as a result of lack of reliable water infrastructure such as wells, poor management of water sources and climate change. In the ward, residents are forced to drink untreated water from ponds and

holes.

6Drinking untreated water leads to increase of deaths caused by waterborne diseases. In Tanzania about 7,000 children die annually because of borne diseases. Residents of Ukenyenge Ward fetching water from boreholes. 

Other concerns unearthed included unresolved land disputes between residents on one side and the government and investors on the other side, poor health services-lack of medicine and shortage of health workers in the local health facilities. Early marriages and pregnancies were also observed given socio-cultural practices in the area that undermine the right of young girls to education which may result to continued poverty amongst families.

The study was followed by ward and district feedback sessions, establishment of a Knowledge Center, press club training and later on investigative journalism on